WATERLOO — William Bisbee has spent several months sweating the small stuff for a new exhibit at the Bluedorn Science Imaginarium.
After all, it’s the tiniest of things that make up the “Nano” exhibit.
“Nano science is about studying really, really small stuff and how they are in our environment and how they are part of us and how they build,” said Bisbee, a Grout Museum District exhibition technician.
“Nano” has many interactive components, such as a magnet that pulls nanoparticles out of water so they become visible, as well as atom building blocks to build your own structure and see how atomic particles fit together.
The “Nano” exhibit was created by the Nano Informational Science Education Network and was previously at the Lincoln Museum of Natural History in Lincoln, Neb. It is sponsored by the Nebraska Center for Materials and Nano Science.
The exhibit is one of two summer exhibits at the Imaginarium.
The “Augmented Reality Sandbox” features software developed by the University of California, Davis which projects topography models onto sand and responds to manipulation and motion. The sandbox “allows visitors to interact with a miniature landscape, sculpting mountains, valleys and rivers,” says the Imaginarium website.
“It’s a neat teaching tool in showing people about hydrology and topography,” Bisbee said.
The Augmented Reality Sandbox is on loan from Mike Hoffman, secretary and a founder of the Cedar Valley Makers. Hoffman actively volunteers to create STEM education opportunities for children.
Each summer, Bisbee brings in traveling exhibits to the Imaginarium so kids have a fun, educational and interactive spot to visit over summer break.
“Kids sit in classrooms all school year; they’re learning stuff in books and occasionally they get to go on a field trip, but during the summer they can come here,” Bisbee said. “That’s why the Imaginarium is a hands-on museum — it’s for them to come in and just discover.”
The museums in the Grout Museum District are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The interactive exhibits opened on May 23 will be available until Sept. 7. The Bluedorn Science Imaginarium is located off Washington Street in downtown Waterloo near Washington Park.
“People should come in and see what we’ve got,” Bisbee said. “You get to use your imagination and you get to discover stuff. Who knows where that’s going to lead for a kid, or an adult for that matter.”