The climate is something almost all of us talk about. And the topic of climate change has increasingly become a daily debate.
At the Marian Koshland Science Museum, right near the crowded streets of Gallery Place, the exhibition creators have designed a simple, interactive show that looks at the complicated science of climate change.
“Earth Lab: Degrees of Change,” opens officially Thursday and its factual data comes from a series of reports from the National Research Council. The design of the wall boards allows the text to be updated, as more reports are completed.
Question: Which greenhouse gas is increasing in the atmosphere and is most responsible for the recent trend that temperatures on earth are rising at a faster rate than before? Answer: carbon dioxide.
Though the scientific language is abundant in the show, no age level of visitor should get lost. And the museum reports that 20-30 year olds are its most frequent visitor, a statistic any museum would envy. And its second largest demographic is the visitor who is 50 plus. “Most of our visitors are highly educated but might not be experts in the field,” said Erika Shugart, the museum’s deputy director who has a Ph.D in biology from the University of Virginia.
The information is presented clearly and cleanly in a series of colorful wall boards and interactive panels. Overall issues, such as glaciers, are outlined. Then the visitor can select glaciers, which gives deeper information about how they are receding, along with photographic evidence.
For the visitor, especially the public affairs minded, the centerpiece of the exhibition is a table board, which is arranged with screens, listing a spectrum of priorities and options. One person or a family can sit at the table and debate how to reduce the CO2 emissions by 2050. “Hopefully this will generate discussion,” said Shugart. “There is not just one path to a solution or decision.”
The museum is located at 525 E Street N.W. and has established a yearly attendance of 25,000 visitors.
Thursday night the museum is sponsoring a game party with Erik Assadourian and Ty Hansen, the designers of “Climate Catan.”