The new exhibition “Earth. Wind. Weather.” is the latest installation to take the Michigan Science Center (MiSCi) by storm. The exhibit, which is now open to the public, will allow visitors to experience some of Earth’s weather patterns, changing seasons and other wild phenomena.
Christian Greer is the CEO and President of MiSci. He has nearly 30 years of experience in the STEM field (science, technology, engineering and math), helping educate and mentor younger generations in the areas of study.
Greer says as a youngster, he just wanted to know how the world around him worked. “And as a kid, you spent a lot of time wondering about things, asking questions about the sky, asking questions about how things work. And occasionally you get opportunities to actually explore those things,” says Greer. “So the museums became the place for me, where I got a chance to explore, ask questions and meet people with the expertise, they could tell me about how the universe works.”
Now in his second year as president and CEO of MiSci, Greer wanted to bring something to the museum that would be engaging for all ages.
Greer says the name of the exhibit playfully pays homage to Earth, Wind & Fire, one of his favorite bands growing up.
“So when we thought about naming the exhibit, Earth. Wind. Weather., we thought we would kind of play off of this idea of the elements and understanding the elements, as we experience them.” — Christian Greer, CEO and President of Michigan Science Center
“When we thought about naming the exhibit ‘Earth. Wind. Weather.’ we thought we would kind of play off of this idea of the elements and understanding the elements as we experience them when we go outside, and we look up at the sky and see the interplay of forces between the atmosphere and the earth. ‘Earth. Wind. Weather.’ is all about that pursuit. I love it,” he says.
The exhibit will feature 10 hands-on experiences that will showcase avalanches and geysers. Guests will also get the chance to explore atmospheres on other worlds and compare planetology and ocean waves. Greer says the main feature is a 12-foot-tall tornado. “We have a tornado that creates a vortex that you can stick your hand into, and experience this idea of some of nature’s most incredible forces.”
Since the exhibit is opening during a time of heightened restrictions and concerns related to COVID-19, not all of the experiences are out on display right now. Greer says like much of 2020, the exhibit will help showcase unpredictable natural forces on Earth. They originally purchased about 15 of the hands-on experiences, he says.
“We’re hoping that [with social distancing] we’ll be able to add new experiences to the space, but it’s really all about nature’s most powerful and impressive, unpredictable phenomena, if you can imagine. And that’s coming out of an unpredictable year like 2020. I think we’re used to it, a little bit of unpredictability. It is certainly with the weather,” he says.
“We’re hoping that [with social distancing] we’ll be able to add new experiences to the space, but it’s really all about nature’s most powerful and impressive, unpredictable phenomena, if you can imagine. And that’s coming out of an unpredictable year like 2020.” — Christian Greer, CEO and President of Michigan Science Center
This installation is a permanent addition to the museum and Greer hopes to inspire a new generation of STEM lovers. “We want to inspire them, through this exhibit, to be able to find new and creative solutions, creative problem solving, critical thinking skills, process skills — science and STEM are so important.”