The Natural Science Museum of Raleigh has recently added a new wing to the building. The addition opened on Friday, April 20.
“I’m not sure of the exact number, but I think there were about 70,000 people who came on the opening night,” said Colin Brammer, a scientist at the museum who helped in designing the wing.
“[The wing] is split up into three investigative labs: the natural world – or in other words, ‘macro’ things: anything down to insect size – and then there’s the micro lab, which is basically microbes down to DNA, and then there’s the visualization lab, which is how we get data translated to things we can understand,” explained Brammer.
In each lab, there is always a scientist at the ready to explain experiments and converse with visitors. “Part of the experience of the science is that you have to figure out how to do things on your own. However, we always have scientists interacting with people at the labs,” said Brammer.
Matthew Jenkins, sophomore, is a junior curator at the museum. “As a junior curator, I help to take care of the animals and teach the public about them,” said Jenkins. “The opening night was very crowded, but it was cool seeing the new interactive exhibits.”
“It’s been a ten-year process, and it’s been a chance to get people connecting with scientists,” said Brammer. “It’s not like reading the paper and knowing ‘okay, scientists say this,’ it’s getting people understanding what’s behind the science.”
The new wing consists of labs and other highly interactive components.
“Everything is glass because [researchers] want research to be transparent. They want the public to know what we’re doing. We’ve always believed science should be accessible to everyone,” commented Brammer.
The museum is open from 9am to 5pm Monday-Saturday. Visit the Raleigh Museum of Natural Science at 11 West Jones Street, Raleigh NC 27601.