Truckee Connects: A Review
As soon as you enter the main room at the Discovery Museum in Reno, Nevada you find yourself staring at a colossal three-story cloud themed climbing structure. But the exhibit that really interested me was at the base of the structure. Truckee Connects was a water hydrology exhibit molded after the Truckee River. At the beginning of the river was a representation of Lake Tahoe, at the end was Pyramid Lake.
The exhibit allowed the exhibit allowed the viewers to interact in a variety of different ways. The viewer could: Sail boats across Lake Tahoe using fans, divert water to a working power plant, float a miniature tube down the river, open and close a dam, operate a working fish ladder, and participate in a variety of activities at the end on Pyramid Lake. The river requires a full swimming pool filtration system, and a certified technician for clean water operation.
I felt that this exhibit was extremely successful as a learning too that allowed the viewers to relate scientific principals to a local landmark. The level of interaction required by the viewer was high, without their participation, it would not be possible to fully understand the lessons intended. However, once there are a dozen or so kids operating the river, other patrons can view the piece from a variety of different angles.
Overall, I thought this was a well-rounded exhibit that balanced education, engagement, and entertainment. If I were to change an aspect of the exhibit, I would have added a panel or two discussing lake Tahoe, its depths, and the conservation efforts involved with keeping Tahoe blue. It is just as important or more to instill a sense of conservation at a young age as it is to learn about hydrology.