Monday, July 26, 2010

Museum Review: Electrium

Sainte-Julie, Quebec
Recommendation: 3 stars (out of 5)

Sunday. Rain. What to do?

Not in the mood to drive too far and not in the mood to spend too much, we decided to visit Electrium, a free exhibition about electricity presented by Hydro Quebec on the South Shore of suburban Montreal.

Using interactive exhibits and objects, the Electrium provides four perspectives on electricity. One describes the electricity present in all living beings, from electric eels and fish (with samples of each in small aquariums), as well as the human body (with a couple of instruments that measure electrical impulses in the human body).

The second section of the exhibit explains how electricity operates and the third takes a similar approach to the explanation of electro-magnetic energy explaining the central role of electromagnetism in transmitting electricity. The second and third galleries provide an historical perspective, briefly identifying leaders in the discovery of electricity and their roles in the process.

The last section explains how electricity is generated, how it gets to the home, and how to safely use electricity (an issue that HydroQuebec regularly raises in adverts on television and in its monthly billing inserts). An interactive activity in this section helps visitors assess their understanding of everyday principles.

Promotions for the Electricum promise that it demystifies electricity and the museum keeps its promises. The labels were clear but only in French. (Although my oral French is still a work in progress, I could easily understand all of the labels, even the most technical of them.)

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