Raise The Roof Exhibition at Museum of Nature & Science Reveals Secrets and Surprises of Buildings from Around the World

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From Mud-Brick Ruins of World's Oldest Cities, to Yurts to Skyscrapers that Survive Earthquakes, to Your Backyard Dog House, to Dust Mite Invasion Strategies, to Feng Shui, Interactive Exhibit Lets Walls Speak to Kids About Science and Engineering, Energy and Air

If walls could talk what sorts of secrets, surprises, or extraordinary engineering feats would they reveal?

Discover the story behind the structures humans spend 90 percent of their lives within at a new traveling exhibition at the Museum of Nature & Science (MNS). Raise The Roof: An Exhibit
About Buildings, opens on Jan. 24 for a limited engagement until April 19.

"How timely to teach children about the engineering marvels that go into our buildings just as the museum prepares for its own groundbreaking later this year at Victory Park," said MNS CEO Nicole Small. "Not only will they learn to appreciate the science behind a building, they'll have fun too."

Raise The Roof was produced by the Science Museum of Minnesota. The exhibit was made possible with the support of the National Science Foundation. Presented by Turner Construction. Sponsored by Andres Construction and Good, Fulton & Ferrell. Additional support provided by TD Industries and The Texas Real Estate Council.

It features buildings and building science from around the world. One highlight is a "collapsible dome" where visitors use simple machines to raise a domed roof overhead and then safely let it collapse around them.

Other exhibit highlights include a large Mongolian ger (sometimes called a yurt), a home not so unlike those found in Western societies, yet composed of a round shape with a low ceiling and constructed of felt, rawhide and canvas. Inside the ger, kids can play house and learn how these marvelous homes are constructed.

Near the ger will be recreated mud brick ruins of Çatalhöyük, believed to be the world's oldest city. An archaeological dig of the 9,000-year-old area, located near Ankara, Turkey, is part of a 25-year study.

Nearby is "Timber" -- an activity station that allows visitors to examine and work with a variety of handcrafted wooden joints. At the center of this area, visitors can assemble a building using ingenious wooded joints held together beautifully without nails.

And what about the dogs? They need homes too, so the interactive computer game "Dogtastrope" will let people design dog houses that can survive things like a snow blower blizzard or a lawn sprinkler flood.

A skyscraper area will immerse visitors in an environment of steel, concrete, and glass to help them realize that lots of engineering know-how goes into making a building tall. A 3-D "View From the Top" lets people look down the side of a building -- from 40 stories above. The forces of tension and compression can be tested in the "Build a Truss" and "Triangle Tryout" sections. An earthquake shake table will show how different buildings respond to different quake frequencies and a tuned mass damper simulates the work of the big moving weights used in some tall buildings to slow their sway during wind gusts.

Years to build and only nine seconds to destroy? The exhibit's demolition theater will feature the explosive work of the famous Loizeaux family, who own and operate Controlled Demolition, Inc., one of the world's biggest groups of demolition experts.

The "Downdraft House," a dollhouse-sized model outfitted with airflow indicators, a working furnace, and operating doors and vents explores the dangerous conditions that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning in homes. After seeing how air flows through a house, visitors can "Meet the Mite" and see how huge numbers of creatures live in all of our homes all of the time.

Other exhibit features include "Listening to the Walls," a story area and activity drawn from interviews with blind and visually impaired people who navigate through buildings using their sense of sound. In "Cultural Design Rules," a panel compares a house plan from Levittown, N.Y., an American home design standard, to the standards of Feng Shui, a practical design philosophy guided by the flow of spiritual energy.

The exhibit will feature many more selections, including a special area for young children called "Magnet City." Kids in kindergarten through third grade can sit on the main street of a small city and change the windows, siding, and roofs of the building before them.

For information or tickets, check the museum's web site at: http://www.natureandscience.org. Admission is free for members. Non-members: adults $8.75; children 3 to 11 $5.50; youths 12 to 18, students over 18 and seniors 62 and older with ID $7.75.

Photos and more can be downloaded directly from our online newsroom. To access it click on http://tinyurl.com/raisetheroof.

About the Museum of Nature & Science

The Museum of Nature & Science, formerly the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Children's Museum, is a non-profit educational organization located in Dallas' Fair Park. In support of its mission to inspire minds through nature and science, MNS delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor experiences through its education, exhibition and research and collections programming for students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The MNS campus includes the TI Founders IMAX® Theater and a cutting-edge digital planetarium. The museum is supported in part by funds from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, the Texas Commission on the Arts and EDS. To learn more visit http://www.natureandscience.org.

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Cynthia Stine
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