National Geographic : 1989 Feb
FROM THE PRESIDENT 'Ahands-on learningexperience THEATIONAL GEOGRPHICSOCI THERE'S NEVER BEEN any place quite like it. It entertains you. It informs you. It tempts you to become involved. It's the most advanced interactive geography exhibit ever created, and we've built it here at Society headquarters in Washington, D. C. We call it Geographica. "It's a hands-on learning experience," says Jeffrey A. Dering, who designed the new exhibit. "We're put ting the world at your fingertips." Want to talk to a great explorer? Touch a tornado? View the earth from 22,000 miles in space at this very moment? Such dreams will become realities when Geographica is completed in 1991. The first phase opened last month in the north end of Explorers Hall. At its heart is Earth Station One, a 72-seat interactive amphitheater de signed to let visitors explore our new world globe. At their seats "travelers" push TOOLS OF THE MUSEUM DES ARCHITECTURALMODEL electronic buttons to answer OVERLOOKING THEGLOBE PHOTOGRAPH BY questions from a "pilot" narrator. Their responses are analyzed by computer and displayed on twin video walls. Computers make possible many of the creative displays in Geographica. Would-be explorers of the deep seas choose among video reports on diving expeditions simply by touching a video screen. The same technique permits archaeology buffs to follow researchers on the trail of humanity's early ancestors. Visitors concerned about the weather can keep an eye on the latest developments through a live satellite feed or marvel at a man-size twister in our new "tornado machine." To enter the invisible realm of the very small, museum guests are invited to manipulate robo tic microscopes, change lenses, and watch the IGN OF AT SI magnified images of tiny living creatures appear on a video screen. By the end of next year students of Maya culture may take a video tour of the city of Rio Azul as it looked during its heyday. Want to explore that alleyway to your left? Just move the joystick in that di rection. Curious about that temple straight ahead? Open the door and go in. Have you ever hoped to Ssee yourself on the cover of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC? You'll get your chance at a display called "In the Pic ture." We'll take a video snapshot of your face, sur round it by our famous yel low border, and present you with a copy to take home. In the process you'll learn a few things you didn't know about Society expeditions. In 1991 we plan to let bud ding geologists monitor vol canic activity in real time ER'S TRADESURROUNDAN spread across a major volca THE NEWAMPHITHEATER SOCIETY HEADQUARTERS. nic site. Biologists can run SSE BRIMBERG an evolutionary "time ma chine" to explore the endless varieties of species in different epochs. Oceanographers will take under water video flights over the bottoms of the world's seas. And amateur historians may pose tough ques tions to video images of great explorers and take de light in their replies. I'm excited about Geographica because it makes learning fun. And the lessons it teaches are the kind that stay with you for a lifetime. Each display has a map to locate the subject, and there will be comput erized reference guides to help teachers find follow up materials. We're proud of our new Explorers Hall exhibit. I think you'll enjoy it too. If you'd like to reserve a time for your class or group to visit Earth Station One, you may call (202) 857-7689.