I decided the flu and the lingering coughs had taken too much of a toll on us all for us to travel to see Mo Willems at the Carle Museum last weekend. Instead, we stayed a bit closer to home and went to see the temporary exhibit Metamorphosis at the Blackstone Valley Visitors Center. The Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art (RIMOSA), according to their website, “is a group of imaginative people committed to a single goal: using Rhode Island’s rich resources in the arts and sciences to create a distinctive, highly interactive, informal learning center.” They hope to have a permanent site by 2014.
Again, according to RIMOSA’s own text, “[In] the Metamorphosis: Transfer of Energy installation, RIMOSA interprets the flow of energy at Slater Mill from the Blackstone River through gears, cogs, people, and textiles. We want you to experience the energy flow that moves through you and enables our machines to work.”
The signs and the website indicate that the exhibits (and the future museum) are intended for children ages eleven and up, but my three kids, all younger than eleven, found plenty to enjoy. This gear table was particularly fun, although frustrating in that the gears slipped on the table and wall too easily, so your gear chain would work for a few turns and then stop. I imagine part of the process of installing temporary exhibits is working out the kinks and learning how well different pieces hold up to public use.
The light at the end of that pendulum creates fleeting designs on a photosensitive material. Other exhibits included plastic open-topped cylinders of various heights, complete with rubber flip-flops to use to bang on top of the tubes to create different sounds; huge fabric waves; and a water wheel. Across the street from the Visitors Center is Slater Mill, and the Metamorphosis exhibit is designed to connect to this rich history, in Rhode Island, of work powered by nature and people both.
I’m glad to see an organization combining two disciplines that, I feel, are organically connected yet so often considered to be separate. We’ll be looking forward to RIMOSA’s growth.