Snow: Tiny Crystals, Global Impact

Fast Facts

Summary

Snow: Tiny Crystals, Global Impact  is an interactive touring science exhibit focused on the global impact of snow on climate and human culture.

Square Footage 
2,500 sq. ft.
Topics 
Critical Thinking
Earth and Climate Science
Immersive Experiences
STEAM
Price 

$50K / 3 months + inbound shipping

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Snow: Tiny Crystals, Global Impact provides interactive learning opportunities that increase visitors’ understanding of snow and the vital role that it plays in our global climate system and availability of water resources. Peek inside the snowpack to discover how it changes over time and the animals that make their homes there. Walk through a snowstorm to get an up close look at the crystals that make up different types of storms. Learn about climate adaptation by balancing resources and making trade-offs.

From the wonder of snow crystals to the intrigue of snowpack to unique stories from the tundra, Snow: Tiny Crystals, Global Impact  offers learners ages 9-14 and their visitor groups the opportunity to explore all the ways this fundamental weather phenomenon impacts our lives - no matter where we live! 

See tour schedule below. 

Contact OMSI's Exhibits Business Manager Catherine Diaz at cdiaz@omsi.edu or 503-797-4628

 

 

Snow crystal images in header courtesy of Ken Libbrecht.

Virtual Tour

Making Sense of Snow Crystals

Visitors are invited to solve a puzzle by matching snow crystals to descriptions of how they formed. Each description references images in the Nakaya diagram. A correct match lights up the crystal. Two sets of snow crystals are available to solve the puzzle. Graphics and text tell the story of famous snow observers, including Frances Chickering, Wilson Bentley, and Ukichiro Nakaya.

Making Sense of Snow Crystals

Visitors are invited to solve a puzzle by matching snow crystals to descriptions of how they formed. Each description references images in the Nakaya diagram. A correct match lights up the crystal. Two sets of snow crystals are available to solve the puzzle. Graphics and text tell the story of famous snow observers, including Frances Chickering, Wilson Bentley, and Ukichiro Nakaya.

Snow on the Ground

Visitors explore a sculptural and multilayered “snowpack” to learn about three different kinds of snow: Maritime, Taiga and Tundra. Visitors pull out vertical cross sections to examine the distinctive layers found in Taiga and Tundra snow. A polarizing filter reveals a hidden video of Maritime snow’s metamorphism from wet grains to slush. Peekholes provide views of hidden life in the snow.

Keeping Earth Cool

Heat lamps warm two metal hemispheres that represent the Northern Hemisphere with and without snow. Visitors touch each hemisphere, to detect and compare their temperature difference. Graphics and text explain how snow cools the planet by reflecting the sun’s heat and visitors learn that snow is the most reflective natural substance on Earth.

Storing Water for Later

Visitors play with a mechanical model of a mountainside to compare the impact on water supply of rain vs. snow. One side of the mountain receives snowfall; the other side, rain. Visitors move small pellets to the “cloud” at the top of the mountain and release them as snow or rain. On the rain side, the pellets immediately run down the mountainside. On the snow side, the pellets are briefly stored in a “snowpack” and released more gradually. This simulates the important role snow plays in storing water through colder, wetter months and slowly releasing it through warmer, drier months.

Falling Snow

Visitors enter a magical, immersive space where they experience a series of snowstorms. Standing back from the animation, visitors see and hear the sights and sounds of each snowstorm. When visitors stand on floor markers, individual snow crystals zoom into view and allow visitors to clink them together revelang surprising crystalline sounds. Visitors learn that the different snow crystals that appear are shaped by variations in temperature and humidity.

Snow Play

Families are invited to work together to build snow people by stacking and decorating foam “snowballs” of different sizes. The snow people can be dressed up with hats, noses, and other props. Photos of playful snow people from around the world provide inspiration.

Working Together for a Better World, community and reflection space

Visitors consider the impact of the climate crisis and their role in community action to address it. Visitors are invited to cut out a snowflake and write a response to a posted prompt. Visitors deposit their snowflake responses in a clear container to build a visible “snowpack” of accumulated “snowflakes.” A fan blows the snowflakes around inside the container. Selected responses are curated by museum staff and posted. Provides a space for community connection and inspiration.

Changing Global Patterns of Snow

Visitors spin a praxinoscope to view an animation of satellite images showing the seasonal rhythm of annual snow cover on North America. Graphic panels describe how seasonal snow cover is shrinking due to climate change. The graph shows spring snow cover from 1970 to 2020. Visitors consider the climate impact of of shrinking spring snow cover.

Snow and Arctic Life

Visitors watch short videos and read graphic panels to learn about life in the Arctic community of Kotzebue. Visitors listen to Inupiaq elders and culture bearers describe their relationship to and knowledge of snow. Visitors find one more peephole showing hidden life in the tundra snow.

Snow on the Ground

Visitors explore a sculptural and multilayered “snowpack” to learn about three different kinds of snow: Maritime, Taiga and Tundra. Visitors pull out vertical cross sections to examine the distinctive layers found in Taiga and Tundra snow. A polarizing filter reveals a hidden video of Maritime snow’s metamorphism from wet grains to slush. Peekholes provide views of hidden life in the snow.

Snow exhibit entryway, featuring a lenticular title panel!

Exhibit overview

Snowmelt Journeys

A large LED map shows visitors the journey water from snowmelt takes via the Colorado River. Colored buttons can be pressed to animate the map and show visitors what and who is impacted by water from snowmelt.

Watching Snow Grow

Visitors are invited to solve a puzzle by matching snow crystals to descriptions of how they formed. Each description references images in the Nakaya diagram. A correct match lights up the crystal. Two sets of snow crystals are available to solve the puzzle. Graphics and text tell the story of famous snow observers, including Frances Chickering, Wilson Bentley, and Ukichiro Nakaya.

Availability

OMSI | Portland, OR

Fleet Science Center | San Diego, CA

Buffalo Museum of Science | NY

The Bell Museum | St. Paul, MN

Grand Rapids Public Museum | MI

Turtle Bay Exploration Park Redding, CA

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Tellus Science Museum  Cartersville, GA

Tellus Science Museum  Cartersville, GA

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The North Carolina Arboretum | Asheville, NC

School Resources

Educator Guide

COMING SUMMER 2022 - A collection of PDFs and guides for museum staff and teachers to expand on the educational content of the exhibit, including in-classroom experiments and activities for your museum floor.

Museum Resources

Exhibit Description Fact Sheet

A downloadable fact sheet about Snow: Tiny Crystals, Global Impact

Exhibit Floor Plan

COMING SUMMER 2022 - This sample floor plan gives you an idea of how Snow: Tiny Crystals, Global Impact will look in your gallery space.

Marketing Kit

COMING SPRING 2022 - All the logos, images, and assets you need to properly market the exhibit, promote sponsors, and get guests excited about their visit!

Questions?
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Get in Touch

Partners

Snow: Tiny crystals, global impact is being produced and will be toured by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). This exhibit was made possible by a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant (award number 1808749).

Snow: Tiny crystals, global impact is being produced in partnership with the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.