Exhibit takes visitors inside natural disasters

By Christina Ramey

INDIANAPOLIS – The moment you step into the Indiana State Museum’s new exhibit, you’re greeted by the sounds of earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes.

Displays of different kind of volcanoes are set up through the volcano portion of the exhibit. Photo by Christina Ramey, TheStatehouseFile.com

“The Nature Unleashed: Inside Natural Disasters” exhibit uses interactive experiences to let visitors explore nature’s destructive forces. In one area, visitors can see what makes the ground shake. Another demonstrates how buildings have been improved to withstand earthquakes. Visitors can build a volcano and watch it erupt as well as touch lava rocks.

A big part of the exhibit focuses on Hurricane Katrina and some of the people who were affected by the disaster. Viewers can look at artwork made by children who went through the hurricane while they listen to survivors talk about how they lived through the nature disaster.

“We wanted to help people understand the human cost when a natural disaster does happen,” said Peggy Fisherkeller, curator of geology.

Through out the exhibit there are videos play that show different earthquakes, volcanoes, and tornadoes that have happened.

The exhibit also shows how technology companies are working to predict disasters and keep residents safer. Visitors can view different instruments that are used to track and warn when disasters are going to happen.

“I want them to get the difficult scientific concepts down because that helps them, that makes it simpler for them to digest that. I hope that they walk away with that knowledge,” Damon Lowe, chief curator of science and technology, said about the exhibit’s different interactive features.

This newspaper was found in a home that was damaged by flooding during Hurricane Katrina. The issue is dated August 27th, the day before New Orleans mayor issued an evacuation order. Photo by Christina Ramey, TheStatehouseFile.com

Museum goers also can experience what it’s like to be in the eye of a tornado. The viewers stand in the middle of a semi-circle of screens and watch video of a tornado swirling around them. The footage was captured in 2004 by storm chaser Tom Sanders.

The exhibit is on loan from the Field Museum in Chicago and will be at the museum until May 29.

Christina Ramey is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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