THE TWT GROUP HARNESSES MOTHER NATURE’S MOST POWERFUL PHENOMENA
The TWT Group proudly joined the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) in accepting the Themed Entertainment Association’s THEA award for Outstanding Achievement for the permanent MSI exhibit Science Storms at a ceremony held at Universal Studios in March.
Led by Frank Weigand, the TWT Group worked with MSI to deliver the most thrilling and informative hands-on experience in any museum today. “Frank and his team really went above and beyond our expectations in creating Science Storms, an amazing guest experience.” proclaimed Kurt Haunfelner, Vice President, Exhibits and Collections at MSI. “They managed, through creative engineering, technical expertise and sheer persistence, to fulfill our most challenging ambitions.”
The 26,000-square-foot, two-story Science Storms opened in March 2010 and features more than 50 interactive experiences, including seven large, iconic recreations of natural phenomena that teach basic principles of physics and chemistry. One of these, a 40-foot, indoor tornado, simply could not be built and tested off site with assurance that it would work in the final museum setting. The engineering had to be perfect, and there were cheers from the entire team as the tornado worked flawlessly on the first try. The massive mechanical system is enhanced with ultrasonic fog to make the huge volume of air visible.
“We’ve designed and engineered some pretty amazing things in our careers, but walking through that tornado for the first time was really thrilling.” said Frank Weigand, founding partner of The TWT Group. “And then we got to play with fire.”
Completely different engineering skills were employed to give MSI guests the ability to experiment with real fire inside the museum. Elements of this exhibit were based on the national UL testing program for fire sprinklers, which dictates national safety standards. Convincing a city renowned for devastating fires to approve the exhibit added another layer of complexity.
The TWT Group engineered numerous interactive exhibits in Science Storms including a 20-foot rotating avalanche disk, a 20-foot Tesla coil that releases 1.2 million volts of electricity with each firing a large Newton’s Cradle, magnetic-levitation cars, a tsunami wave tank, and a pair of projectile launchers. While Science Storms is the first museum exhibit in The TWT Group portfolio, the overwhelming success of the project would suggest it will not be the last. # #
The TWT Group, Inc. is a unique engineering and design and implementation firm, offering a broad range of technical expertise for themed entertainment, space tourism, prototype vehicles, modern art engineering, medical equipment, museums and more. Contact: [email protected]
Science Storms is an award-winning permanent exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago and is brought to you through the generosity of The Allstate Corporation, The Allstate Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. David W. Grainger and the Grainger Foundation. Additional major funding has been provided by the United States Department of Energy. For more information about MSI or Science Storms, visit msichicago.org