tim   .


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.   hunkin



I started by making an exhibit explaining how electric motors worked. This was followed by a hand-powered fridge, a hand- powered automatic washing machine (with the front of the drum replaced by perspex to show what happens inside), and finally a hand-cranked generator - which could make a fuse glow hot and then blow.
All these exhibits seemed dreadfully conventional and old fashioned, particularly because they were all behind glass, with only the relevant handles etc poking through. (I had decided to put them behind glass partly to be in keeping with the rest of the gallery, and partly because I felt that many `open' exhibits I'd seen had become so dominated by their protective perspex casings that the exhibit itself got rather lost.) I tried to cheer my exhibits up by adding decorative signs - motorised spinning sign for the motors, a washing line for the washing machine and a frozen sign, with letters formed from copper pipe connected to a fridge unit so ice formed on them, for the fridge.


This shows how the siphon works, but the real entertainment is watching the turd go round the bend. Will Jackson built this with a very ingenious mechanism to catch the turd, and then lift it to drop itin the bowl again.
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toilet.jpg (16466 bytes)

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An attempt to explain how these clever sensors work.
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Turn the handle and the bike dynamo makes the cut in half speaker cone move visibly up and down. If you turn it fast, you stop seeing the movement but hear the rising pitch.
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This started as a much more complicated exhibit but Ifound that visitors really just enjoyed turning handles. You now just plug in any one of the appliances and turn the handle to make it work. (It's much harder to turn to make the fire element glow than to turn the fan.
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You can move the magnet close to the neck of the tube to distort the picture, and move the scanning coil away from the neck to collapse the picture into the red, green and blue spots.
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I was very unconfident about the exhibits at first, so I brought the prototypes to the museum for a few days. Once they were set up, it was a wonderful feeling removing the screens and seeing visitors swarm all round them. Trials are obviously a good idea if only for the morale of the person building them. The old fashioned appearance of the exhibits didn't seem to worry the public and most people spent several minutes playing with each one. Several people said how much they liked the idea of exhibits about ordinary, domestic things they use every day. It made me realise that though once very common, exhibits like this had largely disappeared from the museum.

  More Secret Life of the Home                       An Initiation to museum design



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