Cincinnati Museum Center creates interactive mobile education center for Warren County

Water Conservation Education Exhibit shares the importance of water in our everyday lives

CINCINNATI – Water is essential to life, a fact that the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District knows well. With the help of Cincinnati Museum Center, Warren County is going to make sure kids and adults throughout the region know it, too. The exhibits team at Museum Center recently completed a mobile education center for the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District to educate people about three essential principles of water using interactive exhibits.

Water Conservation Education ExhibitThe Water Conservation Education Exhibit in Memory of Thomas C. Spellmire is a custom 24-foot trailer with an 8-foot ceiling that Warren County will use throughout the county to educate groups of students and adults about how critical water is to our lives and the world around us. Working with Warren County, Cincinnati Museum Center’s exhibits team developed and created three interactive zones that address three essential principles of water: water shapes our land, water is life and water needs to be protected.

A watershed landscape simulator uses the hands-on fun of playing in a real sandbox to demonstrate the cyclical relationship between water and the landscape. Visitors use their hands to mold, shape and bulldoze synthetic sand or recycled rubber pellets and watch as a projected contour map tracks their modifications. By holding their hands above the sandbox to simulate clouds, the projection shows the movement of water across the landscape, showing how water flows according to the topography and how that water flow in turn shapes the land.

An interactive streambed allows visitors to see what factors affect the water quality of a stream and what the implications are of those changes. A projection of a clean, healthy watershed features various plants and animals typically found near a southern Ohio stream. Using a touch panel in front of the projected watershed, visitors are presented with scenarios that will change the conditions of the stream. As you select different scenarios, the water quality of the stream changes and impacts the plants and animals that rely on it. Information boxes pop up to explain how and why these changes happen and how they are all interconnected.

The third interactive illustrates the impact of pollution of our waterways and why they need to be protected. Mapping Pollution uses fiber optic LED light strings to show how water quality impacts all of the elements of a water system and how each part of a system depends on the others. By manipulating the screen you can see how various waterways in Ohio and the United States are connected and how a pollutant in one area inevitably reaches and impacts many others.

“Water is the key to life and a resource that we must protect to ensure the vitality of so many species, including our own,” says Elizabeth Pierce, interim CEO at Cincinnati Museum Center . “We are proud of the incredible work our exhibits team did in putting this mobile education center together and are happy to support the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District in their mission to educate people about the importance of water.”

The mobile education center features a rear door that folds down to create a ramped entrance suitable for visitors with wheelchairs or who may otherwise need mobility assistance. In addition to the three interactive zones, the trailer features additional LED lighting that gives visitors the feeling of being underwater.

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