News & Press

Archive for October, 2008

Fleet Science Center and SDG&E Unveil Solar Panel Installation and Interactive Exhibition

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

SAN DIEGO, CA – April 23, 2007 — The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) today unveiled the installation of more than 10,000 square feet of solar panels on the roof of the Science Center. The project will generate clean electricity for San Diego and serve as the centerpiece of an upcoming interactive exhibition on alternative energy.

The result of a partnership between the Fleet Science Center, SDG&E and the City of San Diego, the new solar photovoltaic (PV) system will produce more than 100 kilowatts (kW) of clean energy at peak production – enough electricity to light 1,700 60-watt bulbs or power about 65 homes. SDG&E will own and operate the solar panels, so the electricity generated will feed the region’s power grid, not just the Fleet.

This contribution of clean solar energy will eliminate about 60 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. Scientists are now convinced that carbon dioxide is one of the primary agents contributing to global warming.

In addition to generating clean electricity, the solar panel system will be the centerpiece of a new hands-on science exhibition at the Fleet called “So WATT! An Illuminating Look at Energy” scheduled to open this August. Designed and built by BANG! Creative, Inc. and Reuben H. Fleet Science Center staff, and made possible by grants from SDG&E, Shell Trading and the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, the exhibition will take visitors on a guided tour of solar power and other “green” sources of electricity. The exhibition also will introduce visitors to the basics of electricity and offer tips on how people can conserve energy at home and at work.

The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center has already made major progress in reducing its impact on the environment, including projects that have dramatically reduced energy and water consumption. In fact, the Fleet uses less electricity today than it did before its 1998 expansion, which doubled the size of the facility. Moreover, the Fleet is currently in the process of obtaining LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

More details about the upcoming “So WATT! An Illuminating Look at Energy” exhibition will be available this spring. Preliminary design schematics and renderings of the exhibition are available from the Fleet Science Center upon request.

So WATT! An Illuminating Look at Energy

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

“So WATT! An Illuminating Look at Energy” is a new hands-on exhibition at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center focusing on electricity production, alternative sources of energy, and basic conservation strategies you can try at home and at work.

“So WATT!” features five interactive exhibits, including a touch-screen interface where you can monitor electricity being generated by 10,000 square feet of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roof of the Science Center. Owned and operated by SDG&E, the PV system is capable of generating more than 100 kilowatts (kW) of electricity at peak production for San Diego’s power grid.

Generate your own electricity at the “Make a Watt” exhibit and learn how much energy it takes to produce a watt. At “Watt’s the Difference?” you’ll will learn more about the six most common ways electricity is produced – fossil fuels, nuclear, hydroelectric, geothermal, wind, and solar – then find out where most of California’s power comes from.

Every form of energy production has pros and cons, and after learning a bit about these impacts, you’ll have an opportunity to vote for the energy source YOU think should be used most for generating electricity in the next 20 years.

Ever wonder how solar panels work? At the “Watt’s in the Sun?” exhibit, solar power is demystified with a down-to-earth explanation of how photovoltaic (PV) panels produce electricity from sunlight. You can be a solar engineer at this exhibit by adjusting a small photovoltaic (PV) panel, lining it up with a light source and creating enough electricity to power a small fan.

Nearby, an interactive touch-screen exhibit called “Watt’s on the Roof?” lets you investigate real-time and historical data on how much electricity is being produced by the Fleet’s rooftop PV system.

“Watt about Me?” is an interactive exhibit that demonstrates a wide variety of simple ways to conserve electricity at home and at work. By flipping switches on a scale model of a “typical house,” you’ll discover how the energy consumption level changes as you implement various conservation measures.

Designed and fabricated by BANG! Creative, Inc. and produced by Reuben H. Fleet Science Center staff, “So WATT! An Illuminating Look at Energy” features a bilingual exhibition brochure, with exhibit descriptions and scientific explanations presented in Spanish. Made possible by grants from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Shell Trading with additional support from the Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation, the “So WATT!” exhibition will remain on display at the Fleet Science Center indefinitely.

See New Exhibits at Pigeon Point Lighthouse!

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Pescadero, CA— In 1872, a new lighthouse sent its beams upon the sea to reveal a safe passageway for seafaring souls. In December 2001, a section of the cornice on the exterior of the lighthouse fell off. Since that time, the lighthouse has been closed, and tours of the lighthouse ceased.

In 2007, new exhibits “light up” the Fog Signal Building showing visitors the history of the West Coast’s tallest lighthouse. The exhibits tell the stories of the lighthouse, its keepers, and the ships that have gone down, including the downed clipper ship Carrier Pigeon, which gave Pigeon Point its name. The new exhibits allow visitors to experience the stories of the coast, and a model lighthouse helps visitors take a closer “look” at the tower.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse stands at an astounding 115 feet in height, with its First-Order, 8 thousand pound Frenel Lens containing 1,008 glass prisms. The exhibits were developed as part of a joint project with NOAA, the San Mateo Coast Natural Historical Association and California State Parks. Exhibits fabricated by Sean Laflin of Bang! Creative and the exhibit text written by Maritime researcher JoAnn Semones.

For more information, please contact Park Interpreter Jeff Barnes at 831-464-5620. California State Parks

Come explore the coast and stop in to see the new exhibits Fridays through Sundays from 10:30am to 4pm. Pigeon Point Lighthouse is 28 miles North of Santa Cruz, and 7 miles South of Pescadero off Hwy. #1. For more information, please call 650-879-2120.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse Exhibit Opening

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

PIGEON POINT — Some visitors see the Pigeon Point lighthouse as an object of curiosity, a relic of a bygone era. But for a small group of Coastside families, it was home. Bob Davis’ aunt, now deceased, grew up on the grounds of Pigeon Point, where her father had the all-important role of lighthouse keeper in the 1920s and 1930s.

He was responsible for making sure the light at the top of the tower was lit, that the foghorn blew at regular intervals and that no ships ran aground on the rocky shoals, which often were shrouded in fog. The Fresnel lens lighting will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. The popular annual event typically draws 3,000 locals, who park by the road and take in the 135-year-old lens’s starburst-like projections.

The lens actually is made up of 1,008 small lenses, which revolve mechanically and project a distinctive flash of light every 10 seconds. “They were such an incredible engineering feat of the time,” said Paul Keel, local supervising ranger with California State Parks, referring to the Fresnel lenses that were designed for many Northern California lighthouses built in the 1870s.

The Pigeon Point lighthouse is the oldest functioning one in California, built as it was in 1872 amid an outcry over the great number of ships running aground at the foot of the cliff, killing dozens of passengers and crewmen.

A century later, use of the Fresnel lens was discontinued — along with the tradition of the lighthouse keeper — made redundant by automation and the Coast Guard’s ability to monitor the lighthouse from elsewhere.

The new interactive museum exhibit aims to bring much of that period to life, with colorful displays about the Fresnel lens, the historic shipwrecks of Pigeon Point, and the lighthouse keepers and their duties. One section of the exhibit allows visitors to push a button and hear different fog horn signals, since each lighthouse was distinct. Another area contains a 3-foot-tall, cutaway replica of the lighthouse so people can explore what’s inside it (the actual lighthouse has been closed to visitors since it was damaged in 2001).

Semones wrote all the text for the exhibit, and the original research she did took her three years to complete. She was the one who tracked down the families of former lighthouse keepers and invited them to the event on Saturday.
“It’s living history. There’s something here that you can see and touch and picture,” said Semones. “I think it brings alive the history of the lighthouse and the way coastal life used to be.”

Staff writer Julia Scott Oakland Tribune, Nov 16, 2007

The ‘Silk Road’ goes interactive

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

The Pacific Asia Museum recently opened “Journeys: The Silk Road,” a new interactive exhibit….Amelia Chapman, curator of education, pushed for a spot that would reach out to people beyond reading and looking at artifacts. “We decided to make it a interactive exhibit, a more family-friendly exhibit,” Chapman said. “People don’t just want to walk around a museum and look at things in cases.”

Visitors can take the learning from this space out to the rest of the museum, where all of the artifacts on display came from Asia or the Pacific Islands, and follow the connections. There is no set way to explore “Journeys: The Silk Road.” Almost everything is hands-on and can be enjoyed in any order.

In the center of the space is a gorgeous tent lush with overstuffed pillows. Parents can just relax here or select a book from a basket to read with their child. The tent also serves as a fun spot for interactive play. On the first Saturday of the month at 10:30 a.m., visitors can gather here for Silk Road Storytime as well.

“My favorite part is the tent experience,” Chapman said. “I think it’s gorgeous, and I’ve seen people enjoying it. It makes people feel comfortable that they can have a seat on the floor if they’ve got a little 2-year-old, it’s fine. It makes them feel welcome and at home.”

There are also six character stations, each with a basket of clothes and hats to try on. To help with dress-up, there are also cards showing how the attire should look. Each stop provides background on its character. Children can take their turns at being a dancer, artisan, camel handler, trader, silk maker and one real person: Xuanzang, a Buddhist monk who went on an epic 15-year pilgrimage from China to India.

Additional items, such as coins, drums and a huge stuffed animal camel, encourage kids to play out their roles, imagining what they would be doing along the Silk Road. There’s a mirror so the children can see themselves in costume. It also is a spot to learn more about Buddha. “It shows how ideas traveled,” Chapman said. “Buddha, of course came from India, but he’s represented in all different cultures.” The material corner offers items to touch, as well as magnifying glasses for a closer look at carved ivory, silkworm cocoons and a gold-covered bowl.

Near the door is a satellite map with three overlays showing the contintent as it is now, where the old Silk Road was and which cities were on the route and what there key products were.”Journeys: The Silk Road” will continue to evolve, chaging exhibits over time.

Michelle Mills staff writer Pasedena Star-News

New Brighton has new Interpretive Panels

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

NEW BRIGHTON, CA – A series of new wayside panels were installed at the park’s campfire center. Written by local historian Sandy Lydon, designed and developed by Sean Laflin, BANG! Creative, the panels share some of the most interesting features of New Brighton State Beach.

Visitors discover the story of “China Beach,” and the 1880’s Chinese Fishing Village built at the base of the cliffs. A second panel reviews the history of the C.C.C. and their role in the early days of building the park. Another panel explains the presence of tens of thousands of offshore migratory birds, the Sooty Shearwaters. In addition, a new touch screen monitor spotlighting local park information has been added to the visitor center.

New Brighton State Beach is located off the Park Avenue exit off Highway 1.

For more information, contact Park Interpreter Jeff Barnes, at 831-464-5620. California State Parks

de la Ossa Adobe given Governor’s Award

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

SAN DIEGO: It is my pleasure to announce that the Los Encinos State Historic Park’s “De la Ossa Adobe Exhibit” project was awarded a Governor’s Historic Preservation Award for 2008 for the treatment and creative interpretation of the historic decorative wall treatments in Room 4.

This is a great honor for all those that have worked on, and supported, these projects along their circuitous path from earthquake, discovery/recovery, and building restoration–then into a major capitol outlay exhibit project. As many of you know this exhibit project hit many unexpected “hurdles” over the years, but owing to the dedication of the Service Centers, Angeles District, AHM Division, volunteer, and consultant staffs, ended up a very successful project. It is a shining example of how historic preservation and interpretation can be integrated.

The discovery of this historic decorative wall treatment led us to new research avenues and a much more informed understanding of the early inhabitants of this National Register of Historic Places property and its resources.
It also provided us with a great example of the value of our cultural resource management mission in stewarding the State’s historical resources—and communicating these significant efforts and stories to our visitors.

My heartfelt thanks go out to the all team members and supporters, and especially to Project Lead, Nancy Mendez, for coordinating the nomination effort.

Jim Newland, Supervising Historian
Manager, Resources & Interpretive Services
Southern Service Center

The ‘Silk Road’ Goes Interactive

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

Oct 4, 2008

The Pacific Asia Museum recently opened “Journeys: The Silk Road,” a new interactive exhibit….Amelia Chapman, curator of education, pushed for a spot that would reach out to people beyond reading and looking at artifacts.

“We decided to make it a interactive exhibit, a more family-friendly exhibit,” Chapman said. “People don’t just want to walk around a museum and look at things in cases.

“The idea that emerged was the Silk Road because it’s something that every person has heard of whether they know what it is or not, and kids are studying it in school,” she said. “This is the ultimate pan-cultural story because it’s the idea of how people, things and ideas traveled in ancient times.”

Visitors can take the learning from this space out to the rest of the museum, where all of the artifacts on display came from Asia or the Pacific Islands, and follow the connections.

There is no set way to explore “Journeys: The Silk Road.” Almost everything is hands-on and can be enjoyed in any order.

In the center of the space is a gorgeous tent lush with overstuffed pillows. Parents can just relax here or select a book from a basket to read with their child. The tent also serves as a fun spot for interactive play. On the first Saturday of the month at 10:30 a.m., visitors can gather here for Silk Road Storytime as well.

“My favorite part is the tent experience,” Chapman said. “I think it’s gorgeous, and I’ve seen people enjoying it. It makes people feel comfortable that they can have a seat on the floor if they’ve got a little 2-year-old, it’s fine. It makes them feel welcome and at home.”

There are also six character stations, each with a basket of clothes and hats to try on. To help with dress-up, there are also cards showing how the attire should look. Each stop provides background on its character. Children can take their turns at being a dancer, artisan, camel handler, trader, silk maker and one real person: Xuanzang, a Buddhist monk who went on an epic 15-year pilgrimage from China to India.

Additional items, such as coins, drums and a huge stuffed animal camel, encourage kids to play out their roles, imagining what they would be doing along the Silk Road. There’s a mirror so the children can see themselves in costume. It also is a spot to learn more about Buddha. “It shows how ideas traveled,” Chapman said. “Buddha, of course came from India, but he’s represented in all different cultures and, even though he’s represented in different ways, there’s five things that are usually always there, which you can also see throughout our whole collection.”

The material corner offers items to touch, as well as magnifying glasses for a closer look at carved ivory, silkworm cocoons and a gold-covered bowl.

Near the door is a satellite map with three overlays showing…where the old Silk Road was and which cities were on the route and what their key products. “Journeys: The Silk Road” will continue to evolve, changing exhibits over time.

Michelle Mills – staff writer Pasedena Star-News