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The Bradbury’s National Outreach Traveling Exhibits Program (NOTEs)

Building Immunity moves to New Jersey and The Ribosome v2 primps for an international debut.
June 27, 2019

The Ribosome at the 2017 ASTC conference.


  • Stacy Baker
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"The Ribosome" is heading to Canada.

In our last NOTEs update, we shared that the Bradbury Science Museum’s third traveling exhibit Building Immunity was heading from Connecticut to New Jersey for installment at the Liberty Science Center. Home to an amazing array of exhibition halls, an aquarium, and the Western Hemisphere’s biggest planetarium–the Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium– the Liberty Science Center sees over 750,000 visitors annually. 

This exhibit was curated by Bette Korber of the Lab’s Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group. The Bradbury staff is excited to have this installed at the Liberty Science Center, whose stated mission “To inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers and excite learners of all ages about the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology” is well aligned with our own. Building Immunity will reside at the Liberty Science Center for the next six months, until it’s scheduled to travel to the Houston Museum of Health in 2020. 

Also getting ready to move is The Ribosome, a striking, interactive exhibit based on pivotal research by Karissa Sanbonmatsu, also of the Lab’s Theoretical Biology and Biophysics group. The Ribosome was originally unveiled in 2017 at the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) conference in Silicon Valley. This exhibit explores the history of the ribosome, the promise it holds for fighting diseases like cancer, and how researchers at Los Alamos were able to use unparalleled supercomputing resources to model not only a ribosome’s structure at the atomic level, but its very motion: the swivel it makes as it creates and disburses the proteins all life requires. 

After the 2017 ASTC conference, The Ribosome traveled to the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, then to the Health Museum in Houston, and finally returned home to the Bradbury this spring. During its travels, we learned much about how visitors interacted with the exhibit, what they took away from it, and what they knew about work undertaken at the Lab. Based on this visitor feedback and that of those museums’ educational staff, Bradbury design staff began thinking about updates for several of the exhibit’s elements. 

Once The Ribosome arrived back at the Museum, we were able to check for needed repairs and begin adding all the exhibit design team’s updates, including an augmented reality component! In fact, the exhibit has transformed enough that we’re bringing it back to ASTC in 2019. This year’s ASTC conference takes place in Toronto, Canada, which means we’ll get to showcase the exhibit before an international audience at the largest conference of its kind. 

The Bradbury Science Museum enjoys its mission to encourage interest in and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and mathematics and promote public understanding and appreciation of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Our traveling exhibit program, NOTEs, aims to reach from sea to shining sea, sending physical representations and storytelling about the Lab’s world-changing science to informal learning institutions throughout the country. With three traveling exhibits so far, and more on the way, our hope for the NOTEs program is to have each of these beautiful, educational, free exhibits installed in learning centers across the country year-round, experienced and enjoyed by learners of all ages.

For more information, including where to see our exhibits, please contact Stacy Baker at slbaker@lanl.gov.