The Lawrence Hall of Science's current exhibit is called If These Walls Could Talk." It's not about abortion or lesbian couples (which might disappoint the science-minded father who nonetheless wants to see Ellen Degeneres and Sharon Stone make out), but rather about architecture. Visitors can learn about earthquake-proof buildings, build computer models of doghouses, and discover at the importance of carbon monoxide detectors through the magic of theater. Also, there's an extensive display on demolition, which includes continuously looping footage of a high-rise building collapsing.
One note about the Lawrence Hall of Science: Since only a small number of the museum displays are created in-house, LHS gets most of its major exhibits on loan from other science museums around the country. This requires major exhibits to be arranged well in advance (18 months - 2 years, in some cases). Usually, this is no big deal: there might be a few new findings, but current thinking on dinosaurs probably won't change much from month to month. Occasionally, events happen that cast exhibits in a wholly new light. When LHS contracted for If These Walls Could Talk from the Science Museum of Minnesota, they had no idea that 9/11 would make all the demolition stuff so unsettling.
So, they added a small display, to the far right of the exhibit, entitled "What Did the World Trade Center Mean To You?" Visitors, usually children, can fill out little white cards with (non-racist) sentiments as to how the WTC affected their lives. Presented for your perusal are a sampling of the statements considered worthy of showcasing in a sort of WTC card photo album thing at the display:
One boy acknowledged it was a sad event, but insisted he "knew that Ismoa Bin Laden did not do it."
Another child wrote that, while he really liked the World Trade Center, "the people that blew it up probably didn't."
A girl named Jennifer was "scared because I thought Asoma Bin Laden was after me!"
Not all the cards were from children - one grown-up wrote a long and pretentious account of seeing the towers out of the airplane window while flying cross-country, which concluded with a comment of the irony in "the same vehicle that afforded me a view of those towers proving to be the means of their undoing."
One girl was hit close to home: "I am sad that it happened on my dog's birthday."
Unintentionally symbolic misspelling: "The WTC flat like a home to me."
Finally, one Berkeley visitor wanted to remind everyone that people from "OVER 80 COUNTRIES!!! died," so people shouldn't be using the crisis as "a platform for rampant nationalism! Don't we have enough of that??" At some point in the last month, another visitor has removed the card from its place and scrawled "you are an idiot" across the bottom, then crudely shoved the card back in place.
Only two weeks left for this exhibit. Admission free for Cal students and employees or if Sean is working.