By: Michael Malina
This year I had the amazing opportunity to go and take a look at the heart of all the scientific, mechanical and educational exhibits that Oregon has to offer, at none other than the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or OMSI.
Every year, OMSI has rotating exhibits about a wide variety of interest-piquing curiosities. Their most recent one was the Discovery of King Tut exhibit, which is the one I went and saw. It was an audio/visual walking tour regarding the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter, a famed archeologist. Allow me to briefly explain a little more about it:
The tour begins with a short movie introducing you into some history of one of Egypt’s most fascinating geographical areas, the Valley of Kings, and about the tomb itself. As you proceed along the tour you are greeted with many different rooms, some equipped with video projectors, that play a narrative story about the exhibit as you enter each room.
Near the end of the audio section of the tour, there is a room with even more Egyptian relics. Some of which include hieroglyphics, sarcophagi, wall paintings, and a whole lot more. Each piece has their own laminated plaque in front that briefly explains what they are as well as some history about them.
One flight of stairs later, and you enter the main hall where the rest of the tour takes place. It’s full of hundreds more interesting Egyptian-related objects. From weapons, armors, chariots, dozens more paintings and objects with paintings and/or hieroglyphics on them, canopic jars, overall the variety is astonishing. Even a Mask of Tutankhamun could be seen behind glass. It was absolutely enthralling to see and interact with so many pieces of history from one of the most famous and awe-inspiring eras of the world. An era of civilization best renowned as those who built the pyramids, revolutionized mathematics, medicine, and agriculture, and developed one of the earliest written languages ever recorded–that to this day is still not fully understood even with the deciphering tool known as the Rosetta Stone.
Aside from the King Tut exhibit, there were also many other fascinating things to do and see around the building: tours of a decommissioned U.S. Navy submarine, an enormous planetarium dome that shows documentaries on the ceiling as well as an equally massive empirical theater that shows many feature films, just to name a few.
You can easily spend hours just exploring everything OMSI has to offer. The selection and diversity are unlike any museum or attraction I have ever been to in recent years. Not to mention that it’s convenient locale at the heart of the Portland Metro Area certainly does not discourage any visitors, tourist or native, to come and take a look around at the creatively designed, and to an extent–mesmerizing, exhibits to which certainly at least in some regard deserve a visit if you ever find yourself with some extra spare time.
All-in-all, OMSI is a unique, brilliant center of innovation and ingenuity. They have so many attractions that it is hard for anyone to go there and not be interested in at least one of them. There is something for nearly everyone. But as much as may interest or appeal to the average person, it’s charm is so much more to those who appreciate who they are as a foundation for learning and a promoting influence to the interests of science, education, innovation, technology, engineering and much more.