Green Revolution is a new kind of traveling exhibit created by the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago and distributed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).
Instead of renting an exhibit that arrives in crates on a truck, Green Revolution is sent to participants digitally. Each venue receives graphic design files through Google Docs to print text panels and graphics in-house, plus plans to build interactives and exhibit components themselves. In keeping with the spirit of “reuse and recycle,” participants are encouraged to repurpose materials from past projects to build the exhibit.
Green Revolution addresses the critical issues facing our planet today and practical ideas on how each person can help. The exhibit is divided into five themes: Carbon Footprint, Composting & Gardening, Energy, Hybrid House, and Waste Not. A short introductory video features children talking about the ways we can all contribute to a healthier planet.
In the Carbon Footprint section, SITES provides a simple computer game to help kids understand how small actions can make a big difference. A “low-tech” board game shows how decisions we make every day can help or hurt our planet.
The Composting and Gardening section explores how we can improve our health by growing our own food or eating locally-grown produce and meats. A panel on Worms explains how beneficial these creatures are for our soil.
The Energy section explores alternatives to fossil fuels, including solar, wind and hydropower. Each method is clearly explained with a diagram outlining the process.
The Hybrid House section discusses how we can increase the energy efficiency in our homes. Local venues can customize this section by borrowing items from local companies that illustrate the themes.
Waste Not discusses the positive impact we can have on the environment if we recycle. The exhibit encourages visitors to think about where their trash goes, how they can make a difference by recycling, and what products can be created from recycled materials such as paper, glass and plastic.
A bonus section called Green Jobs discusses the ways in which “being green” is creating new opportunities for regions of our country that have experienced high levels of unemployment. Venues can also customize the exhibition by highlighting local green pioneers on panels using a template provided by SITES.
The exhibit also features a series of simple “green tips” visitors can use in their own lives, such as “Turn off the water while brushing your teeth” or “Use your library card.” Each one is printed on a circle which can be hung on the wall or from the ceiling.
Green Revolution is a brand new model in traveling exhibitions. A large portion of the cost of hosting an exhibition is the shipping charges. By sharing materials digitally, this cost is completely eliminated. The themes are timely as we struggle to understand how we can protect our planet for future generations.