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Awesome Power of Extreme Forces Unleashed in New Rochester Museum & Science Center Exhibition

    ROCHESTER, NY—Visitors take an unexpected journey through the power of earth, fire, air and water in a new exhibition, Elements of the Extreme presented by KeyBank at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC). Through augmented reality, rare and unique items from the RMSC’s vaults and hands-on science, guests of all ages encounter the astounding adaptations that enable life on our planet to survive and flourish. The in-house built exhibition transforms the Riedman Gallery from November 11 through the spring of 2017.

    “We are excited for our visitors to experience this you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it exhibition,” said Kate Bennett, president, RMSC. “There has never before been this type of immersive exploration of our dynamic earth on this scale in Rochester.”

    “The Rochester Museum & Science Center has yet again created an engaging, hands-on experience that Rochestarians of all ages will enjoy and learn from, and KeyBank couldn’t be more proud to be supporting its latest endeavor,” KeyBank Rochester Market President James Barger said.  “This incredible exhibit illustrates exactly why the RMSC is such vital part of our community, highlighting creativity, innovation and beautiful natural elements. As an organization equally committed to helping our community thrive, we’re very pleased to be their partner.”

    Wildly unsafe in their extreme forms, earth, water, air and fire have sparked unbelievable biological adaptations and inspired some of our greatest technological and artistic achievements. Some include the inventions of armor, planes, hovercraft and steam engines. Explore the amazing properties of these “classical elements” and marvel at rare natural science, history and ethnology objects pulled from RMSC collection vaults.

    The exhibition, divided into four distinct, yet interconnected, areas include:

    • EARTH

    The third planet from the sun and the ground beneath our feet. Guests explore phenomena including gravity, magnetism and plate tectonics. Navigate through a dark cave guided by a trail of fluorescent minerals. Build a structure to withstand an earthquake and then test its stability on the “Shake Table” or design sculptures with magnets. The underground world of moles and fungi is exposed. A live harvester ant colony reveals their intricate nest architecture and brings the myriad uses of earth to life.

    • FIRE

    An historically important source of light and heat. A chemical interaction among fuel, heat and an oxidizer, fire may devour habitats when uncontrolled, yet it is also essential to the balance of our ecosystems. Humans rely on fire for warmth, power, cooking and more. Explore technologies from around the world that are used in making and suppressing fire, from the artistry and skill involved in forging 18th century Japanese samurai armor to firing pottery in the American Southwest. Isolate flammable hydrogen gas from water and then cover your ears when the hydrogen cannon ignites!

    • AIR

    Colorless gases in our atmosphere. Although invisible, air has mass and takes up space, displacing objects, enabling flight and sometimes threatening destruction under extreme conditions. Compare the flight of hummingbirds to that of birds of prey through firsthand observation. The physics of air pressure is embodied as objects “zoom” through pneumatic tubes. Learn about bat sonar abilities and view a specially designed flight suit on exhibit – imagine gliding like a flying squirrel! Hanging from the ceiling is an intricately modeled one-quarter-scale replica of the “June Bug,” a record-setting aircraft from 1908.

    • WATER

    Constitutes 70 percent of Earth’s surface and 65 percent of the human body. In its solid, liquid and gaseous forms, water is essential for life on this planet, yet it is also a cause of deadly natural disasters as well as an energy source. Discover how water produces electricity upon its release in the “Big Splash” exhibit, a self-contained demonstration of hydroelectric power generation. In the “Augmented Reality Sandbox,” visitors sculpt the landscape and watch the topography change before their eyes as the forces of moving virtual water alter it. Objects on display include an Inuit parka, a commercial diving suit and a full-scale Hammerhead shark replica. 

    Visitors can attend special programs designed to complement the exhibition, as they further explore how earth, fire, air and water are capable of destruction, yet are also the sources inspiring innovation:


    At Working with the Extreme, visitors experience how earth, fire, air and water have played important roles in some of the most fascinating professions. From firefighting and storm chasing to geology and deep water diving, guests get hands-on with the elements that drive careers. The event takes place from 11am to 3pm on Friday, November 11–Sunday, November 13.


    During special Science Alive shows, live experts demonstrate experiments using properties of earth, fire, air and water. Show schedule available at


    For adults 21+ only, RMSC After Dark: Forces of Nature will also feature activities inspired by the exhibition. Each thematic RMSC After Dark event includes music, science experiments, activities and cash bars. The popular event takes place from 7pm to 11pm on Friday, February 10. Tickets available soon at

    Admission to Elements of the Extreme is free with regular Museum admission—$14 adults, $13 seniors and college students with ID, $12 ages 3 to 18, free for RMSC members and children under 3. For group reservations and rates, call 585.697.1942. Elements of the Extreme will be open daily. Visit for hours and other details.

    Elements of the Extreme is presented by KeyBank. Media sponsor is 13WHAM. Program sponsor is Xerox. Special thanks to Laird Plastics and Newtex.

    For high-resolution images and additional information, contact Amanda Bayer, Marketing Communications Manager, RMSC at 585.697.1962 or or visit the Press / News section of our website at

    Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) includes the Science Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center. Offering experiences at the Museum with more than 200 interactive exhibits, Planetarium with a 65-foot dome and Nature Center on 900 acres, the RMSC stimulates community interest in exploration. In addition, the more than 1.2 million RMSC collection items tell the story of Rochester’s past including its rich history of innovation and invention. RMSC receives major funding from Monroe County, where it is one of the top three most visited attractions serving children and families. For more information about RMSC, visit Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.