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Visitors Get Hands-on with Light and Optics in New Exhibition and Inventor Center Challenge at Rochester Museum & Science Center

    ROCHESTER, NY—Illumination: The World of Light and Optics, a new exhibition at Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC), offers visitors of all ages a hands-on opportunity to explore the amazing light-based technologies that impact our daily lives. The permanent exhibition, built in-house with the support of the volunteer Technical Advisory Group, opens to the public on Friday, June 26 as part of the International Year of Light celebrations in Rochester.

    “The International Year of Light provides us with a special opportunity to honor Rochester’s rich history of innovation in the science of light and optical technologies,” said Dan Menelly, chief program officer for science and technology, RMSC. “We are excited to present the science of light through a series of experiences that are uniquely engineered to engage our guests on many levels.”

    Guests immerse themselves in the amazing world of light. More than fifteen interactive components allow visitors to experiment with different aspects of light to explore its nature. Eye-catching visuals combined with hands-on fun encourage the exploration of scientific concepts including reflection and refraction, radio waves and color temperature. Visitors crank, spin and illuminate to make light bend, sound emanate and shadows dance. Among several interactive areas, some specifics include:

    • Optics area where guests experiment with different lenses, mirrors and films to explore diffraction.
    • Laser Communicator where guests point a laser (transmitter) at tube (receiver) to create sounds. This interactive includes fiber optics.
    • Light Bulb Temperature area that explores color temperature. Guests activate light and see how warm, cool and day light bulbs change the look of a setting.
    • Spectra Tubes area that showcases the color that elements, such as neon, argon and helium, emit. This helps us understand the makeup of stars in the universe.
    • Rotating Color interactive explores polarization where guests crank tubes to move fluid.
    • Strobe Flow features the control of liquid flow that is visible under a black light. Visitors turn on strobe light to see the illusion of a change in speed. In addition to the new exhibition, RMSC also opens an optics challenge in its

    Inventor Center—a “makerspace” where guests use raw materials to create inventions. In the new challenge, Make it Fly, Make it Shine, visitors are tasked with building a device that can fly in a storm and shimmer through the darkness. The challenge opens on Saturday, June 27.

    Admission to Illumination: The World of Light and Optics and Inventor Center are included in regular Museum admission. Regular Museum admission is $13 adults, $12 seniors and college students with ID, $11 ages 3 to 18, free for RMSC members and children under 3. For group reservations and rates, call 585.697.1942. Illumination: The World of Light and Optics will be open daily. Visit for hours, the Inventor Center schedule and other details.

    Many other family activities are available throughout the year to celebrate the International Year of Light. A full list of RMSC events is available at and community-wide events at

    For high-resolution images and additional information, contact Amanda Bayer, Communications Specialist, RMSC at 585.697.1962 or

    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.

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