Marie-Danielle Smith, National Post
July 19, 2017
OTTAWA — The federal government’s $80-million investment in an updated Canada Science and Technology Museum is about to bear fruit, and as construction continues this week the National Post got an exclusive first look.
After nearly three years of work, the project appears on time and on budget as it barrels towards reopening in November, on the national museum’s 50th anniversary.
“First and foremost we are about driving curiosity, discovery and innovation. And then we’re about having fun, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We want those little moments of whimsy as you’re coming through the museum,” said director general Christina Tessier.
We took a look at some of the most interesting artifacts and experiences you’ll get a glimpse of in the completely-overhauled space — from pigeon backpacks to an instrument with a 3D-printed inner ear to the world’s first synthesizer, a Canadian invention.
The electronic sackbut, the world’s first synthesizer, will be part of the exhibit. Curator Tom Everrett explained researchers working with the museum are trying to map out how it works so they can recreate a model visitors can play.
As part of an area focused on electronic music, there’ll be a working theremin, too — an instrument you play by hovering your hands near antenna. People’s movements around the space will also alter a soundscape playing throughout the exhibit.
An ear-y concept
Another project is attempting to build from scratch, for the first time, an early machine from Alexander Graham Bell that apparently inspired him to invent the telephone.
The ear phonautograph featured a human inner ear lodged in a microscope with a stylus that would move according to vibrations going through the ear.
The new version features a 3D-printed inner ear rather than an actual human one.