TWO interesting exhibitions are currently showing at the Slovak National Museum (SNM) in Bratislava: Energy and the Environment in the main building of the Museum of Natural History at Vajanského embankment; and A Proper Cup of Coffee at the Archaeological Museum on Žižkova Street.
Visitors to the main building can ride an electrically-powered bicycle, learn the energy value of one kilogram of wood, or view the sun through a heliostat. Through simple demonstrations and scientific principles the exhibition shows the relationship between energy and the environment and how and where we get energy.
“This is another illustration of how we use the potential of our museum for playful education. It is meant especially for school groups,” said the head of the SNM, Branislav Rezník, in describing the programme, which will run until the end of the year.
Interested visitors can also see how a pendulum can react chaotically or how a perpetual motion device works – or, rather, doesn’t work – as all such devices gradually lose energy.
By playing the game Ekopoly, visitors can learn about relations of systems and natural phenomena in the world. For example, fish lovers can learn that an aquarium can be cleaned with the help of a computer. And visitors will be fascinated watching how human emanation can rotate a convection propeller and how touching a plasma ball can direct the flow of small electric charges. Visitors can discover the principles of a steam engine, a wind-power station, a heat pump, a Crookes grinder, a Faraday transformer, a Stirling engine, or why an H-car powered by hydrogen is the vehicle of the future.
“This is a place for a special kind of entertainment and we plan to constantly supplement the exhibition with new items,” its curator, Július Rosa, promised. The exposition was prepared in cooperation with the Slovak Academy of Sciences, boasts trained guides and can be visited daily except Mondays.
A Proper Cup of Coffee in the renovated Archaeological Museum seeks to show a relatively new tradition that has become a very important part of the central European region – the history of coffee and cafés.
The exhibit starts with a Bedouin tent and some coffee bushes because the whole history of the global popularity of coffee probably started in such a place. The exhibit explores the scientific and botanical nature of coffee as well its social and cultural aspects, including the recreation of the atmospheres of both an old shop selling coffee beans and an avant-garde café with its period decorations.
The SNM cooperated with the Museum in Martin and together they managed to acquire coffee sets of renowned people from Slovakia’s past. While enjoying the atmosphere, every paying visitor will even get an excellent cup of coffee, too. Though display notes are only in Slovak, there is an English bulletin that provides helpful information. This exhibit is open every day except Tuesdays until January 31.
2. Nov 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská