Time Chamber (Jacob's Ladder) - Step into the Time Chamber, a circular room with illuminated walls of light. At the center of the room is a most unusual device, an 11' tall Jacob's Ladder that is activated by motion sensors when the room is entered. Electrical energy begins flowing upward between two stainless steel rods at the center of the device. As the energy intensifies, the illuminated walls begin to pulsate and a narrated message welcomes visitors to the "Energy Experience", preparing them for a journey into history.
History of Electricity - The first stop in the "Energy Experience" is the History of Electricity. In this rustic themed room, several displays and experiments introduce visitors to early electrical pioneers. Benjamin Franklin, James Watt, Andre Ampere, Michael Faraday, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were the inventors who discovered electricity and the practical methods for generating, harnessing, storing and distributing its power.
Steam - The Driving Force - The "Energy Experience" continues in the Conventional Power Generation area. Here visitors are introduced to a Steam-Powered Electric Generator, the most common tool for generating electricity. Visitors have the opportunity to control the speed of this functional scale-size generator and monitor the amount of electricity produced.
Carry the Load - Carry the Load is an interactive display where visitors of the "Energy Experience" use hand cranks to power a few electrical devices. The point of this experiment is to show the difference between using electricity during peak hours versus non-peak hours. Since powering these devices is difficult, especially during peak hours, visitors must work together to accomplish this task. This demonstrates how power plants and utilities must often work together to provide the electricity we all use.
Nuclear Fuel Story - As visitors turn the corner in the "Energy Experience", they enter a new era in generating electricity, Nuclear Power. The Nuclear Fuel Story display introduces visitors to this technology and explains the process of mining, milling, converting and enriching uranium into a useful energy source. This is accomplished with flip doors on the display that engage the visitors' curiosity, revealing additional information and samples of the uranium during the different stages of the process.
Explore Containment - Visitors of the "Energy Experience" enter the Nuclear Containment Chamber through a hatch-like doorway. The interior of this cylindrical room is a scaled-down representation of the containment chambers inside the Point Beach Nuclear Plant. Interactive displays inside explain how a fission reaction is created and how the process is used to generate electricity. An actual Fuel Rod Assembly (the key component in this process) protrudes from the simulated reactor pool at the center of the room.
The Reactor / What is Fission? - Inside the Containment Chamber, the (What is Fission?) display demonstrates how fission is initiated and shows why the resulting chain reaction is such a powerful energy source. Integral components to sustaining a controlled fission reaction are the Nuclear Fuel Rod Assemblies in the reactor. To show their scale, a portion of an actual Fuel Rod Assembly protrudes from the simulated reactor pool in the center of the room.
How Strong is Strong? / Energy from Fission - Rivaling the efficiency of Nuclear Power is the public's fear regarding it's safety. So as visitors exit the Nuclear Containment Chamber, a display (How Strong is Strong?) represents the 3' thick reinforced concrete walls used to contain radiation. A video shows the extreme testing measures used to insure the strength and safety of the Containment Chamber walls. The (Energy from Fission) display seen in the background demonstrates how the fission reaction takes place inside the power plant.
Point Beach Nuclear Plant (Model) - A highlight of the "Energy Experience" is the scale, cut-away model of the Point Beach Nuclear Plant. This large display shows in scale the Containment Chambers, Reactors and Electric Generators used by the power plant to provide electricity to millions of people. This portion of the museum also includes two other interactive displays (Understanding Radiation) and (Storing Nuclear Waste), both seen in the background.
Energy for Tomorrow - The "Energy Experience" concludes with a glimpse into the future. The high-tech (Energy for Tomorrow) display introduces visitors to eco-friendly energy sources. These "Green" energy sources are less harmful to the Earth, but there are difficulties to overcome. This interactive display gives visitors the opportunity to power a small town using Wind and Solar power, discovering for themselves the challenges of providing electricity to everyone in changing and often unpredictable conditions.
Energy for Tomorrow (Traveling Exhibits) - The (Energy for Tomorrow) exhibits were created to promote eco-friendly "Green" sources of energy. These (5) traveling exhibits allow participants to power miniature towns using Wind and Solar power. The participants quickly discover the challenges of providing energy to everyone (using these sources) in changing and often unpredictable conditions. Venues that display these exhibits include the Milwaukee County Zoo and several Wisconsin Nature / Science centers.