Science & Main



Take a stack of exhibit ideas dreamt up by the Education staff, and turn them into an exhibit in one year, on a tight budget.  The exhibit must be movable so that the exhibit hall can be used for large rental events.


Science & Main is one of the most popular exhibits at the Museum, and was achieved at a fraction of the cost of most other exhibits in the museum.  See the captioned photos below for details and process photos…

The Explora-inspired marble wall is adapted for MSC's needs: large plastic balls instead of marbles, and more durable components.
Marble 1
A photo of the marble wall shortly after opening. I added rubber edge-protectors and replaced the wooden pegs with plastic.
Test title 1
The bicycle gearing activity allowing visitors to compare the differences in gear ratios.
Instructions for the paper airplane launcher
We prototyped and tested the paper airplane launcher to determine the best layout for the paper airplane activity.
A view of the airport control tower with launchers in the background
The 'Food fight' catapult. The device is quite precise: if you determine the correct variable to hit a given target, you will hit it reliably with those variables.
Some visitor creations
More visitor creations
Bike Shop
A view of the bike gearing activity and the bike shop facade.
Look and Feel Rendering vC WEB
Initial concept rendering
Overview Rendering v2 WEB copy
Revised concept rendering, after construction methods and components were refined, Science & Main.
Music Ideation - Construction Details copy
Styling detail, which informed the construction methods.
Final Logos
Logos, desiged by intern Qian Zeng
ScienceAndMainProcess (2)
Setting up the facades with the help of a budget-friendly gantry crane. The yellow scaffolding was later used as part of the backdrop of the construction site.
ScienceAndMain (3)
Oops, sorry George...
ScienceAndMain (2)
Guts of the paper airplane launcher
The marble wall pieces were built using this setup. A pin-router attachment was used for the curved pieces.
ScienceAndMainProcess (4)
Cole demonstrating some of the high-tech tools we used
ScienceAndMain_Fab (3)
It turns out handwheels with revolving handles are not MSC-kid-proof, so we added keyways to fixed-handle handwheels. In this photo: enlarging the bore with a boring bar.
ScienceAndMain_Fab (1)
Adding a keyway with the lathe, since we did not have an arbor press.
ScienceAndMain_Fab (2)
We initially used an off-the-shelf pulley as the drive wheel in the paper airplane launcher, but it was quickly shredded. In this photo, machining a new wheel, which held up well.


View these projects in more detail:

Drop Tower
Pipe Organ


I managed the project and completed the much of the labor, from design to install and documentation.  I worked closely with the Education, Facilities, and Marketing departments to get the project done.  I also recruited, trained, and organized volunteers from the community, and interns from MICA.

Other Contributors


Cole Pritchard
Cait May
Qian Zeng
Kelsey Hunter
Sofia Maranto


Karl Palm
David M Storey Inc Pipe Organ Builders
George Moran, Explora
CK Wong, Hong Kong Science Center
Franklin Institute Exhibit Team


Karl Palm
Kevin Johnson
Mark LoPresto
Terry Nixon
Tom Riley


Maryland Science Center, Baltimore MD