“ElectriCity” uses New York’s rails to explain a science that transit riders all too often take for granted!
On October 29, 2011, the New York Transit Museum opened its first science exhibit — ElectriCity: Powering New York’s Rails. Designed by Liberty Science Center, this 2,000-square-foot exhibit is part science and part history. It engages visitors in a compelling and participatory exploration of electricity’s role in powering the metropolitan region’s subways and commuter rails.
The exhibit weaves together objects from the Museum’s extensive collection with carefully crafted, science-based interactives designed to appeal to all ages. ElectriCity is the first exhibit designed for a New York City museum by Liberty Science Center.
“Our goal is to make the science of electricity accessible to everyone. By connecting to the quintessential New York experience—riding a subway—people who never gave a second thought to the third rail or how a subway motor works, will stand on subway platforms with a new understanding,” said Gabrielle Shubert, Director of the Transit Museum.
Guests will enjoy authentic artifacts from the Museum’s collections ranging from mammoth switches and circuit breakers to a giant subway control board panel (ca. 1932) that illustrates how the flow of electricity to the third rail was monitored and how the subway’s power grid was managed. The exhibit also features historical photographs that show construction and daily tasks involved in operating the subway, as well as architectural and engineering drawings that illustrate power-house and substation design, third rail track diagrams, and power to rail connections.
Funded in part by a generous grant from Con Edison, ElectriCity also teaches the sustainable nature of public transit. Additional funding is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts. The exhibit will be accompanied by extensive school and public programs.