Celebrating the Grand Opening of Shocks and Jolts

June 5, 2023
From left to right, Oxy volunteers, Children’s Museum CEO Rayanne Darensbourg, CMH Board Member and 1PointFive President Michael Avery, and CMH Director of Educational Technology & Exhibit Development Keith Ostfeld celebrate the grand opening of Shocks and Jolts.

Children are Charged Up about Learning in CMH’s What’s New? Gallery

CMH presented an electrifying grand opening of Shocks and Jolts on May 18th. With the help of Oxy volunteers, a giant switch was flipped and the curtain parted on the Museum’s summer blockbuster exhibit. Event attendees were among the first to experience Shocks and Jolts’ larger-than-life explorations including five-foot-tall plasma tubes and a giant lightbulb that illuminates when visitors complete a circuit.

Museum Board Member Michael Avery, President & General Manager of 1PointFive (a subsidiary of Oxy), provided opening remarks, noting that “[Our partnership with the Museum] is important, especially since this is Oxy’s hometown…we are able to engage with the community and inspire youth, particularly in science and engineering, which is so fundamental to our business.”

Shocks and Jolts is a key part of the Museum’s efforts to introduce children to career options. During the event, CMH CEO Rayanne Darensbourg addressed the children in attendance, “Our goal is to increase the number of students who choose STEM majors and careers, because you are the future…STEM education is a passport to a career filled with exciting breakthroughs and solutions that address our biggest global challenges.”

Did you know that your body can conduct electricity? Exhibit visitors use their hands to complete a low-voltage circuit and turn on a giant lightbulb.

If the smiles on the faces of visitors were any indication, the exhibit was a huge success. Children eagerly waited in line for their turn to generate electricity that powered a model solar system, wired many different kinds of circuits, and used electromagnetism to send metal rings soaring. Each activity explores Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills science standards, building a strong foundation that children need for success in elementary school and beyond.

Plasma—found in lightning, the sun, and the stars—has fascinated civilizations for thousands of years. In Shocks and Jolts, visitors can interact with plasma and watch as it is attracted to their hands.

Underwritten by The William Stamps Farish Fund and Oxy, Shocks and Jolts will be displayed in the Museum’s What’s New? Gallery until May 2024. The exhibit is included with Museum admission and is free for everyone on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. as part of Free Family Nights.