On Monday, October 19, as part of a cross-regional expedition, the team of the Association of Private Museums of Russia visited the Reactor Museum of Entertaining Sciences in Penza. This is yet another scientific and technical museum, in which the true value of the exhibits on display lies in the disclosure of their historical role in the development of world science.
In addition to exhibitions, the museum is also engaged in additional education by teaching schoolchildren, and the scientific description of the great discoveries of world scientists is presented here in simple terms, performing experiments. The museum has 20 exhibits showing various branches of physics.
“Our museum was opened in 2013, and since then we have been working on the principle of learning through involvement. The idea of creating a museum of entertaining sciences in our region was quite deliberate. We want children to love science, and we give them this opportunity,” Ruslan Kondratyev, director of the museum, says about the history of the museum creation.
Ruslan gave a short tour for the team of our Association, told about the exhibits and demonstrated several experiments. For example, the collection of the museum has theremin as an exhibit. It is a unique and first electronic non-contact musical instrument created by the Soviet inventor Lev Termen in 1919. In order to play it, you just need to move your hands. According to the principle of the theremin, the signaling device works, which was invented by the same scientist three years after the invention of the theremin. “This scientist lived in the United States for a long time; he worked for Soviet intelligence and created various gadgets. There is a myth that he placed a listening device in a wooden American eagle – the symbol of America, which was later presented to the American embassy by the pioneers,” Ruslan added.
Another exhibit in the Reactor Museum is the Nikola Tesla coil. This coil, as it was said on the tour, is conceived to “transmit electricity over long distances.” However, in fact, it is a resonant transformer that produces high voltage at high frequency. Today, the principles behind this invention have found use in medicine, the military, and light shows. “We can see the real lightning that appears in our nature, but Tesla’s coil is absolutely safe, despite extra high voltage of 300,000 volts. Because of the fact that the current is of high frequency, and its rate is very small, you can even stroke the coil. Of course, you feel it, and it is not very pleasant, but it is safe,” says Ruslan.
In addition, the museum has other exhibits, such as a glucophone – a tonal drum, where all sounds are of different tonalities, and produced by hitting; they sound harmoniously and stay in tune. The example of this device is used to study such a phenomenon as resonance.
The Reactor Museum of Entertaining Sciences is evolving. One of the founders, Alexander Lezhenikov, speaks about plans for the next year: “This year, at the Ivolga forum of the Volga Federal District, we won a grant to create a mobile Space Museum. Next year we should have a rather interesting space museum, because soon is the anniversary of the first manned flight into space. For many, it is problematic to come to Penza from some of the districts and visit our museum, but we will be able to come to the region in a mobile format.”
From October 11 to October 22, the team of the Association of Private Museums of Russia made a cross-regional expedition, visiting 19 private museums in nine Russian regions. We traveled 3100 km, met a huge number of interesting people, opened new horizons for cooperation and shared the fruits of their activities. As a result of the expedition, two new museums were admitted to the Association – the Borodin Museum & Smithy in Vladimir and the Museum of Christmas Tree Decorations in Ryazan.