Wildfire Season Arrives Early at Pacific Science Center
The new exhibit and related art installation aim to bring awareness to the increased presence of wildfires and smoke in the Pacific Northwest
Seattle, WA (May 30, 2019) – Pacific Science Center’s (PacSci) newest exhibit Wildfire, opening June 15, challenges visitors to think about the reality and impact of wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. The exhibit is in conjunction with The Smoke Season, a trilogy of art installations throughout Seattle Center, including the PacSci courtyard, featuring burnt trees from the 2017 Jolly Mountain Fire in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
“Our Wildfire exhibit sets the stage to start a larger conversation about something that has heavily affected our region for the past two years,” said Pacific Science Center President and CEO, Will Daugherty. “We’re excited to collaborate with artists such as Ted Youngs to ignite that curiosity and encourage visitors and our community not only to join the conversation, but also to debate and collaborate on opportunities and challenges that can help the public become better prepared in the future.”
In Wildfire, guests can witness Seattle’s dramatic, recent smoky summers and how different the city looks when smoke rolls in through multiple views and interactives. Compare and contrast the view from the top of the Space Needle on clear and smoky days in 2018, or manipulate a digital photo interactive featuring images from Crosscut and watch the skyline change before your eyes.
Visitors can also test their knowledge of common wildfire hazards at both campsites and houses using a sorting game to learn why some items pose dangers and others don’t. Learn simple tricks to improve personal well-being during fire season, as well as innovative community and design methods that can help humans transition into a new era of fire safety.
Accompanying Wildfire is local artist Ted Youngs’ The Smoke Season installation, where guests can view the “Lone Fir” – one blackened Douglas fir raised beneath the arches in PacSci’s upper courtyard. It will stand for the 36,000 acres of forest that burned in the fire.
“Had Jolly Mountain burned in Seattle, it would have destroyed two thirds of the city,” said Ted Youngs, artist and founder of Big Power Project. “After two summers of wildfire smoke, it seemed critical to provide residents and visitors of the Puget Sound with a venue to find answers about this troubling trend and to build broader conversations about the health of our communities and forests.”
To celebrate the opening of the exhibit and installation, PacSci is hosting a panel discussion, “Smoke: The New Normal?” and installation preview on Friday, June 14. The evening will be moderated by Paige Browning of KUOW, and panelists include local artist and founder of Big Power Project, Ted Youngs; State Representative, Tom Dent (R-13); Technical Analysis Manager of Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Erik Saganic; and Physician and Assistant Professor at University of Washington, Cora Sack. The preview and panel are open to the public.
The Smoke Season will be on display through Sept. 15 in PacSci’s upper courtyard and Wildfire will be on display in Building 2 through October 13. The art installation and exhibit are both included with general admission.
For more information about the exhibit, please visit our Portal to Current Research page.
About Pacific Science Center
Pacific Science Center is an independent, not-for-profit institution in Seattle and has been a gateway to access science education and innovation for more than 50 years. The institution’s mission is to ignite curiosity in every child and fuel a passion for discovery, experimentation, and critical thinking in all of us. Pacific Science Center’s award-winning, interactive programs reach more than 1.1 million people each year – in their communities across the state of Washington, classrooms, and on the Seattle Center campus and at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue. Pacific Science Center began as the United States Science Pavilion during the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. Millions came to explore the wonders of science during the World’s Fair and after closing, the Science Pavilion was given new life as the private not-for-profit Pacific Science Center, the first U.S. museum founded as a science and technology center. On July 22, 2010, Pacific Science Center was declared a City of Seattle Landmark.
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