Cherish Nebraska at The University of Nebraska State Museum at Morrill Hall features seven new galleries that celebrate Nebraska’s natural heritage. For this exhibit, Northern Light created five dynamic interactive installations as well as a five-foot-tall digital globe that allows visitors to travel through space and time to learn how Nebraska’s natural environment has been shaped by geological changes and human impacts.
Our task: create media deeply rooted in hard science that was engaging, fun and informative. All brought unique challenges and delights, none more so than the Parasite Table.
Have you ever wondered what parasites could lurk in your backyard, on your pet, or even on you? On this six-foot-long interactive table, you can explore the wonderful and disgusting world of parasites. From the flea that caused the Black Death to a worm in a fish’s eyeball to a suicidal cricket, there is a wealth of information in this interactive that will intrigue, delight, and gross you out.
While this is technically one interactive, it’s really three in one. The main attraction is the Discovery Mode that allows you to drag or select parasites or hosts into a petri dish to play as a University of Nebraska parasitologist. Through activities such as DNA Extraction and Microscope Exploration, you can uncover knowledge about twenty-two different parasites.
In another activity, you are presented with an illustration of a beautiful Nebraskan countryside, complete with all kinds of animals. A timer begins and you must find as many parasites as you can before the clock runs out. While this activity is a lot of fun, you may not want to pet your dog after you find out what parasites may be waiting for you beneath his fur.
The final activity is a personal favorite where you’ll be tasked with sorting upwards of 35 parasites by their distinguishing characteristics, just as a real parasitologist does. You can compete against yourself or others as you try to sort all the parasites as quickly as possible. After delving deep into the world of parasites, you may want to use some hand sanitizer, but you will be fascinated by this incredible hidden world.
In the interactives we created for the University of Nebraska State Museum, we married fun visuals and gameplay with a wealth of manageable information. Whether it’s erupting a volcano, spearing a woolly mammoth, or finding a parasite in a cricket, it’s just plain fun.