New guitar exhibit rocks OMSI

Here’s a fun, family Holiday vacation idea: Take a look and see why they say ‘Come make some noise!’ …

At this hands-on display, Georgia Fleschner explores how a guitar is constructed, from the inside out.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is giving a “Backstage Pass” to members and visitors, in their feature exhibit, which is all about guitars.

A touring exhibition by the National GUITAR Museum called “Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World!” highlights and explores the stringed musical instrument the exhibit maker proclaims to be “most enduring icon in American history”.

For those who want to rock out large, check out this gigantic Gibson guitar.

The exhibit explores the cultural and physical history of the guitar, from lutes and ouds to modern high-tech instruments. From tiny to huge – including a playable 44-foot long Gibson guitar – visitors look, see, and feel how the guitar became the cultural icon it is today.

“Guitar” brings people from all backgrounds, and of all ages together, says OMSI Communications Manager Kate McNally.

“Everyone loves music, whether it’s jazz, rock, or classical, vocal or instrumental – music is something we can get really excited about,” remarked OMSI Communications Manager Kate McNally.

“It’s a great avenue to help people understand elements of science that they might not naturally think about when they think about music,” McNally told East Portland News. This is a fun way to get people to come together over something to which everyone can relate.”

Music lovers Denise Bertetto and Saul Koll look at some of the famous guitars in the exhibition.

Classic, but not functional, guitar amplifier shells have been made into fascinating interactive video displays.

OMSI Science Demonstrator Matt Miller plays with fire, operating the Rubens Tube.

As a sidebar at the exhibit, an OMSI educator demonstrated how to make music with a weird assortment of equipment, from water goblets to Tesla coils. Most illuminating is the propane-powered “Rubens Tube”. Also known as a standing wave flame tube, it is a modern version of antique physics apparatus for demonstrating acoustic standing waves in a tube, devised by Heinrich Rubens in 1905.

Like most OMSI exhibits, there are many hands-on demonstrations, including a “Laser Harp”, touch-screen audio mixers, and an LED piano that makes music visible.

“In summary, this exhibit brings together many disciplines,” McNally smiled. “From physics, like how a guitar string vibrates – to the biology of the wood used to create guitars – there are many and varied opportunities to learn about music and science at the same time.”

There is much to see and do at “Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World!”, now at OMSI.

Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World!” runs through January 10, 2016, and is included in your General Admission fee at OMSI. For more information, see the OMSI website: CLICK HERE.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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