More than 35 years after the first Star Wars film arrived, the Force is still with us.
Excitement from the legendary series of six films will arrive at the Indiana State Museum with the debut of its new exhibit, Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination.
Presented by the Bose Corp., the vivid blockbuster exhibit begins May 25 and will be housed at the state museum until September. Guests will have an opportunity to explore various aspects of the Star Wars films, the science behind them and learn about research that may lead society to having real-life versions of the items, vehicles and technologies used in the films.
Organizers say the Star Wars exhibit will certainly be exciting and fun, but its main purpose is to increase knowledge of science, especially among youth.
“Many people are expecting this to be a science fiction exhibition, but it’s really a science and technology exhibition that uses the appeal of Star Wars to teach people about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math),” said Tom King, president and CEO of the Indiana State Museum.
King added that the exhibition gives visitors an inside look at the universe the Star Wars characters live in alongside science in the real world.
Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination will feature two main theme areas including Getting Around, which will focus on the types of space and land transportation used in the films, and Robots and People, which will look at the past, present and future relationship between robots and humans on screen and in the real world.
Included in those two areas are Engineering Design Labs, one of which features a display of Luke Skywalker’s actual Landspeeder from Episode IV (the original 1977 film). Guests are asked how they would build a vehicle similar to the Landspeeder, and are shown videos of real-world speeders, maglev trains and accounts from engineers to help in the process.
Another highlight will be displays of popular Star Wars robots like C-3PO and R2-D2 where participants can make a robot walk, test another robot that balances on two wheels and even design and build their own droid using what they learn from the area.
“There’s a lot of fun, hands-on activity going on in this exhibit where you can create everything from your own vehicle to robots,” said Bruce Williams, director of media and public relations for the Indiana State Museum.
Other areas of interest show guests costumes used in each Star Wars film, examine the unique environments various characters came from and offer visitors a chance to take a ride “to the edge of the universe at the speed of light” in a full-size replica of the Millennium Falcon ship from the original Star Wars.
Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, was organized as a traveling exhibition in 2008 by Boston’s Museum of Science and Lucasfilm Ltd., which made the Star Wars films that were produced between 1977 and 2005. It is the first exhibit to officially showcase memorabilia from all six Star Wars episodes.
Organizers pledged to have the exhibit shown in 20 cities, and Indianapolis is the 19th stop. Williams said it is believed that its final display will be in Canada, and if that is the case, the Indiana State Museum’s showing will serve as the last opportunity it can be seen in the United States.
In addition, the Indianapolis showing will be the first time the exhibit will be shown in the Midwest since it was located at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry in 2008.
“The idea is that the exhibit will drive a lot of foot traffic not only into our museum, but also increase traffic into the city from visitors throughout the region to affect the economic impact,” Williams said.
He noted that every 18-20 months the Indiana State Museum works to develop an idea for a major blockbuster exhibit, and in recent years have come up with exhibits related to films such as Lord of the Rings and Titanic.
“At 9,100 square feet, this is the largest exhibit in the museum’s history, and we look forward to everyone joining us,” Williams said. “It will definitely be a lot of fun.”