The Liberty Science Center, located across the Hudson River from the former World Trade Center, will develop, evaluate and install an 8,000 square foot, five-story permanent exhibition about the architectural design and engineering, physics, and urban-related environmental science of skyscrapers. The exhibit will use a vertical space that includes a view overlooking southern Manhatten, the former World Trade Center, and one of the most famous urban skylines in the world. The exhibition is organized around three basic theme areas and is balanced between the advantages and disadvantages of skyscrapers. Visitors enter the exhibit through SKYSCRAPER WORLD, an advance organizer that sets the stage for the exhibit and identifies possible wayfinding pathways through other areas. BUILDING THE BUILDING (second and third levels) addresses principles in the design and construction of skyscrapers, while HABITAT AND IMPACT (fourth level) describes patterns of adaptation in the ecosystems created by skyscrapers. An outdoor observation deck (fifth level) facing the Manhattan skyline and the former World Trade Center, provides the opportunity for skyline programming. What is a Rooftop, Rooftop Garden, and Skyline Clock, assisted by binocular telescopes for observing detail, are interactive programs that use the skyline as a teaching tool. Taking advantage of the dramatic skyline seen from the Science Center, the project will document changing public attitudes about skyscrapers and analyze patterns of visitor traffic and wayfinding in a five-story exhibition tower. The exhibit is supported by mediated public programs in LSC and by experiences for school audiences, both at LSC and in local schools. Although "Skyscraper" is primarily an informal learning experience, it has significant linkages to formal in-school programs.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL)
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Alphonse T. DeSena
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Liberty Science Center, Inc.
Jersey City
United States
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