Capturing the science (and magic) of Pixar at Science Museum of Minnesota

Science Behind Pixar is the new exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota // Photo via Science Museum of Minnesota, Flickr

Science Behind Pixar is the new exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota // Photo via Science Museum of Minnesota, Flickr

Remember the first time you watched Buzz Lightyear fly “to infinity, and beyond?” How about the feeling you got when Dory told Nemo, “Just keep swimming?” Or how your jaw dropped when Lightning McQueen came speeding across your screen?

This summer, you can get a glimpse into the science, engineering, filmmaking, and imagination it took to bring these iconic moments to the silver screen with The Science Behind Pixar, the current exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

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The exhibit is the latest and greatest attraction in the Museum’s expanding and evolving lineup. While other films and exhibits like Sportsology, Journey to the South Pacific, and the Big Back Yard offer visitors the opportunity to explore many different aspects of science, this new feature is likely to tug at visitors heartstrings a little harder.

“There’s definitely a sense of nostalgia for young adults,” says Kim Ramsden, director of communications and public relations for the Science Museum. “‘Toy Story’ came out 21 years ago. They remember these films from when they were kids and it takes them back.”

Science Behind Pixar gives visitors a look at how movies like story story were brought to life // Images via Science Museum of Minnesota's Instagram

Science Behind Pixar gives visitors a look at how movies like story story were brought to life // Images via Science Museum of Minnesota’s Instagram

This is the only Midwest stop of the 12,000-square-foot traveling exhibit’s 10-year tour. It was created by the Museum of Science in Boston, who worked closely with Pixar to ensure the exhibit itself combines fun, science, and nostalgia, as it brings the filmmaking process to life.

There are more than 40 different attractions, ranging from modeling of characters to creating the lighting of individual scenes. Visitors have the ability to see every step of the creative process, and how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) come together to make these films possible.

“The exhibit a good fit for our mission, and it gives us the opportunity to show kids that having a job in science isn’t just about wearing a lab coat and looking through a microscope,” says Ramsden. “STEM jobs are the future.”

While we won’t give away everything, the experience begins with some of the Pixar magic we’ve come to know and love through the years. A quick video provides a tour of the Pixar studios, and introduces us to some of the processes it takes to make a movie come to life.

From there, visitors are allowed inside the exhibit, which sits in an enclosed, separate part of the museum (the exhibit also carries an additional fee on top of your admission to the museum). Life-size versions of some of your favorite Pixar characters are waiting. For younger kids, this is a chance to hug Wall-E or high-five Buzz.

Wall-E at Science Behind Pixar // Photo by Patrick Strait

Wall-E at Science Behind Pixar // Photo by Patrick Strait

While the familiar characters are bringing people through the doors, the science is the real star of this show. Older visitors (both kids and adults) have the chance to walk through each step of the process and learn about how writers and artists create the story and concept art.

Guests can try their hands at digital sculpting to build a 3D model of Josie from “Toy Story,” play with rigs that make movement possible, adjust the lighting to enhance the mood of a familiar scene the movie “Up,” and even see how to build and decorate your favorite cars from “Cars.”

“There is something here for every age group,” says Ramsden. “Everyone can get something from the exhibit.”

While younger visitors may be accustomed to seeing these 3D worlds on screen, this is truly a walk through the evolution of filmmaking.

“Pixar changed the way we watch movies today,” says Ramsden. “It changed expectations and continues to do so.”

Ramsden says that this summer The Science of Pixar is bringing together the two most important aspects of the Science Museum.

“It combines young people and a love of science,” she says.

IF YOU GO:

The Science Behind Pixar
Science Museum of Minnesota
Open through Labor Day
Cost: $9.95–$28.95
Click here to learn more

 
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