“What we’d like to do is kind of a combination of bringing science to life, so [we will present] some really fun, engaging demonstrations along with a whole lot of silliness,” said Speer, Tellus’ general science program manager. “So whoever is performing as the Mad Scientist at any given time, they’re really trying to engage the audience. They’re trying to make things very animated, very exciting, but at the same time teach them a little bit about science with some fun demonstration that they’re going to remember for a long time. That visceral experience that you always remember, that’s what we’re looking for.
“We love playing with things like electrostatic generators, liquid nitrogen, dry ice, those sorts of things that most people, they might have seen them on a field trip or at some other experience. They definitely don’t keep them at home unless they’re scientists themselves. And then [we will] just do some fun take on it. They may have seen [a demonstration where] you put your hand on the electrostatic generator and the kid’s hair stands up. We hope to maybe do some demonstrations that they may not have seen before with the same props or we might have a different prop that they’ve never seen before too.”
During “Night at the Museum,” actors portraying figures, ranging from Amelia Earhart to the "Star Wars" franchise, will engage museum patrons in conversation. Patrons 12 and younger are encouraged to dress up for the event and participate in a parade at 8 p.m.
“It always draws a big crowd because it’s so much fun for kids of all ages and by that I mean youngsters but also adults who are kids at heart,” said Joe Schulman, marketing director for Tellus Science Museum. “Because of the mix of science and science fiction, those sort of cross generations. People can be excited about Star Wars [at] any age. They can be excited about meeting the Wright brothers and Amelia Earhart. That goes across different ages.
“.... We have two different sets of types of characters. We have science and science fiction. And the reason is science and science fiction really influence and inspire each other. ... You’ll have characters from ‘Star Trek’ and shows like ‘Firefly’ but then we’ll also have people like Jules Verne, who’s pretty much one of the fathers of science fiction.”
Encompassing 120,000 square feet at 100 Tellus Drive in Cartersville, Tellus is comprised of four main galleries — The Weinman Mineral Gallery, The Fossil Gallery, Science in Motion and The Collins Family My Big Backyard hands-on science gallery — a 120-seat digital planetarium and an observatory. A Smithsonian affiliate, Tellus has attracted more than 800,000 visitors since opening in January 2009.
“The cool thing [about this event] is these are not just actors in character standing there just talking,” Schulman said. “You’re invited and [it is] suggested that you talk to them. Ask them questions. Talk to them about what they did and what they like, because these are fully realized characters of these people.
“And then all the kids will get autograph books as well. So they’ll be able to get autographs from all these famous people. The actors love it. We have a blast and, of course, the public has a blast. That’s why they keep coming back, and it’s why we enjoy doing it every year because we have a blast doing it.”
Tickets for the event, which are $10 for members and $20 for non-members, can be purchased by calling 770-606-5700, ext. 431.
For more information about the museum and its offerings, visit www.tellusmuseum.org.