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Colorado Residents and Visitors to Investigate Health in a Whole New Way
Date:1/29/2008

Denver Museum of Nature & Science Reveals Plans for New $8 Million

Interactive Health Science Exhibition

Kaiser Permanente Colorado Provides $4 Million in Support

DENVER, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning in April 2009, residents and visitors to the Denver area will be able to measure their bodies and learn how to improve their health in ways they have never experienced at a museum -- or anywhere else.

Expedition Health, a new $8 million permanent exhibition opening next year at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, will immerse visitors of all ages in an interactive world that will help them to investigate how their own remarkable bodies function and change -- right down to the cellular level. And, in 10,000 square feet of delightful exhibits and lab experiments, they can explore how they might live better every day.

"Our vision is to create a community of people who not only understand the science of their bodies but can use that knowledge to create better lives," said George Sparks, President and CEO of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, in announcing the new exhibition today. "Here, you will be able to have fun and play while at the same time experiencing the power of the choices you make.

"We are proud to have a public health leader like Kaiser Permanente partner with us to bring this dynamic new exhibition to life," Sparks added.

Called Expedition Health, the new 10,000-square-foot exhibition is the first project of the Museum's 10-year strategic plan. Expedition Health will encompass five areas including 25 interactive stations and five lab experiments. It will replace the current Hall of Life, one of the Museum's most popular visitor destinations, which will close April 27, 2008.

To further its commitment to improving public health, Kaiser Permanente Colorado has partnered with the Museum to contribute $4 million toward the new exhibition. Kaiser Permanente Colorado's donation will support an exhibition that educates visitors about how they can take proactive steps to live better every day.

"At Kaiser Permanente part of our mission is to improve the health of the communities we serve," said Donna Lynne, DrPH, President of Kaiser Permanente Colorado. "Great medicine for our members only goes so far. When we can partner with community leaders like the Museum to educate and inform the public, that's when we can truly deliver on our promise of total health. This wonderful new science exhibition will be a landmark on the map, making Colorado a healthier place to live. Kaiser Permanente Colorado is excited to help support this dynamic project."

Gates Family Foundation and The Colorado Health Foundation have also made major donations to Expedition Health. Additional major donors to date include the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Helen K. & Arthur E. Johnson Foundation, Rollie R. Kelley Family Foundation, The Cydney and Tom Marsico Family Foundation, MetLife Foundation, National Outdoor Leadership School, the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science Trustees.

Expedition Health: A Hands-on Experience

Expedition Health will provide visitors with a wide variety of activities and experiences that will broaden their knowledge of human biology, disease and wellness and inspire the application of those discoveries to their everyday lives. Through interactive exhibits and lab experiments, live demonstrations and programs, and immersive theater experiences, visitors will learn what makes their own bodies function, and why even small changes can lead to improved health and vitality.

As an example, visitors will be able to measure their bodies' energy output as they walk a course and then experiment with different movements like hopping, running and skipping, to increase that energy expenditure. At another station, they will witness how sunscreen works to block UV rays on their own skin. In the exhibition's science lab, they can conduct experiments to analyze the sugar and protein content of their favorite breakfast cereal.

"The philosophy that guides this exhibition is to allow the visitors to experience their bodies firsthand in a very positive and empowering way," said Bridget Coughlin, PhD., the Museum's curator of human health. "Visitors will go deep into their bodies, beyond learning about their heart, for example, and learn about the molecular and cellular structure that powers their heart. Visitors will experience how the environment -- such as altitude -- and choices -- such as exercise -- affect their bodies' ability to function."

The unifying theme in Expedition Health that holds these diverse elements together is ideally suited to Colorado: Visitors will take their own virtual expedition to the peak of Mount Evans. As visitors journey through the gallery, the expedition story serves as a backdrop for what they are actively doing, seeing and measuring in their complex, constantly changing bodies.

Five Interactive Areas

The 10,000-square-foot Expedition Health gallery is organized into five major components:

The Core Exhibition: When visitors arrive at Expedition Health, they are issued a "Peak Pass" that allows them to record their own anatomy, health and performance data at an array of interactive stations. The core components in Expedition Health offer insights into human biology and health in delightful and entertaining ways that involve the entire body. As they exit, visitors can print a souvenir Personal Profile featuring their data logged at the interactive stations.

BodyTrek Theater: In the participatory BodyTrek Theater, visitors will get a visceral and engaging look at how the body reacts to conditions at high altitude during a trek up Mount Evans. The theater layout and 130-degree panoramic screen format wraps the audience in dramatic imagery, light and sound-while offering important biological and health information-in ways that conventional exhibits or film cannot.

Biology Base Camp: This authentic, participatory laboratory is designed to appeal to everyone who visits Expedition Health. Donning lab coats, gloves and goggles, visitors test their own hypotheses using the same equipment and microscopes found in research laboratories. Adjacent to the lab is a Community Research Lab where visitors can participate in actual experiments with the Museum's academic partners.

Summit Science Stage: The hub of facilitated educational experiences in Expedition Health, the Summit Science Stage is designed to give visitors opportunities to participate in health demonstrations and programs, and discuss science and health topics with Museum experts.

Tykes Peak: An area expressly designed for young learners under age five, Tykes Peak provides a mix of full-body activity, dramatic play and multisensory experiences, along with information for parents and caregivers about the biological basis of behavior seen when children play.

A New Direction for the Museum

Expedition Health represents the first major project in the Museum's 10-year, $140 million strategic plan, which includes a new science education center, a new earth science hall, a state-of-the-art temporary exhibition hall, an underground storage facility that consolidates the Museum's collections, and improvements to bring the Museum building into compliance with LEED-EB specifications. The Mount Evans expedition theme in Exhibition Health also reflects the Museum's new strategic intent to make all new permanent exhibitions regionally focused to ensure they are particularly relevant to the Museum's core audience, the people of Colorado.

Expedition Health is the first new permanent exhibition at the Museum since Space Odyssey and the renovated Gates Planetarium opened in summer 2003. Expedition Health will be housed in the gallery currently occupied by Hall of Life on Level 2 of the Museum.

Hall of Life opened at the Museum in 1989 and has attracted more than 4 million visitors in its history. During construction of Expedition Health, the Museum will continue to provide health science content for both the general public, through demonstrations and floor programs, and for students and teachers, through a variety of classroom programs, workshops, outreach programs, and teacher professional development.

"We believe that Expedition Health will set the standard for health science exhibitions worldwide," Coughlin said. "More important to us, however, is that we provide an experience that will inspire the people who visit to make choices that allow them to live richer lives. In the end, that is the highest calling of science-to educate in a manner that changes the world for the better."

Look for press materials and production updates on http://www.expeditionhealth.org.

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain Region's leading resource for informal science education. A variety of engaging exhibits, activities and discussions help visitors celebrate and understand the natural wonders of Colorado, Earth and the universe. The Museum is located at 2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver, CO 80205. To learn more about the Museum, check http://www.dmns.org, or call 303-322-7009 or 1-800-925-2250.

Kaiser Permanente is the largest private health care provider in Colorado. More than 482,000 members in the Denver/Boulder and Colorado Springs areas have access to Kaiser Permanente care through an expanded suite of health care products. Kaiser Permanente physicians and care teams focus on prevention as well as managing disease, in an effort to help patients live well and thrive. Visit us online at http://www.kp.org, or get the latest in health news at our News Center.

Many of the Museum's educational programs and exhibits are made possible in

part by generous funding from the citizens of the seven-county metro area
through the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District.


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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente Colorado
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