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“Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure”

Jun 18th, 2022 - Jan 8th, 2023

Making its Tennessee debut June 18, 2022 to Jan. 8, 2023, “Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure” includes a series of immersive galleries featuring one-of-a-kind, hands-on interactive steampunk sculptures.

The exhibit, created by Imagine Exhibitions, Inc. in partnership with The Franklin Institute, features eight galleries, each inspired by different visionaries from the Victorian Age and focuses on how their philosophy, art, innovation and science have shaped our world today.

Climb aboard HG Wells’ time machine and travel back in history to discover the beginnings of modern science, art and technology through the stories of 19th century visionaries who dreamed of a better future—our present. This Victorian era-style exhibition invites guests to learn about electricity with Mary Shelly, deep ocean discovery with Jules Verne, the dawn of home photography with George Eastman, and many more.

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction inspired by the Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style and art, along with a celebration of 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. The exhibit uses steampunk to provide a fun opportunity for children and adults to experience the humanities, science, technology, engineering, art and math. It includes robotics, photography, automation and sculptures along with a variety of opportunities for hands-on learning.

The visionary authors featured in “Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure” are:

  • Mary Shelley, the English novelist who wrote the Gothic novel “Frankenstein”
  • Jules Verne, the French novelist, poet and playwright who wrote bestselling adventure novels including “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas” and “Around the World in Eighty Days”
  • H.G. Wells, the science fiction author who wrote “The Time Machine,” “War of the Worlds” and the “The Invisible Man” and who is often remembered today as the “father of science fiction”

Joining them are four influential Victorian-era inventors:

  • Isaac Singer, who developed the sewing machine
  • Thomas Blanchard, who worked on automation and the first automobiles
  • George Eastman, who helped popularize photography
  • Jan Matzeliger, the son of a Surinamese slave, whose inventions made decent footwear accessible to the masses

Educators can download a free Educator Guide here. Education scholarships are available here.

Teachers and administrators wishing to book a school group should download Discovery Park’s Student Group Planning Guide, e-mail reservations@discoveryparkofamerica.com or call reservations at 731-885-5455.

“Discover Steampunk” is funded in part by a grant from the Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.