‘Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure’ Coming to Discovery Park of America

Union City, Tenn.— “Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure” will be making its debut in Tennessee at Discovery Park of America in the museum’s ATA Temporary Exhibit Hall June 18, 2022 to Jan. 8, 2023.

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 focused on how their philosophy, art, innovation and science have shaped our world today.

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.

Authors featured 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;” and H.G. Wells, the science fiction author who wrote “The Time Machine,” “War of the Worlds” and “The Invisible Man” and who is often remembered today as the “father of science fiction.”

Along with the visionary authors, the exhibit features 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; and Jan Matzeliger, the son of a Surinamese slave, whose inventions made decent footwear accessible to the masses.

Tom Zaller, President and CEO of Imagine Exhibitions, said of the exhibition, “The steampunk movement contains so many concepts that are vital for young people to learn: engineering, artistry, innovation and collaboration to name a few. I am proud of the Imagine Exhibitions team for putting together such an engaging exhibition that ties these concepts together — using the fun and fanciful steampunk aesthetic as the central theme to inspire guests to think differently about the past, present and future.”

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 sculpture along with a variety of opportunities for hands-on learning.

“Having ‘Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure’ at Discovery Park is the perfect way to further the vision of the museum’s late founder, Robert Kirkland,” said Scott Williams, Discovery Park’s CEO. “On opening day, Robert Kirkland shared that he hoped in the future, guests would arrive for each visit with an expectation that they would experience innovation presented in a fun way. This exhibit certainly does that.”

The exhibit is also designed with school groups and teachers in mind. An educator guide composed of 16 activities is available for teachers to make a field trip to Discovery Park even more meaningful. Included are activities that cover a variety of performance standards for students in grades three through eight.  Thanks to the Kirkland Scholarship, students from all K-12 schools with 50% of the students qualifying for free or reduced lunches qualify for a scholarship that pays for 100% of the ticket price to visit Discovery Park and experience this exhibit.

“Everyone in the education department at Discovery Park is passionate about helping teachers ignite and inspire the next generation of critical thinkers, problem solvers and innovators,” said Polly Brasher, Discovery Park’s senior director of education and guest experience. “This one-of-a-kind exhibit provides an opportunity for us to do what we do best.”

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, option 6.

“Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure” is free with park admission or membership and will be at Discovery Park June 18, 2022 to Jan. 8, 2023. Visit DiscoveryParkofAmerica.com to plan your visit.