Don’t Miss the Last Days of Raise the Roof at the Science Museum of Virginia!

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Raising the Roof!

Raise the Roof is an amazing exhibit at the Science Museum of Virginia that allows kids to experience buildings and structures in a whole new way.   They have the opportunity to build structures and manipulate the physics of architecture in a variety of displays.   Almost nothing speaks as clearly as a photograph, so we have included a bunch to give you a better idea of what you will see.

The first display is a fort-like structure where children can literally ‘Raise the Roof’ with a crank.  They watch the structures walls and roof join through the use of pulleys and ropes as the crank is turned in one direction, and watch it open back up as the crank is turned in the other direction.  This is fascinating to see from both inside and out.

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Building a Roof Truss

Other eye-catching manipulatives at the front of the exhibit help kids learn about building a roof truss and how the use of triangles creates strength.   This was a challenge for grown ups and kids alike!

Another great exhibit (and a good one to offer a few minutes of rest) is ‘And the Walls Came Tumbling Down’.  This is a video loop all about how building are brought down and destroyed by experts.  There are also  interesting displays showing the people who do this kind of work, still photos, and even a sample of the explosives (non-working of course!).

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Further back in the exhibit and another favorite was ‘Dogtastrophe’.  A computer program where you can select different options to help determine how to build a dog house to withstand different natural disasters.  Our kids were glued to this and worked at it over and over to keep the dog safe.

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‘Sounds Like a Building’ Exhibit

Our kids also enjoyed the ‘Sounds Like a Building’ echo exhibit where children can try out their voice in eight different sound environments.  Learning how sound is affected by the size, shape and materials in a space.

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Last, but not least, is a Mongolian structure called a ger (yurt), one of the oldest types of houses.  This round shape home can be transported from place to place and has very specific characteristics.  Kids can compare their own home to how a ger is designed and used.  Items for comparison include; how it is cooled, how does smoke escape, what holds it up and how is it fastened together.



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Are Tall Buildings Safer?

There are so many more amazing displays and exhibits at ‘Raise the Roof’!  In addition to all we highlighted, kids can learn:

  • How dampers work
  • How insulation helps contain heat
  • What downdrafts are
  • Whether tall buildings are safer
  • About handcrafted wooden joints
  • About simple machine

Children can even take a break and enjoy building their own structure from the wood blocks provided!

Make sure you don’t miss it – This exhibit closes April 28th!

Raise the Roof is included in Museum admission.  More information can be found at or by calling 804.864.1400.

Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA