Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition

March 26, 2012 4:53:27 AM PDT
MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition uses interactive technology and a hands-on approach to allow guests to explore the world of science using the same methods as the hosts of Discovery Channel's Emmy-nominated series, MythBusters.

In the exhibit's world premiere at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, you'll immerse yourself in the MythBusters world from the beginning, entering through a giant corrugated shipping container vestibule in the trademark MythBusters colors: yellow and black. Caution tape, blueprints and files-along with real remnants from experiments on the show-accent the exhibit design. If you look above, you'll see the tail of an airplane-used to bust the online myth that a plane could be shredded with a chainsaw-emerging from one of the Museum's columns. Yes, it's confirmed: The MythBusters have been here.

The Blueprint Room
Decked out to look like the real-life operations room of the MythBusters' iconic set, this first gallery room acts as an "introduction to MythBusting" and showcases more than 60 artifacts salvaged from more than 700 experiments conducted on the series, hand-picked by the MythBusters themselves.

Fans will recognize the 20-foot mechanical shark used in a variety of MythBusting sessions; the jet pack; Jamie's tornado shelter; the "buried alive" coffin; the arrow machine gun; and of course, Buster, the MythBusters' infamous stunt dummy. Among these iconic items, a blueprint book lets you flip through the diagrams of some of the most exciting experiments featured on the show. To make your introduction complete, co-hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman appear via video to give you your first lessons in their brand of experimentation, using the ever-important scientific method, which includes observation, investigation, experimentation, and a final conclusion of "busted," "plausible" or "confirmed."

As you leave, you'll be prepped for the in-depth fun and experimentation that will follow.

The Workshop
Next up is The Workshop, where the action happens! Here, you'll engage in real hands-on experiments with real results. Test over a dozen topics expanding upon the myths seen on MythBusters, with a few never-before-seen myths saved specifically for the exhibition.

The Workshop is a free-flowing space, allowing you to choose what to do and when. Each experiment is dependent upon you to ask a question and to find the best way to answer it. Introductory videos for the major experiments, featuring the MythBusters, will help you along the way. And after the major myths, "Warning: Science Content" videos starring co-hosts Tory, Kari and Grant, will provide a more extensive look at the science behind your experiments.

Some of the major myths you'll get to test include:
Airplane on a Conveyor Belt: This is considered the most hotly contested myth on MythBusters: An airplane cannot take off in one direction while it's on a conveyer belt that is moving in the opposite direction at the same speed. The MythBusters had to repeat this experiment to silence their critics. Now, it's your turn to put this myth to the test with a circular conveyer belt and remote-controlled airplane. Adjust your belt speed to match the speed of the propellers and see what happens. You can also test how a moving car is affected on the same moving surface. The results may surprise you!

Butter Side Up: Does it always seem that a dropped piece of toast lands butter side down, voiding the "five-second rule" and making a mess? Is that just an "old toast tale" or is there something more to it? Put some foam toast, designed to replicate the weight and density of real toast, to the test. Drop it from a countertop of various heights, slap it off the table with rotating mechanical hands or eject it from a toaster to the ground below. Will it land butter side up or butter side down?

Big Bad Wolf: Growing up, the "Three Little Pigs" fairy tale told us that the Big Bad Wolf was incapable of blowing down a house made of bricks. Well, this experiment lets you see how bricks really stack up. Build your own miniature house with materials of three varying densities, which represent straw, wood and brick. Then put your structure to the test using the MythBusters' version of the wolf-a chamber with an air cannon that packs a pretty mean "huff and puff."

Running in the Rain: We've all been there: stuck in a rainstorm without an umbrella and the urge to make a run for it. Well, will running really keep you drier? Here's your chance to find out. You and a partner move through a 20-foot shed, in which it's actually raining. One of you walks, the other runs. When you come out the other side, you'll be able to compare degrees of dampness. To spot all those raindrops in true MythBusters' fashion, you'll have a blacklight, a fluorescence microscopy filter and the help of the exhibit's special rain recipe, which allows the water to glow, making it easier to determine how wet you are.

After testing the major myths, the science doesn't stop! Further investigation will be needed on these additional myths:

Blind Driving: Match up with a partner in this video arcade-style experiment. One person drives while the other person navigates. The trick is, only the navigator can see the course. Is it possible to talk your "blind" driver through a city course safely? You'll have two minutes to find out.

Killer Card Toss: Can an ordinary playing card really be used as a dangerous weapon? In this interactive experience, you'll attempt to throw a card with accuracy and force, trying to get it to stick in a foam target. A radar gun will track your card's speed.

Change Like a Superhero: Clark Kent always disappeared into phone booths and emerged in seconds as Superman just in time to get the bad guy. Is this quick change a myth? Try to put on a cape, boots, gloves and all your superhero gear in the confines of a phone booth to discover how fast you can suit up!

Cliff Hanger: How would you stack up against an action hero or stunt man? The Cliff Hanger interactive lets you find out. Hang from a ledge by your fingers and see how long you last. A timer will kick in with the pressure from your body, and you can even test how a change in the depth of the cliff alters your results.

Tablecloth Chaos: What will happen when you try to pull a tablecloth off a fully set table? Find out by setting your table with our non-breakable dishes. Then, using Newton's first law of motion, find the correct angle and speed to pull your tablecloth from under the place setting-without disturbing a dish.

Dodge a Bullet: Police dramas make it look easy, but is it possible? You'll test your reaction time in this experiment. Stand against the wall until the motion sensor recognizes your presence. At an unexpected time, a strobe light will "fire" and time how quickly you're able to move out of its path.

Phone Book Swing: Test the strength of interlaced phone books as you take a seat on this swing. On one episode of MythBusters, the phone books withstood 8,000 pounds of force due to the friction between the pages!

Live Demonstration Stage: Now that your individual experimentation is complete, you have the opportunity to be a part of a high-energy group MythBusting session. This 10-minute, live demonstration allows for a dynamic and fun deep-dive into the scientific method to explore some of the myths associated with human reaction time and momentum. Don't be surprised if you are asked to test your reaction time with a handbuzzer or even against a paintball gun. (Yes, we supply the protective gear). Or you may be involved in a collision or two, measuring the force of two moving vehicles colliding, versus one vehicle crashing into a wall.

Continue Your Experience at Home: Once you have finished your exploration into experimentation, you can also continue to use your advanced MythBusting skills online at, where you can find more myths to test and additional background information on the science behind them.

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago's premiere of MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition is presented by Allstate Insurance Company with media sponsor XFINITY. MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition was created by Discovery Communications and Exhibits Development Group (EDG), in partnership with the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago (MSI) and Geoffrey M. Curley + Associates (GMC+A). MythBusters, the series, is developed and produced by Beyond Entertainment Limited.

MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition
The Museum of Science and Industry
57th Street and Lake Shore Drive
(773) 947-6003