The Speed Art Museum

Hello! This is Turtle and Moose reporting almost live at the Speed Art Museum. We were at the 2016 public opening of the Speed today. After more than 3 years of endless waiting (only mitigated by trips to the Local Speed) it’s finally here! The opening was 10 AM Saturday and the party ends at 4 PM Sunday. They say its 30 hours but we think its 29 because of Daylight Savings Time.

First we went to new and improved Art Sparks. At one table we made paper quilt squares. All you did was get one large piece of paper and glue smaller squares or triangles on top of it. It looked very cool and you could make very intricate designs. Then you could add your quilt block to the community quilt on the wall in the next room. Next up was making postcards. It was very simple but fun. You drew your design on the postcard, stuck it in an envelope and you could mail it to whomever you like. They had stencils of the new Speed Art Museum logo to put on the cards too. After that was making music with fruits. It worked because when you put a computer, a fruit, and wires together you got an almost complete circuit. If you put your hand on one of the wires and touched a fruit you got a complete circuit – or citrus depending on your fruit (pun VERY intended). With a complete circuit you got music. There was an area of Art Sparks devoted to art with light. It was very cool. You could go inside a special room and project your image or you could draw using a light pen. There was a lot more in that room but it would take up about 125.7 pages of awesome.

Now it is time for the rest of this giant building and its artwork. There was a bridge that you could see through and a cool stairway. There were 3 elevators in neon green, neon blue and hot pink. The freight elevator was bright yellow. Some of our favorite pieces were a giant 3D sculpture made of cubes. The center cube had a volume of 125 cubes. The cubes got smaller outward in 4 directions until they all reached a volume of 1 cube. There was a giant piece of cloth draped across half the room. Also there was a canvas with weird glass that made cool shadows and it stuck out. There was a Volkswagen Beetle made out of cloth that looked really cool. There was a yellow bowl that if you looked at from the forward view it was a circle but if you look at it from an angle you can tell it’s a bowl.

We saw a piano performance by Rachel Grimes who is a pianist and a composer. Then we saw Kentucky Shakespeare do a two-player performance of Romeo and Juliet. In addition to a great play we learned about better ways to resolve conflict than fighting. The audience was able to join in as extra characters. Then we did a STEAM project with the Louisville Free Public Library where you made a doodlebug – a thing that draws random lines. You made it by using a motor, a battery, and a cork to make the moving part then you added markers and a paper cup to make the body then you attached them with tape so you could now draw with it. So that was our trip to the Speed Museum and the opening party will still be open until 4 PM March 13.

We saw many famous people there like Mayor Abramson, Mayor Fisher, JCPS Superintendent Hargens, and the Louisville Orchestra conductor Teddy Abrams. We also saw great people from the Speed and friends from school! It was great to see so many people out supporting the arts and it was even better to have the Speed Museum back open again!

Moose and Turtle


Speed Engineering Expo

Hi, it’s Moose and Turtle again and we know we have not made a blog in a while but we’re back. We went to the Speed Engineering Expo at the University of Louisville and saw many cool things.

We loved the interactive exhibits. We met someone who made shoe padding that tracks the wearer’s steps and tracks what part of the shoe is used the most. That would be great for improving one’s stride if the wrong part of the shoe is wearing too fast. He made it in a hack-a-thon. Another thing we saw was the Baja racing car which was the fastest car entered in the competition. It went 45 miles per hour with a really small engine because it was so light. The transmission was made of 3-D printed plastic. They made the car completely on their own. If all cars were made with more plastic instead of metal, they would use less gas and that would be great for the environment. The Biomedical Engineering Society had a stand where we took the DNA out of strawberries. We have a couple of ideas on what to use it for, perhaps a mutant strawberry or an orangeberry? Next was an exhibit by the Society of Women Engineers. Basically it works by putting black paper in clear nail polish and water. It makes rainbow colors on the paper. It works because the nail polish is too thick for light to travel through but with water in it, light can. When you put the paper in a bit of polish comes off and makes a rainbow prism. The next activity was from the Triangle Fraternity and Phi Sigma Rho. They helped us make catapults. All that is needed is 6 craft sticks, 3 rubber bands, and a spoon. We launched mini-marshmallows with them.

Next we did three projects with the Kentucky Science Center. The first was a cup that was so small water would not fall out of it. The surface tension of the water overcame gravity. The second project was examining hydrophobic sand. If you put water on hydrophobic sand it all groups together and the sand does not get wet. Regular sand just absorbs the water and makes clumps. The final one was a vacuum that made shaving cream expand when the air was taken out and then when the air was let back in the shaving cream blew all over the container. We think it was great that the Science Center came out to the Engineering Expo for science!

We played around with obleck, a “fluid” made of equal parts of water and cornstarch. It is a non-Newtonian fluid which is something that is both a solid and a liquid. If you hit it, it is solid but if you just hold it in your hand it will ooze though your fingers because it is a liquid. The American Institute of Chemical Engineers students who showed us the obleck are looking at the possibility of making bullet-proof vests out of non-Newtonian fluid. Then we read a research poster about using Twitter to track the areas where people are sick from the flu. The project used a program that searched for key words like “flu” and “sick” on Twitter and what area the words were sent from. The research showed that Twitter could find outbreaks of the flu 2-3 weeks before the CDC and with up to 98% accuracy. We think this is great because then people in the “flu” area can be more careful to not get the flu. Next was condensed grape juice using a distillation column. It works by boiling the juice which takes out the water. That’s how you make very strong grape juice. The water that the process makes is also more pure than when it started so it would be good for cleaning water. It also can be used to make different fuels out of crude oil.

Next up is the bridge contest. In this contest, engineering students put wooden bridges that kids had made in a machine that put pressure on the bridges until they broke. The bridge that holds the most pressure wins. We think this can be used to find new kinds of strong bridges or make sure a creative bridge won’t crack under the pressure. Next was making balloon-powered cars. We made platforms and taped two straws to the bottom, slid wooden sticks into the straws and put a wooden wheel on each end of the stick. On the top Turtle taped a straw going across the platform long ways and attached a balloon to the end so he could blow through the straw and set it down and watch it go. Moose used a cup to hold the balloon up higher and he blew his balloon up and let his car go too. Turtle’s record was 13 ft. 7 in. and Moose’s was 7 ft. 11 in. River City Rocketry had a rocket-building project. We made rockets out of paper by cutting out a cone, body, and fins. Then we got to fire them out of an air propelled cannon. We found out that you have to be really careful to make sure none of the air gets out of the side of the rocket or it will blow up.

This was a really cool event and we hope you come next year. It was great that so many engineering students took a Saturday to teach kids about engineering. They showed us many things and helped us build neat stuff. We learned a lot and it was a lot of fun!

Turtle and Moose