The Biosphere is a science museum mainly dedicated to the environment. It is located at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Saint Helen’s Island in Montreal. It also represents the former pavilion of the United States for the World Fair: Expo 67. The Biosphere is often mistaken with the Biodome which is an entire different museum devoted to natural science.
On the 28th of May 2017, it was Montreal Museums Day, a popular cultural event. Forty of the city’s museums proposed free admission over the course of the day. Free shuttle buses traveling between museums were also available to the public from 9 am to 4 pm. That Sunday, Romain and I could explore the city and we chose to visit the Biosphere free of charge.
Our visit started with Planet MTL, a three-dimensional interactive 360° fresco which immersed us in the heart of the nature. We could than discover the major environment challenges the planet faces every day.
We continued our visit with experimentations in the lab. We tried to help researchers with issues such as acid rain, filtration of turbid water or volatile organic compounds.
“Tic-Tac-Tox” opened our eyes on water pollution and air pollution within our own homes. We also had an opportunity to evaluate atmospheric pollution data gathered in the Montreal region.
Romain and I could, furthermore, analyze insects and fish species found in Quebec with a magnifying glass.
After that, we headed to the Biosphere indoor garden, a conservation area for plants. We learned more about ponds, peat bogs and mixed-wood forests, for a better understanding of these three ecosystems and their biodiversity. The plants in the garden were all indigenous to North America, and some of them are threatened in Quebec. The garden tour promoted awareness about the importance of conserving various natural ecosystems.
We all know that rain or sunshine, the weather influences our daily life and even our mood… “This Is Not an Umbrella: Science and Art of Weather” was a captivating exhibition. The science of weather and the challenges the forecasters go through, were extensively explained. At a time when the Earth is undergoing extreme weather events, meteorological science is an major key for understanding the present and preparing wisely for the future.
What will happen if temperatures rise by 1°C? This next exhibition answered common questions about one of the 21st century’s big issues: climate change. The “Magic Planet” is a unique interactive digital Earth globe in Quebec. It was the centrepiece of one of the exhibition’s room. Through satellite imagery, this globe allowed us to observe natural and climatic phenomena such as ocean currents and hurricanes.
At the end of this exhibition, we were introduced to several citizens across Canada who have found creative ways to tackle climate change. Overall, we understood what a huge difference +1°C makes!
Our next stop was at the “Renewable Energy: Time to Decide” exhibit. We discovered the technologies behind today’s renewable energies, as well as how they are implemented at a global level. Is it possible to have a world working 100% on renewable energy by 2050? Many renewable energy technologies could be developed as clever alternatives like: Wind turbines, wave energy, hydroelectric dams, tidal energy, geothermics, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy technologies and plant biomass systems. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources is one of the world’s great concern.
The Biosphere is not only a museum but also a brilliant work of architecture with its geodesic dome shape. The building originally formed an enclosed structure of steel and acrylic cells, measuring 76 metres in diameter and 62 metres high. The dome is a Class 1, Frequency 16 Icosahedron. A complex system of shades was used to control its internal temperature. The sun-shading system was an attempt by the architect to reflect the same biological processes that the human body relies on to maintain its internal temperature (Informations from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia).
The interior exhibition space was designed by architects from Golden Metak Productions. The building included staircases and lifts so Romain and I could access four themed platforms divided into seven levels.
My husband and I warmly recommend this museum for its scientific approach of the climate and the environment!