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Ithra Energy Exhibit - Inspiring Saudi Youth Through STEAM Education

Ithra Energy Exhibit - science museum at the King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture

The Energy Exhibit, located within the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) complex, provides a hands-on, immersive experience exploring the world of petroleum - its sciences, energy and technology. The fully renovated science centre, aimed at youth ages 7-14, brings to life Saudi Aramco’s work – from exploration, drilling and production, to refining and shipping. A variety of state-of-the-art exhibits, theaters, and programs educate visitors on the oil and energy industry in an engaging manner, with an overarching goal of inspiring young Saudis to consider careers in energy science.

Saudi Aramco tasked JRA with reinvigorating the thirty-year-old, 2,700-square-meter museum into a 21st Century entertainment destination. Working very closely with the Saudi Aramco Project Management Team, JRA provided overall planning, design development and project management for the Energy Exhibit, leading an international team of architects, engineers, AV specialists, media developers, and scenic artists. The resulting science centre delivers a sleek, technology-rich experience around a central theme of energy – its potential, the need to maximize it, and the choices involved in doing so.

Guests follow the entire process of petroleum production from ground to gas tank: beginning with geology and oil traps, proceeding through drilling and extraction, and concluding with refining, distribution and transportation. Visitors also learn about energy conservation, alternative energies and the human energy it takes to harness petroleum, natural gas and other energy sources.

Highlights of the renovation include:

  • Command Center – Guests are immersed in the Command Center, the “brains” of Saudi Aramco. No longer merely visitors, they are now interactive participants tasked with ensuring that the world continues to receive the oil it needs. Via a series of touchscreen workstations and digital map boards, guests work together to overcome one of three challenging scenarios. Armed with scientific information on their situation, they must vote for a solution – but will it be the right one? Surprises are in store to keep them on their toes!
  • Dynamic Planet – Saudi Arabia is rich in petroleum because of a distinct set of geologic circumstances. This three-dimensional projection globe, programmed with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Science on a Sphere software and seemingly suspended in mid-air, simulates the movement of tectonic plates through geologic time.
  • Advanced Technologies – Visitors design their own resbots (nanoparticles), inject them into a petroleum reservoir, and chart their progress to see whose ‘bots will reach the finish line, and whose will hit a dead end.
  • My Petrochemical Life – Ever wondered which everyday products are made from petroleum? Guests encounter cases filled with products. Selecting an object with a video screen, they capture an airport scanner-like outline, which demonstrates what part of that object is made from petrochemicals.
  • Terrascope –This immersive 360˚multimedia experience, housed in a richly themed environmental theatre, takes visitors on a “ride” through the rock as if they were on the tip of a drill bit. As they journey into the borehole, they must use scientific data to overcome a series of obstacles and successfully discover new petroleum reserves.
  • Distribution – By manipulating a valve to control a stylized scenic petroleum pipeline, guests activate a series of media programs, illustrating the separation of crude oil into natural gas and petrochemicals.
  • Alternative Energy Research – Tabletop experiments and touch screen media programs demonstrate the functions, opportunities and drawbacks of wind, solar, water, nuclear and fossil fuel energies.
  • Energy to the Kingdom – It’s time for visitors to put their energy science knowledge to the test in a game show reminiscent of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Contestants face each other on timed questions regarding topics such as petroleum recovery, geology and alternative energies, battling it out for ultimate science knowledge domination.
  • Youth Club – Young people can enjoy a space just for them, in this lounge environment filled with interactive touch tables programmed with the games they’ve encountered throughout the Energy Exhibit.

In addition to raising awareness about global energy initiatives, opportunities and challenges, the Energy Exhibit seeks to illustrate the stories of human perseverance, stamina and commitment that are inherent in both Saudi Aramco and the people of Saudi Arabia. The Ithra Energy Exhibit also hopes to create enduring relationships with Saudi youth through programs and activities that feed and support their interests in science and technology. Youth leave the Energy Exhibit empowered to make an impact on the planet’s energy future and on their future science careers.

Tags

  • science centre
  • science
  • STEAM
  • energy science
  • petroleum
  • Ithra
  • Saudi Aramco
  • alternative energy
  • Saudi Arabia
  • science museum

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JRA

Named by The Wall Street Journal as “one of the world’s more prominent design firms,” JRA plans, designs and delivers award-winning science centres, museums, children’s museums and visitor centres. Our studio has worked on a global scale since our incorporation in 1987 and engages, informs and entertains diverse audiences on six of our world’s seven continents.