The Mummy's Tomb
Central Concept: Conservation and Transformation of Energy
Central Character: The Mummy (as played by Boris Karloff)

The final section of the exhibit is the Mummy's Tomb. An aficionado of insulation, the Mummy is the perfect host for presenting energy-saving information that visitors can utilize in their own lives and homes.
Here in the tomb - where one expects the physical to be converted to the spiritual - the concept of the transfer of energy from one form to another is explored. Visitors try their hand at adding to a Rube Goldberg-type kinetic transfer machine which dominates the room and incorporates a ball-fall device triggering multiple energy transfer activities, sights and sounds.

As visitors exit this area, a life-size, moving Frankenstein monster model is triggered by a motion sensor so that thunder and lightning crackle as the monster's eyes stare back at usually startled visitors.

Scenic Elements

  • Standing figure of Mummy in sarcophagus (Boris Karloff)
  • Faux limestone/plaster entrance way with profile bas relief and broken foot/nose
  • Hieroglyphic wall panels and black filler panels
  • Six-foot Egyptian statue housing interactive computer station
  • Twin lions flanking central broken arch
  • Wrapped cardboard columns with Hieroglyphic pattern
  • Panels with photo images of bas relief of full-length Egyptian figures

Exhibition Components

  • Bicycle Generator
  • Pneumatic Rocket
  • Magnetic Pendulums
  • Building a Better Pyramid
  • Kinetic Transfer Machine
  • Solar Energy
  • Electricity Table
  • Multimedia Computer Station


Bicycle Generator
Visitors pedal a stationary bicycle to run a fan, light a light bulb or power a 14-amp DC motor. An amp meter indicates how much current the visitor is generating as he or she pedals, with certain devices requiring harder pedaling to make them work. The concepts of energy conversion - chemical to mechanical to electrical - are explored in this bike ride.

Pneumatic Rocket
This exhibit demonstrates storing potential energy and converting it to kinetic energy by inviting visitors to power a rocket. Visitors pump a lever to create compressed air. Then they release the air in the form of an air blast, which shoots the rocket from its resting state to the ceiling, if enough energy was stored.

Magnetic Pendulum
Visitors swing one of two pendulums back and forth and notice that the other pendulum starts to swing also. When a wire coil moves through the field, it generates an electric current. This current moves through the wires to the seond coil, generating a new magnetic field. That field interacts with the field of the magnet, alternately attracting and repulsing, causing the pendulum to swing. The meter shows the voltage across the coil changing as the pendulum changes direction. A switch enables visitors to change how the coils are connected, so they see that it is electromagnetism that makes the coils swing, not vibration carried by the bar connecting them. This concept is then brought "home" for visitors as text and graphics explain: Electricity and magnetism are closely interrelated, and we use this relationship to generate the electricity we use in our homes. Steam created by the heat of a nuclear or fossil fuel power plant drives turbines, moving coils of wire through magnetic fields, creating electricity.

Building a Better Pyramid
This exhibit explores energy in hot and cool weather and relates this information to improving energy efficiency in the home. A metal pyramid with the heat source inside has four metal walls insulated with different materials-plexiglass, wood, styrofoam and metal alone. Visitors place their hands on each of the different walls. Some walls are hot and some are cool to the touch, showing how heat transfers through conductors or does not travel through other materials which act as insulators. With the pyramid representing a home with perhaps the furnace on inside, visitors discover that wood is good insulator and not a conductor, for example, and therefore a good material for building homes. As the exhibit confirms, insulated wood is even better.

Kinetic Transfer Machine
Visitors set up their own energy chain in this large, colorful machine. They watch the ball move from ground level to the top of the machine through the conversion of chemical to potential energy, kinetic energy, sound energy and heat. Forms of energy are demonstrated through sight and sound as visitors become engaged watching the balls move through the energy chain. (It ends with a bang!)

Solar Energy
Visitors witness the conversion of solar energy into electrical and mechanical energy by activating a light bulb, representing the sun, which feeds solar cells which power an attached motor.

Jacob's Ladder
Museum goers step beneath a motion detector and watch the electric discharge between two steel rods rise and then extinguish. The electric arc is the same as that used in very bright lights, such as florescent tubes and arc-lamp spotlights.

Mummy's Tomb Multimedia Computer Station
This interactive computer program, housed in a six-foot faux Egyptian statue, reinforces the concepts explored in the Mummy's Tomb through lively multimedia lessons and quizzes. The concepts include:

  • Energy manifests itself in many forms. Mechanical (potential and kinetic), chemical, electrical, magnetic, nuclear and radiant energy are all different forms.
  • Energy can be transformed from one form to another.
  • In a closed system, the total amount of energy is always the same.
  • Energy conversions are never 100% efficient. Some energy is lost in the form of heat, making some of it unavailable for further useful work.
  • Matter can be converted to energy. Enormous amounts of energy can be involved in this conversion process.
  • When energy is transformed from one object to another, or when one kind of energy changes to another, work and/or heat are involved.