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GALLERY: Energy Discovery Center Opens in Old Power Plant

An ambitious new museum opened its doors in the building of a former power station, offering more than 130 interactive exhibits, mainly focusing on natural sciences and technology.

The exhibition of the Energy Discovery Center sprawls on 3,000 square meters in a 101-year-old industrial building in northern Tallinn, just outside the Old Town. 

Hands-on exhibits include a human kaleidoscope mechanism and a special exhibit that lets you feel the roll of thunder. Other sections are dedicated to renewable energy, nuclear energy, and electricity. It also includes early experiments by Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, who invented the battery, said Kertu Saks, the museum’s director, told ETV.

The project was designed by Kaos Architects and funded by Enterprise Estonia and the national energy company Eesti Energia, with a total price tag of 3.7 million euros.

Margit Argus of Kaos Architects told ERR News that the central idea of the design was to give maximum exposure to the old industrial building at Põhja 29 and its original interiors; the exhibition is built around old generators. They are now llisted as Estonian heritage items, along with the building itself.

The team of architects, which included Margit Argus, Margit Aule, Sander Aas and Pelle-Sten Viiburg, were inspired by old photographs of the building in the 1920s which displayed the turbine hall in its black-and-white glory. The current exhibition forms a conceptual whole of black machinery, with exhibits centered around the old turbines, with the white walls surrounding it all at a distance.

The building was constructed in 1912 and the first electricity consumer was connected to the network in 1913. The building underwent several modifications and was damaged in the World War II, but was restored by 1948. It produced energy until 1979 and housed a small energy museum from 1993-98.

The museum has seven permanent exhibitions on energy, classical physics, sound, optics and other subjects. The star exhibit is a “lightning machine” or the Tesla Transformer in a Faraday cage, unique in Europe, which can create lightning, demonstrating the technology used today in microwave ovens.

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