From an anthropological point of view, carnival is a reversal ritual, in which social roles are reversed and norms about desired behavior are suspended, but cannot interrupt my never-ending quest to combine entertainment and learning.
An interesting upcoming event is the science carnival organized by the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia (April 20 – 28, 2019), a super-charged, super-fun celebration of science! This FREE event is unlike any other—with dynamic demonstrations, engaging experiments, geeky games,… (see program at https://www.fi.edu/psf/programs/festival-at-a-Glance).
Founded in 1824, the Franklin Institute is one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States. I have been coming to the Franklin Institute my entire life. I’ve been to other Science Museums around the country and the Franklin Institute continues to be right there with the best in the country. They always give you something new worth coming back to see. A traveling exhibit is always there, which as of this writing in February of 2019 is “Vikings: Beyond the Legend”. I enjoyed this exhibit, which contains over 600 artifacts and a few educational videos about the Vikings. There is even a recreated Viking ship. My all-time favorite traveling exhibit is the King Tut exhibit.
Continuous attractions at the Franklin Institute include the giant heart (you get to walk through the inside of a giant heart), Maillardet’s automaton, the Foucault pendulum, the observatory, the planetarium, and the IMAX theater. The IMAX theater is one of the early IMAX theaters and it still shows IMAX movies on film, never digital. The theater also shows 70mm films. You can see both educational films and Hollywood films that they can actually get on film. Right inside the entrance to the museum is Philly’s best Benjamin Franklin Statue.
Science can be fun and carnival allows also scientists to break free from their customary role patterns and to be creative in an entertaining way.
This concept has been spreading all over the World, as the banner of an ongoing carnival and science festival in Trinidad and Tobago shows; an inspiring mixture of fun, history, science and art.