Nature of Aging
The Nature of Aging project presents the biology of senescence to families and K-12 students through interactive exhibits and museum experiences. Senescence is perhaps the most complex and least understood biological process, yet it is also a universal experience marked by signs we all recognize. Aging has great relevance in the twenty-first century as medical advances and demographic shifts accelerate the growth of our elder population, and scientific research narrows in on the central mysteries of the aging process. In partnership with the Center for Healthy Aging at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and national experts in gerontology research and education, the Nature of Aging project has produced a 2,500-square-foot permanent exhibition, Amazing Feats of Aging, which opened in OMSI-s Life Science Hall in May 2003. A duplicate 2,500 traveling exhibition was also produced and began its national tour in June 2004. The proposed eight-year tour to an average of three venues per year is funded by exhibition rental fees and significantly extends the life and audience of the project. Visitors to the Amazing Feats of Aging exhibition explore comparative aging across the animal kingdom, healthy aging, and the aging of the brain. The exhibition is intended for a family audience, and activities are designed to foster intergenerational interaction. The exhibit experience is enriched by a series of educational materials and programs including a teachers- guide, an interactive website, demonstrations, and activities in OMSI-s Life Science Lab. The Amazing Feats of Aging exhibition was made possible by the contribution of expertise, photographs, video footage, software, prepared slides and specimens from scientists and researchers across the country, including: Aging Concerns, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, OHSU, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Institute on Aging, Oregon Zoo, Portland State University, University ofCalifornia, San Francisco, University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Idaho, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Virginia, and Washington State University.