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Museum practices for energy saving

In 2008 the Education Office of Gomel Oblast Executive Committee inaugurated the Regional Energy-Saving Museum. Since then the museum has completely integrated into the educational system. The concept of a museum has appeared to be the most successful one in the process of explaining to students the basics of energy-saving. The museum contains more than 200 objects displayed in 3 rooms of 100 square meters and each one has its name and theme. Elaborated design, colour of the walls, plants, light and other details creates special atmosphere that is meant for meditation and reflection. There’s even an oval table at the end of the excursion route, which invites visitors to take a sit and discuss any issues.

“Development of Light Sources” is the name of the first room. The distant past absorbs a visitor; an image of a primitive man with a torch in his hand appears in front of the eyes. He holds the very first portable artificial light source. Everything begins right here. The simplest things, like torches, lampions and candles illustrate the long way of evolution. The collection comprises a lot of curious items: a candleholder of the famous Gomel duchess Irina Pasckevitch, a miner’s carbide lamp, a gas street lamp, a set of oil lamps, a rare copy of “Sputnik Meckhanika” (mechanic’s companion) and others. This very book was published in 1898 under the editorship of Bernulli, a representative of a notable scientist dynasty, which members headed European universities for more than 200 years. In the manual you can find norms of gas consumption in line with seasons and time. In the same room you can see an antique bureau, a piece of furniture used in prosperous houses at XIX century. It is adorned with dated chandelier and writing utensils. There are also an ABC book for schools and an elaborated edition of Alexander Benua, a famous Russian artist and art critic. Every page of the book is a masterpiece.

The museum possesses an exceptional collection of “svietsy”, a particular type of a lamp used in Polessie region. The collection consists of articles used by Belarusian peasants in 18-19 cc.

After the invention of an oil lamp the humanity needed another century and a half to invent a light bulb. “Give us Sun at night!” call us upon a poster from the beginning of 20th century, drawn by Vladimir Mayakowski for “Okna ROSTA” (a special soviet satiric poster project). It was a long way from a simple incandescent lamp to an up-to-date energy-saving light. Two demonstration lines at the first museum room give the opportunity to see the samples of lamps used in schools of Gomel region at different times. By the way an example of a solar battery can be found here.

We should take into consideration that problems of energy-saving comprise house heating as well. That’s why the museum managers decided to include into the exposition a Gerard’s Palace model, the palace itself is situated in Demianki village of Dobrush province. In this building a heating system of Ancient Rome was used and the model gives clear demonstration of how it functioned. The heat source was situated in the basement, a number of pipes beginning here run through the house and a special system of drawings-out made hot gas circulate into them. As a result it warmed floor and walls of the house.

The second museum room is named “Energy-saving is the main way of preserving earth civilization”. The normative legal documents are exhibited here: Kyoto Protocol, “Energy-saving act”, the Directive #3 “Economy and thrift are the main factors of the economic security of the state” and other documents provided for teachers’ needs. You can also find here documents that describe Gomel teachers’ experience in the sphere, study guides, plans and ideas for lessons, quiz games on the theme and other useful information on energy-saving events held by educational establishments. The students’ works on energy audit are of particular interest because Gomel students were the first in Belarus to carry out independent inspections of their schools. Among other exhibits there are prizes won by representatives of Gomel region at the “Energomarafon”, a republican contest of school economy and thrift projects. The main information on the basic hydrocarbon fuel deposits and ways of it destribution can be found in the maps “Power system of the Republic of Belarus” and “World energy supplies”.

“Alternative energy sources” is the third room. It contains works of winners of the regional contests on energy-saving. They are models of energy-saving houses, water- and windmills, floating power stations, models of devices that permit saving energy during daily activity and production. All these models are divided into special categories according to the type of energy used: wind-power, solar-power, hydropower and local fuel.

All the expositions are continually updated and are oriented to various ages. For example, this year the museum prepared a surprise for preschoolers and younger students, new friends of the museum Voltick, Amperchick, Svetick and Bepi (puppets of a man’s height) help them to learn the ABCs of energy-saving. For older visitors, high school students, university students, teachers and engineers, we can offer interesting ideas like “Recuperation of children recreation centre’s “Sidelniki” sewage”. This solution is worth notice of the recycling problem. The stands display how the systems of energy-saving function in schools that are leaders in the sphere. You can also find here an exhibition of children’s drawings who won in the first republican drawing contest on energy-saving theme held in 2000.

The museum is rapidly developing. Its exhibitions are constantly renewed with new items, the number of visitors is growing, seminars and conferences are held frequently, moreover a number of courses are functioning on constant basis. The representatives of the World Bank of Reconstruction and Development have already visited the museum two times.

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