Before I walked out of the door, I was asked to pen down my observation in the visitors’ book. I wrote "This museum is an oasis of knowledge." Hopefully, whoever keeps records of what visitors write in that book was able to read my awful handwriting. It is so bad that I can barely read my own notes.
This was my third visit to the Museum of Environment located in Karongi District, Western Province of Rwanda. The first time I toured the said museum, I drowned in a sea of information. Maybe I should have written, "This museum is a sea of information."
My first visit took place in October 2020. On that day, I tried to study everything exhibited on the walls and failed miserably. At the end of the tour, I had come to terms with the fact that one session isn’t enough to gulp a whole sea of information.
When I returned a couple of weeks later, I chose only a handful of topics — the solar system, the Bing Bang theory and the mystery of the continental drift. Museums have a way of instilling fun into learning. The fusion of tourism and education is magical.
This time around, I chose to learn something about energy. I found out that energy is never lost. However, it can be converted from one form to another. Different forms of energy include kinetic, chemical, electrical, mechanical, thermal and nuclear, to name but a few.
To demonstrate how one form of energy can be converted into another, I was instructed by my tour guide to ride a stationary bicycle fitted with a dynamo and an electric bulb. Have you ever wondered what powers the bulb of a battery-less bicycle? Have you ever noticed that the faster you pedal, the brighter the lighting?
Energy conversion, electromagnetic induction and generation of electricity may sound deeply technical and difficult to comprehend but, as I always say, museums have a way of simplifying complexity. I walked out of the door with a clear picture of how some things work. Most importantly, the experiment made me eager to learn more.
The Museum of Environment is the right place to learn fascinating geographical facts, energy, natural resources and medicinal plants. I have been there thrice but I haven’t even scratched the surface yet.
The author is an adventurer on a tour of all 30 districts and 416 sectors of Rwanda. Follow his awe-inspiring journey on Twitter @GeoExposure.