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New MOSH exhibits dazzle and connect Jacksonville to its past

Want to play with your shadow like Peter Pan? Trapeze and contort your body through lasers like a spy? Well you'll enjoy half of an upcoming double feature from Jacksonville's Museum of Science and History that arrives for the public on Sunday.

The "Playing With Lights" exhibit offers an interactive educational and entertaining experience across the spectrum of visible and invisible light filled with activities for children and families.

Through 21 stations and over 20,000 LED lights, the temporary installation, which runs from Jan. 30 to April 24, will dazzle and explain the world radiation around us.

It's not the only spectacle arriving to MOSH. History buffs and curious minds regarding the River City can visit the shifting "Bold City Bicentennial" exhibit throughout the year. Running from Sunday through Jan. 23 of 2023, the exhibit celebrates 200 years since Jacksonville's founding with somber lessons from the past, to explain how we got here and where we're going.

The exhibit will feature changes every three to four months, including an interactive timeline, new archival objects, vintage photographs and newsreel footage.

Alec Warren, Education Manager at MOSH, shows off part of the new Bicentennial exhibit.
Raymon Troncoso
Alec Warren, education manager at MOSH, shows off part of the new Bicentennial exhibit.

One section of the exhibit currently tells the story of the 1888 Yellow Fever epidemic that toppled Jacksonville's economy. Preserved immunity cards, documents that allowed residents to enter businesses, leave quarantine and travel around the city during the outbreak, are on display.

The parallels to today's COVID-19 pandemic are obvious and intentional, showing a time before vaccines when the only way to get an immunity card to bypass government lockdown was to catch the disease — and survive it.

Members of MOSH will get a special preview of both exhibits Saturday, from 4 to 6 p.m., a new tradition the museum is starting for all new installations and collections that arrive. The general public can enjoy both as well starting Sunday.

Reporter Raymon Troncoso joined WJCT News in June of 2021 after concluding his fellowship with Report For America, where he was embedded with Capitol News Illinois covering Illinois state government with a focus on policy and equity. You can reach him at (904) 358-6319 or and follow him on Twitter @RayTroncoso.