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An Engineer’s Wonderland: A Nostalgic Return to Visvesvaraya Museum

September 15 is Engineer's Day! Deepa Perumal, an Engineer writes about the field of Engineering and about her visit to the Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technological Museum in Bengaluru.

It’s Engineers’ Day today! Memories of my early Engineering days come rushing back. Carrying a lengthy T-Square on public transport, amidst curious glances, was a gratifying experience for me as an Engineering student. I enjoyed crafting intricate technical drawings using diverse scales and equipment; learning isometric projections, dimensioning, and sectional views added to the fun. Scoring 96% in “Engineering Graphics” topped my college achievements.

Forging an Engineer’s Path: From Workshops to Dreams

As a first-year student, the most challenging course was Workshop Practice. From smithy work to foundry tasks and carpentry, we delved into hands-on experiences. Smithy sessions revealed the art of melting metal, pouring it and hammering it into shape. It demanded immense physical strength that the 17-year-old me was still cultivating. In foundry tasks, we had to make sand-cement mixtures, packing and moulding them in meticulous processes. Carpentry honed our precision skills through wood chiselling. I am proud of the T-shaped structure I crafted from two wood pieces, that seamlessly fit into each other’s grooves. These experiences taught us precision, patience, and resilience – vital attributes for any engineer. Because,

Engineering is more than theory; it’s the translation of ideas into reality.

Rediscovering Wonder: A Journey to a Museum

Among these memories, a cherished one recently resurfaced – an opportunity to revisit the Visvesvaraya Industrial & Technological Museum in Bengaluru. Two decades ago, when I embarked on my first journey here as part of an Industrial Visit during my Engineering days, it ignited a spark within me. This time, I had a youthful companion: my science-loving teenager, eager to explore the wonderland her mother had raved about.

Nestled in the heart of the city, the museum is a homage to the Engineering titan Bharat Ratna Sir M. Visvesvaraya. He served as the 19th Dewan of Mysore and an influential civil engineer during the British era. Engineers’ Day, annually celebrated on September 15th, commemorates his birth anniversary and celebrates his Engineering legacy. The idea of the museum was conceived by journalist and nationalist Mr. B N Guptha in 1958. Inaugurated on July 14, 1962, by the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, its mission is to kindle public engagement with science. From 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., a world of innovation unfolds within its modest three-story structure.

Exploring Wonders: From Dinosaurs to Space Spheres

Our first stop was the Dinosaur Enclave, a living prehistoric fantasy. A 12-meter Spinosaurus animatedly roared and moved amidst a simulated jungle, recreating the Triassic era. It has a mobile app, that allows visitors to interact and learn while marvelling at the progress in education and technology.

We then visited the Wright Brothers’ Aeroplane exhibit, where a full-scale replica of the ‘Kitty Hawk’ is on display – the plane that marked humanity’s ascent into the skies. The accompanying simulator allows visitors to experience the exhilaration of flying the iconic aircraft – as if Wilbur and Orville Wright’s spirit is in the air, inspiring future engineers. A highlight is an authentic piece of wood from the ‘Wright Model E,’ the single-propeller aircraft flown by the Wright Brothers in 1913.

But what captivated me the most, was the “Science on a Sphere.” This mesmerizing display projected animations and dynamic satellite images on a spherical screen, weaving stories of atmospheric storms, ocean currents, climate change, and the impact of human activities on the planet. The narration guided us about the moon, each planet, and the major satellites, making it feel like I was an alien watching everything from space.

The attractions are nothing short of exhilarating experiences. Imagine transforming into an astronaut, virtually suspended in space. Feel the thrill of walking on a piano, creating musical notes with each step. And for the brave-hearted, there’s even an opportunity to see how your own severed head would appear on a plate. These interactive encounters promise to ignite curiosity and provide unforgettable moments of fun and learning.

Unveiling Marvels: From Simple Mechanisms to Space and Beyond

  • Pulleys, Gears, Levers, Inclined Plane and Wedge, Wheel and Axle, Screw – the simplicity behind everyday objects comes to life in the Engine Hall. The foundation of modern technology, these exhibits are a reminder that the most revolutionary ideas often have humble beginnings. Basic mechanisms governing items like a ballpoint pen, zipper, and lock were also showcased.
  • The “Science for Kids” Gallery is a realm of touch, feel, and movement that makes learning a joy for young minds. The Archimedes Screw and Portable Steam Engine – once revolutionary inventions, now stand as relics of engineering’s evolution.
  • The “Electrotechnic” gallery takes us on a journey through the history and marvels of electrical technology, fostering a deeper appreciation for its role in our daily lives.
  • The Space Technology Gallery demystifies intricate space concepts through immersive exhibits. Its sections cover ‘What is Space?’ to ‘Space Materials,’ shedding light on satellite mechanics, applications, and captivating space explorations.
  • The BEL Hall of Electronics hosts captivating displays covering sections on basic electronics, digital electronics, communications, defence electronics, imaging technology, telemedicine, virtual reality, the internet, and milestones in electronics.

Enchanted by Innovation: Rediscovering Science and Inspiration

As the day drew to a close, we wandered through the “Fun Science” Gallery, engaging in playful yet educational experiments. From sound to fluid mechanics, each exhibit was a testament to the magic of science. I was so happy to see that my teenager was enthusiastic about the entire experience.

And me? Even after all these years, I still felt like an excited & awe-struck kid!

The Visvesvaraya Museum wasn’t just a place; it was a catalyst that shaped my perspective as an engineer. As my daughter and I left the museum after an exhilarating 4 hours, I knew that the legacy of Sir Visvesvaraya and the spirit of innovation would continue to guide the dreams of countless engineers and science enthusiasts who would follow in our footsteps.


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