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UC Merced Helps Bring Interactive ChemMystery Exhibit To Bakersfield’s Buena Vista Museum Of Natural History

August 24, 2001

The University of California, Merced, in collaboration with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, proudly presents the ChemMystery exhibit at Bakersfields Buena Vista Museum of Natural History, 2018 Chester Avenue, beginning Monday, August 27.

On loan from the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, ChemMystery is an interactive exhibit that guides visitors step-by-step through the scientific process of investigating and solving a crime. Children, students and adults of all ages are invited to become science detectives as they step inside the fictional crime scene, discover clues and conduct real chemical and forensic tests in their attempt to unravel the whodunit mystery.

As part of the exhibit, visitors perform chromatography tests, carry out acid and base chemical reactions, examine DNA evidence, view fingerprint samples, conduct smell tests and analyze handwriting samples, as well as experiment with invisible ink. Displays show how the exhibit activities are examples of the work conducted by real investigators and scientists.

Developed, designed and traveled by UC Berkeleys Lawrence Hall of Science, ChemMystery is one of very few wet chemistry exhibits in the United States and features two original mysteries - one for younger sleuths and another for older student and adult detectives.

“UC Merced is excited to help bring this exhibit to Kern County residents, said Lori Black, regional program coordinator for UC Merced. ChemMystery engages children in learning scientific processes in a fun and exciting way. It is also a tool for teachers and parents to get students interested in science at an early age. Also, this exhibit fits into our mission of expanding educational opportunities for school-age children of the San Joaquin Valley.

School groups are welcome to visit the ChemMystery exhibit at no charge. Admission for a simultaneous museum tour is $1.50 for students and $2 for adults, with one teacher per class tour admitted at no charge. Class tours are available on Mondays and Tuesdays, and teachers interested in class tours are asked to make reservations by calling the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History at (661) 324-6350. The complete exhibit takes about 90 minutes to tour.

Public admission to the museum, including the special exhibit, is $3 for adults; $2 for children 5 and older, students and adults 65 and older; and free for children 4 and younger. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. The ChemMystery exhibit is expected to be on display at the Buena Vista Museum through the early months of 2002.

UC Merced also is sponsoring another Lawrence Hall of Science exhibit, 1492: Two Worlds of Science, at the new Castle Science and Technology Center at Castle Challenger Learning Center in Atwater. Blending elements of science, history and geography, this hands-on exhibit takes visitors back to the late 15th century to increase their understanding of the scientific issues and explorations of the times. For additional information about the 1492 exhibit, please contact K-12 Programs Coordinator Diana Ralls in the UC Merced Academic Programs Office in Fresno at (559) 241-7406 or the Challenger Learning Center at (209) 726-0296.

UC Merced will be the 10th University of California campus and the nations first major research university to be built in the 21st century. UC Merced employs approximately 85 educators and professionals at present. Currently being planned, the University's main campus in Merced is expected to open in fall 2005 with 1,000 students. The campus will grow over coming decades to serve 25,000 students. UC Merced has a special mission to serve the San Joaquin Valley and contributes to educational access throughout the entire Valley region via centers in Merced, Fresno and Bakersfield. A UC Merced center will open in Modesto by early 2002.

For additional information, please call the UC Merced Center, Office of Academic Programs in Bakersfield at (661) 861-7955. On-line information about UC Merced and the University of Californias programs and activities in the San Joaquin Valley are available on the Internet at and