CHICAGO (June 24, 3:50 p.m. EDT) — Scaling a 26-foot-tall rock-climbing wall exhibit offers NPE 2003 visitors a daring way to learn about plastics while contributing to the National Plastics Center & Museum's education fund.
Picture a chief executive officer, a general manager, or the information technology specialist ascending the heights.
“We want them all to try it,” said Barbara Bennett, research and development director for NPCM in Leominster, Mass. “It's a new adventure,” she said.
While rock-climbing walls are a new staple at county fairs and similar entertainment-related events, Bennett said they can have a business purpose, too. Companies bring rock-climbing walls to business events and encourage the whole corporate team to take a climb, she said. The walls are used to relieve stress and teach teamwork.
NPCM, on the other hand, is using the wall to teach visitors about its education programs. The rock-climbing adventure is at the terrace area of the East Building and is part of a rope-design seminar. Some student groups are taking part in the program, but it also is open to any adventurer at NPE.
The center is asking for a minimum donation of $5. For $20 or more, a photo of the adventure is included.
Participants learn about rope design with a few strength tests — elongation, water absorption and abrasion — and then can try the wall. Bennett stressed that the climb is safe, with elevator cables and harnesses used to prevent serious falls. Participants look at and use a variety of ropes manufactured by New England Ropes of Fall River, Mass.
The rock-climbing exhibit illustrates the trademarked “Plastics Is My Bag” project that is taught in the museum's education program.