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CInci Museum Center opens The Science Behind Pixar — taking STEM to infinity. . .and beyond

It’s your turn in the artist’s seat as Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) reveals The Science Behind Pixar. The interactive exhibition, now open, showcases the boundless limits of STEM, imagination and curiosity, thrilling you as you come face-to-face with some of your favorite characters, including Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley, Edna Mode and WALL•E.

Since Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story debuted in 1995, generations have grown up with the studio’s films and characters. CMC shares the magic of Pixar and the science that brings it to life with Greater Cincinnati. The ingenuity of animators and engineers comes to light in an immersive experience that explores the science, technology, engineering, art and math concepts Pixar Animation Studios uses to bring their beloved characters to life.

“Pixar immerses us in worlds that begin to feel familiar even in their fantastical whimsy. We rewatch their films again and again because it feels like reconnecting with an old friend,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “As we get older, we rewatch these films because it feels like reconnecting with our younger selves. That’s the power of Pixar. And how those experiences are created shows us the power of STEM.”

Through eight interactive areas, The Science Behind Pixar empowers guests to imagine the STEM concepts behind Pixar’s films by shining a lamp on eight of the steps in the filmmaking process – modeling, rigging, surfaces, sets and cameras, animation, simulation, lighting and rendering. The exhibition delivers an unparalleled view of the production pipeline used by Pixar’s artists and computer scientists, featuring more than 50 interactive elements.

“The Science Behind Pixar shows us that if you can dream it, you can literally create it,” adds Pierce. “With interactive elements that make the complex concepts of digital animation accessible to a variety of age groups, the exhibition will inspire the next generation of imagineers to bring their own dreams to life.”

To better understand the science and math that goes into creating the worlds and characters of Pixar’s films, guests will hear first-hand from members of the studios’ production teams. You will also be invited to experience different roles within the production pipeline through screen-based activities and physical interactive elements. Some of the activities included in the exhibition:

• Discover how camera placement and angles created a bug’s-eye view in A Bug’s Life

• Create a digital sculpture from an artist’s sketch

• Use lights to solve challenges similar to ones faced by Pixar in creating underwater scenes in Finding Nemo

• See how models are given a virtual skeleton that enables animators to pose them

• Build a robot inspired by those in WALL•E

• Try your hand at stop-motion animation of a jumping lamp and watch a short film of what you produced

• See and touch scale models of many of Pixar’s beloved characters (except Mike and Sulley. We don’t want a code 2319).

“The Science Behind Pixar is an interactive exhibition that offers people a hands-on opportunity to understand how we make our films,” said Jim Morris, president of Pixar Animation Studios. “At Pixar, we use science, technology, engineering, art and math – along with a significant dash of creativity and fun – and this exhibition is truly a great demonstration of how all those ingredients come together in our filmmaking process.”

Films and characters represented in the exhibition include Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, Brave, The Incredibles, Up, WALL•E, Monsters, Inc., Cars, Luca and more.

The Science Behind Pixar is open through April 24, 2022. Tickets are available at cincymuseum.org/pixar.


Adult $19.50
Child $15.50
Senior $15.50
CMC Member Adult $13.50
CMC Member Child $9.50

The Science Behind Pixar is supported locally by Anne Drackett Thomas.

It is funded through support by Google, members of the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative (SMEC), Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

This exhibition was developed by the Museum of Science, Boston in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios. © Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved. Used Under Authorization.

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