Elements of the Extreme


Take an unexpected journey through the most powerful forces on the planet—earth, water, air and fire. Essential for life, capable of destruction and fuel for innovation, these four “classical elements” shape life as we know it. Immerse yourself in an edgy new exhibition, Elements of the Extreme, and discover how incredible adaptations to the unique properties of earth, water, air and fire enable life on our planet to survive and flourish. 

Wildly unsafe in their extreme forms, earth, water, air and fire have sparked unbelievable plant and animal adaptations and inspired some of our greatest technological and artistic achievements. Some include the inventions of armor, airplanes and steam engines. Get hands-on with science as you explore the amazing properties of these elements and marvel at rare natural science, history and ethnology objects pulled from our collection vaults. As you delve into this original, internally developed exhibition, discover the results of biological and cultural innovation that protect you and other species from imminent danger.


eoe earth


The third planet from the sun and the ground beneath our feet. Explore phenomena including gravity, magnetism and plate tectonics. Use the colorful glow of fluorescent minerals to navigate your way through a cave. Build a structure to withstand an earthquake and test it on the “Shake Table” or design sculptures with magnets. Discover the underground world of moles, fungi and harvester ants.



eoe fire


A source of light, heat and smoke. Fire is a chemical reaction involving fuel, heat and oxygen that devours habitats when uncontrolled, yet is essential to the balance of our ecosystems. Humans rely on fire for warmth, power, cooking and more. Explore technologies from around the world that are used to make and supress fire, from the artistry and skill involved in forging 18th century Japanese samurai armor to firing pottery in the American Southwest. Cover your ears when the hydrogen cannon ignites!



eoe air


Colorless gases in our atmosphere. Although invisible, air has mass and takes up space, enabling the phenomenon of flight as well as the potential for destruction under extreme conditions. Compare the flight of hummingbirds and golden eagles. Marvel at the science behind pneumatic tubes. Learn about bat sonar skills and view a specially designed flight suit—imagine gliding like a flying squirrel! Look up to see a model of the “June Bug,” a stunning aircraft from 1908.



eoe water


Constitutes 70 percent of Earth’s surface and 65 percent of the human body. In its solid, liquid and gaseous forms, water is essential for life on this planet and, yet it is also a cause of deadly natural disasters. Discover how water produces electricity as you release the shocking “Big Splash.” In the “Augmented Reality Sandbox,” sculpt the landscape and watch the topography change before your eyes.

Earth, water, air and fire continue to mesmerize and inspire today. What will you make of them?

Special Events

Members-Only Opening
Thursday, Nov. 10: 5–8pm
Save the date for a special member-only event on November 10 from 5pm to 8pm. Not a member? Learn about RMSC membership.


Working with the Extreme
Friday, November 11–Sunday November 13: 11am–3pm

In honor of Veterans Day, experience this special program on how the “classical elements” of earth, air, water and fire have played important roles in some of the most fascinating professions. From firefighting and storm chasing to geology and deep water diving, get hands-on with the elements that drive careers.


Thank You to our Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor: 

KeyBank New RBG Stacked JPEG 2014 min


Media Sponsor: 

Weather Authority ABC logo

Supported by:

The Gouvernet Arts Fund

Program Sponsor:

Xerox Logo


Special Thanks to: 

Laird logo


Interested in sponsoring this exhibition? Contact Ryan Shear at 585.697.1924 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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