Mobile Discovery Center exhibit at Opry Mills Mall shows water crisis

The Global Water Center’s Mobile Discovery Center invites attendees to better understand the global water

The Global Water Center’s Mobile Discovery Center invites attendees to better understand the global water crisis. 

About 2.2 billion people around the world do not have access to safe water, said Margie MacFarland, who travels with the Mobile Discovery Center. Around 2,300 people die every day.

The Mobile Discovery Center is a series of trailers set up in the parking lot outside the IMAX theater at Opry Mills mall. 

Upon arrival, visitors pick up a wristband that they scan at a series of screens as they walk through the exhibit. The wristband allows visitors to follow the journey of one of four people and their experiences with the water crisis. The available storytellers are Reynold from Haiti, Elena from Mexico, Benedicto from Tanzania and Desmon from Indonesia. 

The Global Water Center also funds Water Mission, which implements water systems in different parts of the world. The storytellers come from the Water Mission contacts, according to MacFarland. 

The outdoor pavilion at the Mobile Discovery Center has a series of interactive exhibits

Throughout the exhibits, visitors can read about the effects of the water crisis and learn how some of those problems are solved. Visitors can take quizzes about water and scan QR codes that show how the pipes in the mobile center work. 

“So our goal in this exhibit is not to make people that are living here in the United States feel guilty about the fact that we have water available,” MacFarland said. “But we just want to bring awareness that that is not the case for everyone across the globe. And it is our goal to make it the case for everyone across the globe.” 

Outside, a series of interactive exhibits show how water is filtered with chlorine through the example of varying sizes of balls filtering down an exhibit. Attendees can try out different pumps to see how much effort it takes to make rubber ducks go down pipes.  

The Mobile Discovery Center shows common waterborne pathogens under a microscope

Other interactive tables reveal how outdoor toilets work by having visitors pour a water bucket with enough speed to make golf balls disappear down a pipe, and how solar energy works with the invitation to cover the panel to show how the lamp goes out. 

“We’re not water implementers. We are not the people that go out and put these systems in place,” MacFarland said. “But we are providing a platform for all these organizations to come together to share best practices and share what works and what doesn’t.”