Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Interactive Museum: GameNGuide Gets Recruited By S.H.I.E.L.D. [PHOTOS]

By Steve Buja , Updated May 30, 2014 09:17 AM EDT
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Marvel, the comic and movie giant, has teamed up with NASA, the National Academy of Sciences and Victory Hill Entertainment to bring you Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N, a new interactive exhibit showcasing the history, tech and gear of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The exhibit opens up May 30 at the Discovery Times Square in New York City. Finally, a museum your girlfriend doesn't have to drag you to on a Sunday morning!

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Think of S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) as the nerdiest haunted house you will ever experience. The site fills nearly the entire Discovery Times Square space, spanning over 10,000 feet across a labyrinth of futuristic looking rooms, complete with over 100 flat screen panels, dozens of touch interfaces, robotics, augmented reality visors and motion response applications, as well historical documents and other Marvel swag.

Last night, press were invited for a sneak peek at the exhibit. Not everything was available for view. Not all of the 140 video screens were active and nor were we issued the special 'personalized I.D.' card that visitors will get during the actual museum's opening, but we were shown enough to assess the museum.

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When you first walk in, a well-dressed S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent will check your credentials before ushering a group of you into a white room with glass  walls. As you stand and wait, wondering what's going to happen, the six foot tall visage of Titus Welliver appears before you. He is Agent Felix Blake, and he's here to tell you what's up. You (yes, you) have been recruited because you are the best of the best and you've been brought here today to get a better understanding of S.H.I.E.L.D and its history and future.

If you have kids, you are going to want to take them here. They invited the wrong people, or at the very least, they forgot to say 'bring your child to the museum!' on the invitation, because despite my enthusiasm for all things The Avengers, this museum is not for me. As I walked through the incredibly detailed halls, playing with various touch screens, marveling at the, well, Marvel universe, I could picture the wonder a child would have as they moved throughout the museum. Every time I walked into a room, I heard my inner 8 year old exclaim 'Oh man! Awesome!' Every little thing, from Loki's costume, to the Super Soldier chamber, to hell, even the opening "cinematic", my inner child's level of excitement grew and grew. If you have ever wanted to know how to get kids to the museum, the answer is obvious: put Iron Man in it, and they will come, and they will come in droves.

Every Avenger gets his own specialized room. Captain America has a sort of circus-like 'training room' where visitors can pit their own strength up against Cap. The entire system is run on the ID cards that will be given to paying customers. I didn't have one, so was not able to access all of the exhibits, despite the whole night being an 'open session' where the security level was knocked down a peg or two, but I still got to test my grip strength against Captain America's and came, uh, well, rather short, as you can see below.

The Hulk's room is all about microscopes and how the gamma radiation affects Bruce Banner. With Thor, visitors will have access to a star map where they can locate Asgard and other notable exoplanets or stars. In Iron Man's room, you can get 'behind the wheel of the suit', as it were, and experience life through the eyes of Tony Stark. The museum has several mocked up 'JARVIS' visors, interactive screens that track your eye movement and test your reflexes, bringing you as close to Iron Man as you can. Sadly, there was no 'step inside and try the suit' portion.

The beauty of Discovery Times Square, whether it's through their Bodies exhibit, their Lego show or what have you, is that they make learning fun. The entirety of Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. doesn't feel like a cunning ploy to get children interested in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics), but that is precisely what it is. By wrapping all the math and science, by giving children a chance to actually touch and interact with the trappings of some of their favorite films is the single best way to Trojan Horse the idea that "science is cool". Science is cool. Science is the coolest damn thing in the world. In fact, the only thing cooler than science is The Avengers, so pairing the two up is an unbeatable combination. Your children cannot grow up to become agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, it's a fictional organization (no matter how convincing their museum and history are), but maybe, just maybe, they can dream up their own big ideas. Who knows? Maybe your kid will be responsible for making Iron Man's suit one day, and isn't being Iron Man's parents a bit like being Iron Man himself?

Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. opens today, May 30. You can buy tickets here. Your kids are going to love it. For that matter, so are you.

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