Iron Man’s high-tech armor. Captain America’s indestructible shield. Thor’s magical hammer. Each of these items played a major part in The Avengers, one of the most successful films of all time. Now they can be seen up close in a new exhibit called “Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.” It is designed to make visitors feel as if the fictional superhero team really exists. The exhibit opened on May 30 at Discovery Times Square, in New York City, and will run until January 5, 2015.
Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) was built to look like the headquarters of S.H.I.E.L.D., the international peacekeeping organization. In the movie, S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division) brought the Avengers team together.
Visitors take on the roles of new S.H.I.E.L.D. agents reporting for their first day of training. They are shown video clips about each member of the Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. Then, they get a tour of the headquarters, which includes a variety of objects seen in the Avengers movie, including some that were actually used during filming. Glass booths contain the superheroes' uniforms and equipment, along with the unusual technology used by the film’s alien invaders.
In one section of the exhibit, visitors can test their strength against Captain America’s. In another, they can put on a virtual reality headset and experience what it feels like to operate Iron Man's armor. And in the laboratory, video panels describe the changes that happen to the brain of brilliant scientist Bruce Banner when he transforms into the super-strong Hulk.
Real-life experts helped create many of the displays. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, provided information, images, and videos to help make everything seem real and believable. “We wrote about a variety of topics, including the aerospace materials used in creating Iron Man’s armor,” Preston Dyches of NASA told TFK.
Scientist Ricardo Gil da Costa, an expert on the human nervous system, developed the display about the Hulk’s transformation from a regular human to a savage creature that reacts very emotionally to everything and barely speaks. Da Costa used his knowledge of the human brain and how it connects to the way we behave. “I was able to create the neurological changes that would happen as we go from Bruce Banner’s brain to the Hulk’s,” he said.
The creators of the exhibit also worked closely with the people at Marvel who produce the movies and comic books about the Avengers. “The greatest thing is that they are very passionate storytellers,” said Nicholas Cooper. He is the Chief Creative Officer of Victory Hill Exhibitions, the company that developed the exhibit.
One of the original Marvel storytellers showed up for opening day. Writer and editor Stan Lee, who co-created the Avengers with artist Jack Kirby in 1963, said, “I’m really enjoying myself!”