From the promise of immortality to tales of healing powers and mysterious deaths, poison is a popular theme in legends and fairy tales. The Power of Poison examines the mystery and intrigue that surround nature’s most powerful defense mechanism and how it can be used for both good and evil. Look on as Shakespeare’s Macbeth witches brew up a poisonous potion to summon the future and find out what may be behind the Mad Hatter’s madness in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Did a snakebite really kill Cleopatra? And was it arsenic that ended the reign of Napoleon? Visitors can check out the Detecting Poison Theater to explore a real-world poisoning case that highlights the dramatic advances in toxicology and forensics since the 19th century. An interactive game invites visitors to examine evidence and see if they have what it takes to solve the mysteries behind three puzzling poisoning cases. Next, step into a fairytale scene to get up close to a giant “enchanted” book to learn more about poisonous plants and how they were once used.
History also shows a long record of plant and animal toxins being used as medical treatments. Studying how poisons affect human cells helps scientists figure out how to protect, repair, and heal them. The Power of Poison looks at the ways toxins are being studied as potentially lifesaving treatments. Visitors can check out live golden poison dart frogs and learn the deadly secret they use to keep from becoming dinner. And learn how some of your favorite tastes and smells are derived from chemicals intended to fend off predators.
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