This week we were at Scitech for our lecture and tutorial session.
The afternoon started with Sarah, presenting “Introduction to a Science Centre 101”. The preliminary information I think most of us had heard before, but it was interesting listening to material that is now becoming familiar presented with a different voice. Of more interest was Sarah’s own experience in her role as a Science Communicator of the exhibits and activities based at Scitech.
Denham then lead us through the exhibition floor highlighting aspects of various exhibits and displays. He described various issues for designing, constructing, and maintaining exhibits. It appears that it is not as easy as you think to make interactive and interesting exhibits that are also robust. But it was also rather interesting to find out how exhibits have unintended uses. For example, horizontal surfaces are often used as change tables. Ugh.
We also learned that the plastic pieces for children to make their own DNA end up thrown into the centre of the DNA tower and sometimes a collection of children can be found in there as well.
A favourite exhibit with our group was the infrared camera where the image of body heat is projected onto a vertical screen.
And they still have the chickens 🙂 Although they are housed in a much more sophisticated and purpose built hatchery.
We were then led into the workshop where the exhibits are designed and assembled. Denham said that they used to do a lot of the manufacturing in-house, but due to space restraints, the manufacturing is now kept to a minimum with design and final assembly being the major tasks in the workshop. This was the most interesting part of the afternoon being able to see how concepts, wood, steel and plastic, become transformed into an interesting exhibit.
I’ve decided that although this unit (Science Communication Displays, Exhibits, and Interpretation) is full on with assignments, the site visits and guest speakers make it a lot of fun. The assignments require steady work, but at least there are no exams.