Interactive exhibits wow the visitors

Interactive exhibits wow the visitors
Otago Museum’s new science centre, Tuhura, includes 12 interactive screens and uses laser activated technology to explore the landscapes, seasons and stories of the south.

Butterflies, brides and business people are among those loving Otago Museum’s new world class science centre, Tuhura, and its refurbished Tropical Forest.
Tuhura, formerly Discovery World, incorporates the Otago Community Trust Science Centre, Beautiful Science gallery and Perpetual Guardian Planetarium.
Tuhura features more than 45 hands-on interactive exhibits which have been wowing visitors since it opened on December 16.
About two-thirds of the exhibits were designed and manufactured in Germany by world-renowned Hüttinger Interactive Exhibitions.
Among Tuhura’s many attractions, the science centre explores the nature of science through 12 interactive screens and uses laser-activated technology, a world first, to explore the landscapes, seasons and stories of the south.
Also included is the Mood Ball which explores colour psychology and how the perception of colours can influence human behaviour, a Monochromatic Room, a Flight Zone.
A 7.5 metre high DNA-inspired helical slide, funded by a $100,000 grant from The Lion Foundation and created by Total Sheetmetals in Palmerston North, is museum director Ian Griffi n’s favourite.
He is excited by what Tuhura is offering and hopes the exhibits will be a catalyst to get students thinking about science, technology, engineering and mathematics as careers.
“Why should they have to go to Wellington or to Auckland to see really cool educational exhibits?” About $1.5 million of the $3.5 million project, which doubled the size of the centre, was invested in the planetarium. Funding was drawn from the museum’s reserves and “a very generous donation” from Otago Community Trust.
“Once we finished the planetarium we decided to go on to stage two which was to completely start again and remove the old Discovery World and completely renovate the butterfly house.”
The refurbished three-storey high Tropical Forest will not only house more than 1000 exotic butterflies, but also a variety of other species including tarantulas, terrapins and birds.
“The butterfly house is looking better than ever and the exhibits inside Tuhura are amongst the best in the world.”

Interactive exhibits wow the visitors
Otago Museum now boasts a world class science centre, refurbished tropical rainforest and interactive displays including a 7.5 metre DNA-inspired helical slide.

Visitors to the attractions have doubled, with feedback being overwhelming positive. “Tuhura has proved a very popular new attraction.”
“We are very excited about where we are going to go with this and we hope it’s going to be the mainstay of the museum for many years to come.”
Despite the technological emphasis, cultural aspects have not been forgotten. A Kai Tahu cosmogenic whakapapa, or creation story, weaves through the centre, providing a framework based on both science and matauraka Maori to interpret the interactives and explain the natural world from the two different knowledge bases.
“To create a science gallery which incorporates Maori culture is quite new and different and for us.”
The project was completed to a tight deadline over four months, with Dunedin firms Logic Group as project manager and Miller Creative Group as the main contractor.
Otago Museum celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. It is part funded by Dunedin City Council, and three district councils, Waitaki, Central Otago and Clutha.
The museum also offers unique venues for conferences, meetings, weddings, special events and occasions.
Located at the heart of Dunedin, adjacent to the University of Otago and close to hotel and motel accommodation, the museum can cater to corporate and private events, with a number of rooms and spaces to hire.
Brides and grooms can say their vows in its tropical paradise filled with colourful exotic butterflies, lush flora and temperatures of 28 degrees and upwards without leaving the country.
The tropical forest is the ideal space for a ceremony, to enjoy pre-dinner drinks and hors d’oeuvres or to pose for striking photographs. It even offers sleepovers in the science centre and tropical forest.
All sleepovers include one of its education programmes, hands-on time in the science centre, a night time gallery activity and a mystery adventure.
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