Te Papa, the new Museum of New Zealand opened its doors to the world on 14 February 1998.  It has attracted over 150 000 visitors in  its  first  two  weeks since opening, which  is  about  half the  population of the  capital  city  within  which  it  resides.  It  is  the  world’s  largest  new  museum  project  recently  completed. Amongst  its  corporate  principles  are  to  ‘speak  with  authority,’  deriving  from  good  research  and scholarship, and  that  the  museum be  bicultural,  a  partnership between the  indigenous Maori  people  and other more recently arrived cultures.

Awesome  Forces  is  the  multimillion  dollar  flagship  for  a  trilogy  of  natural  science  exhibitions  at  Te Papa. It tells of the origin of the New Zealand landmass in Gondwanaland and its continued shaping by the big,  dramatic  earth  processes  of  vulcanism,  seismicity,  tectonism  and  the  erosive  agents  of  rainfall  and glaciation.

Various interpretive techniques such as graphical treatments, popularist written text, personalisation of accounts, judicious use of mechanical and electronic interactives and issues of pace and power in media usage will be discussed.  Finally the most up to date results from summative evaluation will describe the public reaction to Awesome Forces and just how successful visitors found it.
 

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Communicating earth’s awesome forces

Geoffrey R. F. Hicks   Science and Research Department of Conservation, New Zealand

Te Papa, the new Museum of New Zealand opened its doors to the world on 14 February 1998.  It has attracted over 150 000 visitors in  its  first  two  weeks since opening, which  is  about  half the  population of the  capital  city  within  which  it  resides.  It  is  the  world’s  largest  new  museum  project  recently  completed. Amongst  its  corporate  principles  are  to  ‘speak  with  authority,’  deriving  from  good  research  and scholarship, and  that  the  museum be  bicultural,  a  partnership between the  indigenous Maori  people  and other more recently arrived cultures.

Awesome  Forces  is  the  multimillion  dollar  flagship  for  a  trilogy  of  natural  science  exhibitions  at  Te Papa. It tells of the origin of the New Zealand landmass in Gondwanaland and its continued shaping by the big,  dramatic  earth  processes  of  vulcanism,  seismicity,  tectonism  and  the  erosive  agents  of  rainfall  and glaciation.

Various interpretive techniques such as graphical treatments, popularist written text, personalisation of accounts, judicious use of mechanical and electronic interactives and issues of pace and power in media usage will be discussed.  Finally the most up to date results from summative evaluation will describe the public reaction to Awesome Forces and just how successful visitors found it.
 

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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