Museum Visit: Science on a Sphere

by Ms. Joy

Last night I had the absolute pleasure of getting a sneak preview of the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History’s newest (and permanent) exhibit, Science on a Sphere, part of Our Amazing World. It was by pure chance that I was able to go and live tweet this preview, I was visiting family in Ontario when I saw something interesting pop up on the Nova Scotia Museum twitter feed. I like museums. I like learning stuff – I’ve been a student forever, so the whole acquirement of knowledge thing shouldn’t be a surprise. I sent off the email and expected that I would receive a very kind response telling me that I had missed the deadline. It was not so.

I really did get to see a giant eyeball blink on the sphere. Yes, it is creepy.

I also saw the light streams of 10 million Facebook users. Can you imagine what we could do with our world if even half of those people logged off of Facebook (or Twitter in my case)?

What amazed me the most about this exhibit were the endless possibilities for teaching children. The circles of pulsating red across the world were chilling as they marked drought. Perhaps it was bothersome to think that the glowing purple of pollution we saw before the drought screen was mostly centred on the western world but the drought markers were not, they were on disadvantaged locales like Somalia. Our greed and disturbing rate of consumption is not just affecting us with high gas prices, it is them who is suffering (way to other, Joy).The point is, the world is a very connected globe and sitting in that auditorium and watching our guide Maggie spin the images on the sphere so everyone could see truly brought that realization to the forefront for me. The clouds that merrily skipped across the surface of the Sphere’s Atlantic are the same clouds that whip together to form the hurricanes that battle our east coast every year.

My general musings aside, Science on a Sphere is a fantastic way to make the world more accessible to children and adults. With over a few hundred data sets available – including images from NASA satellites of Mars and the Moon – you can learn so very much. The Sphere itself was developed as a research tool, it takes images that would otherwise be projected onto a flat screen and gives them life. This allows for all those crevices and dips in the Moon’s surface to come alive, as if you could dip your fingers into the very surface of it.

These  4 tickets are coming from me, by way of the Museum of Natural History but they did not ask me to do it. There are no stuffed antlers or an 88 year old tortoise prodding me into doing this; the only catch is that you must be from the Halifax/Dartmouth area to enter (really, Nova Scotia. I’m not too picky, as long as I can physically hand you the tickets).

Science on a Sphere opens September 7 and I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of the Open House they are hosting that night from 6-8 pm. Otherwise, rock it out HRM and tell me why we love the Museum of Natural History. I’ll start: We have Canada’s first Science on a Sphere Exhibit and it is only one of 73 in the whole world.

To be sure: HRM residents (NSers, you can squeak in), you are hoping for four tickets to the Museum of Natural History. I will close the comments at noon on Wednesday, September 7.