Author Archives: kayes890

Exploring the Black Sea

Shipwrecks

Virtual Shipreck Explorer (photo by University of Hull)

Have you ever wanted to explore shipwreck without slipping on your wetsuit? This soon could be a reality not so far away.

The Black Sea holds the potential for a new form of experimental museum. This museum will not be any museum that has ever been imagined due to the fact that this museum could be 7,238 ft below sea level. This museum would allow people to virtually navigate a submersible that could allow people to investigate the site, as well as building a showcase of objects that could give greater insight into the past. The reasons for this museum to be imaged at such a depth is due to the fact that as objects are brought to the surface the pressure, oxygen, and UV cause them to change colour and become fragile. The current count for shipwrecks in this area are in the double digits and for explorers this means solving questions to the diverse nature of this region, but at the same time, this means that this type of museum could take decades before being  realized and experienced.

Around The Black Sea region is an incredible enclave of various cultures, languages and traditions. It is this particular region for centuries that has made the Black Sea a crossroads for cultural movements and trade movements. The Black Sea is significantly different than any other ocean because of the harsh weather conditions that keeps the anoxic water (without oxygen) moving around at a depth closer to the surface creating a protective barrier for the shipwrecks. This preserves anything and everything that descends to that layer including wood, clay, the cargo, and potentially the crews of the ships. The shipwrecks are from the 13th to 15th century B.C. surrounding the Greek Empire which gives the significant of what these finding could mean, seeing that there are only a few manuscripts depicting this period but little insight as to what some objects were actually used for without speculation.

Currently, the majority of the findings are on exhibition at The National Museum of History in Bulgaria and at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. The exhibitions at the Mystic Aquarium allow participants to dig for fossils and interact with animals on a more personal level.

Currently, virtual shipwreck exploration is becoming a reality through the Venus Project by the Dept of Computer Science at the University of Hull. The aim of this project is to digitally recreate Europe’s shipwrecks before they become eroded and therefore impossible to explore for real. As the project progresses, archaeologists and the public will be able to explore many more shipwrecks in this fashion. The participant interacts with a remote handset that enables the person to control the submarine. This form of application is perfect for the Black Sea due to the lack of decay that exists at these shipwrecks.

Stephen Kaye

Advertisements

Virtual Worlds

Virtual WorldVirtual worlds are becoming a major topic when it comes to participating on a local or global scale. There are many programs that are being developed to navigate through ancient architectural civilizations and even in the present, traveling around urban cities. These programs enable people to explore a vast amount of information, as well as pilot through artificial realms to meet people and view objects.

I am currently on a team to redefine how we experience New York City during the day versus the night. This involves a lot of data collection and understanding how these spaces feel in the daylight environment versus the night environment from a lighting stand point. One popular web program that has taken the first steps to this experiential experience is Second Life. They advertise this space as a place to connect, to shop, to work, to explore, to be different and free yourself and mind, and be who you want to be. This is definitely taking this idea of the iPhone as your museum guide to a much different and extreme limit, but this is a potential program that will be developed by many museums in the coming years and the beginning of this investigation have already begun.

The New York Hall of Science has partnered with the Greater Southern Tier BOCES SciCentr program on a project to engage an ethnically and economically diverse group of young people in creating a Virtual Hall of Science (VHOS). This entails designing, building and staffing the virtual science center while working and interacting with science and education professionals throughout the process. VHOS is seen as a long term program that will encourage students to develop and plan the future of their museum as they see fit. This program will further enhance the already strong connects NYSCI has with its community and student science education program.

In either case, the idea of a virtual world that enables people to experience a museum or, for that matter, many different cities from the comfort of their homes is a great start to spark interest, but the fact of the matter is that this will never change how we truly experience something that is tangible.

Stephen Kaye

Not Science Fiction

Renzo Piano creates a master piece for the California Academy of Science and recreates the building envelope as a  multi-functional form for the museum. This single structure curves with the surrounding environments while containing multiple spaces within. This includes a four-story rainforest, the aquarium, the planetarium, and the natural history museum. There is also a roof terrace that allows the visitor to experience the rolling mounds that create this iconic roof system. This process of creating a green roof that houses natural, living plant specimens enables the building to change with its surroundings while at pivotal movement’s glass apertures direct daylight into specific areas. This design has received Platinum rating from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and is one of the largest public buildings to have this rating.

This facility is setting the benchmark on what the future of the museum, and for that matter, what the science museum will eventually become. Technology that is engaging and user-friendly allows for people to immerse themselves into experiences that may be out of reach for them. Visitors can view the most up-to-date renderings of the universe, catch virtual butterflies with a digital net, and connect their cell phone and go for an Academy-wide scavenger hunt. The use of technology within these facilities will transform and reshape these spaces, as well as the next generation of visitors that will in turn be designing the future of museums.

This building reaches out to such a large audience and this must be noted of how hitting target areas can ultimately leave you with an award winning museum. The California Academy of Science has a modern architectural form and in many cases, having a building designed by a famous architect will, inevitable bringing fame to the structure. Introducing new and up-to-date technology that targets a wide range of age groups can turn a traditional exhibition observation time of 25 seconds to one that reaches close to the 3 to 4 minute marker. In this day and age, new generations are learning to use technology at a younger age making digital media production, multimedia displays, technology platforms, and interactive gaming the cutting edge in how learning will be taught. Another great design accomplishment is introducing living specimens to embed greater understanding and knowledge to the viewer. The California Academy of Science also has an extensive library that serves both a pubic function, but mainly for the scientists at the academy.

Please take a moment to investigate this museum, as this is the future.

(Stephen Kayes)

40 Years of Igniting Curiosity

The Ontario Science Centre has flourished over the last 10 years by restoring the Greater Toronto Area’s curiosity in science. This museum is a great marker to understand the potential that these Science Museums have on visitors and the community.

There are many ingenious solutions that can increase admission, promote school field trips, and capture or recapture different generations of visitors. The Ontario Science Centre has developed their IMAX Theater to create and enhance the experience of how knowledge in learned through captivating documentaries. This dome shaped theater changes the experience of watching a film by overwhelming the visitors senses of movement and sound.

The Sleepover Program takes the movie “Night at the Museum” to the next step and makes it a reality. Visitors are able to spend the night among the exhibits and reinvestigate them after sundown, and once again before the museum reopens to the public. This re-evaluates how a simple solution has a enormous impact of the people that get to enjoy the exhibits.

They truly due have fun down to a science!

(Steven Kayes)

It is Rocket Science!

Interactive Exhibits at the New York Hall of Science

Interactive Exhibits at the New York Hall of Science

The New York Hall of Science is landmarked by the two enormous NASA rockets situated out front. Seen from the subway these drew my curiosity towards the building. A nice perk that must be noted is that both on Fridays at 2-5pm and Sundays 10-11am admission is free. This gesture allows for a diverse range of class to see the exhibits that are being shown.

Outside the entrance of the facility, there is a large brass sundial that captured my attention for several minutes, while other visitors just merely walked passed it. Once inside the museum, I was directed towards the North Wing to experience the Earth at many different scales. The building’s design and fenestration allowed for a lot of natural daylight to enter almost every exhibition. The Central Pavilion creates a dramatic space with a scaled up model of a molecular structure that floats above the visitors heads. One of the most intriguing exhibits in this space was “Seeing the Light”. This exhibit merged the dynamics of light with mathematics and created simple interactive dioramas that isolated key problems that our eyes perceive due to contrast and shadows. This museum has a lot of potential and is a great source for hands-on learning for all ages.

(Stephen Kaye)