Leading the way among North American and European science centres - The Montréal Science Centre Unveils a New Generation of Experiences on the Cutting Edge of Science and Technology



    MONTREAL, Nov. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - After seven years, the Montréal Science
Centre is getting a new look! And entirely new exhibitions and school
programs, so that it can offer a new generation of experiences on the cutting
edge of science and technology. It took three years of meticulous design and
planning and two months of renovations and new installations, but today it
unveiled six permanent exhibitions and two temporary exhibitions. This
complete renewal, the first since the Science Centre opened in 2000, is in
line with its mission to showcase innovations, to develop scientific and
technical literacy among the general public, and to help visitors of all ages
acquire an understanding of science and technology for use in building their
future.
    The $6.3 million cost of this major renewal was entirely funded by the
Montréal Science Centre Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises
funds from private and public organizations to allow the Centre to pursue its
mission.

    Four new interactive exhibition spaces

    The new experiences targeting primarily ages 9 to 14 were designed to
generate enthusiasm for science and technology, and to encourage visitors to
think about five key science and technology sectors: information,
biotechnology, engineering, health and the environment. Through hands-on
activities, audiovisual productions and multimedia experiences, visitors will
dream about the tremendous potential of science, understand its key
principles, reflect on its social impact and learn to act responsibly. Citizen
action is central to the MSC's approach and inspired the creation and
production of all the content for the new Montréal Science Centre.

    Mission Gaia

    All citizens can do their part to maintain a balance between people's
needs and the planet's resources.

    The Mission Gaia challenge: to extend the survival of humankind by making
visitors aware of the importance of sustainable development through a huge
interactive multimedia game. Teams of players, in a game lasting three
periods, have to maintain a balance between the environment, the economy and
human development in order to assure the sustainable development of a city and
the entire planet. As they play the game and watch their scores, the teams are
obliged to switch from competitive to co-operative mode, because the right
choices to "save humanity" often require everyone's involvement. In short,
Mission Gaia will encourage visitors to exercise their power as citizens, to
become aware of the individual and collective impact of their actions, both
locally and globally, and to change their behaviour.

    idTV

    Whatever their ages, all citizens can form their own opinions on science
and technology issues, and take part in democratic debates.

    The idTV - ideas television - room offers visitors a unique experience,
inviting them to think about and take a stand on major science and technology
issues. Here they briefly become science reporters, creating original news
reports on one of five topical subjects, on their own or in a team. They enter
a huge newsroom and take a seat at one of 15 computer stations, where a
virtual news editor guides them through the multimedia activity, as they
choose their topic and documentation, screen content and more. Once they
choose a question, for instance, Should cloning be allowed?, the cub reporters
have to think and talk about it, take a stand, draw up a position statement
and film it. Then they use a simple interface to edit their report, adding an
introduction and a conclusion, just like a real news reporter.

    Imagine!

    Driven by our imaginations, we use technology to invent the world of
tomorrow.

    The Imagine! space offers an "immersion" experience where multimedia
plays a central role. Visitors wander through an image-filled space evoking
the human brain, where they become catalysts, connecting ideas and learning
about the promise of science and technology. They meet six dreamers - young,
passionate and visionary scientists - who, as visitors walk by, share their
dreams and passions and encourage them to push back the boundaries of
knowledge. As they move around the room, visitors set off various devices that
showcase 40 technological innovations of today and tomorrow. Each one offers
the possibility of achieving the dream. At six experimental stations, they can
enjoy some amazing virtual experiences, allowing them to travel inside the
body, speak any language, travel the world, and more.

    Science 26

    Science is everywhere around us. Science can be explained and understood;
it is within everyone's grasp.

    Observe, handle, discover, enjoy. The fun-filled, interactive Science 26
space uses the 26 letters of the alphabet to present the scientific principles
hidden beneath the surface of our daily lives. Sounds, lights and bright
colours surround visitors. Around each letter is an island of activities. On
their own or in co-operation with other visitors, they can explore various
scientific concepts. The letter A (Animation), for instance, makes them film
stars. At the letter B (Bubble), they can step inside a giant bubble. At C
(Chemistry), they can watch a demonstration on making artificial snow from a
liquid solution. At Z (Zoom), they can ride a unicycle on a cable across the
void. From A to Z, they're encouraged to explore and try the different
activities, and take home all kinds of new knowledge that they can use in
their daily lives. Learning is fun!

    Two new free permanent exhibitions

    Cargo

    In addition to the four new exhibition spaces, the Science Centre
inaugurated Cargo, a permanent exhibition presented in partnership with the
Port Administration of Montréal. The exhibition showcases the connection
between the Centre and the Port around it, making visitors aware of the
importance and complexity of operations in a modern port, from docking to
unloading, shipping and safety and security. As they walk along the 152-metre
2nd-floor corridor at the Science Centre where it is installed, Cargo plunges
them into a world that is normally off limits to the general public.

    Innovation display cases

    Thanks to close connections with the science and technology network in
Quebec and the rest of Canada, the MSC, always at the forefront, is able to
offer visitors a new edition of its technology showcases, presented by Alcan.
For each of the 11 themes (fibre optics, fluorescence, thermal analysis,
computer modelling and more), two different innovations that share the same
technological or scientific principle are presented. Visitors discover
brilliant Canadian ingenuity and the desire to do things differently.

    Two new temporary exhibitions

    Odyssey of Light

    From November 29 to March 9, 2008, the Science Centre is presenting
Odyssey of Light, an exhibition produced by the Musée de la civilisation, in
Quebec City, in close co-operation with the Montréal Science Centre and the
Canada Science and Technology Museum, in Ottawa.
    From the Big Bang, 14 billion years ago, to the recent phenomenon of
light pollution, the exhibition explores light with three different paths,
some 120 objects and about twenty technological installations. Odyssey of
Light looks at light from a scientific, anthropological and artistic
perspective. It's a dazzling exhibition!

    Salt Essentials

    Also presented starting November 29, the Salt Essentials discovery space
invites visitors to learn all about this fascinating and often misunderstood
crystal through simple scientific experiments, models, hands-on exhibits and a
variety of games.
    The Salt Essentials discovery space was co-produced by the Musée de la
civilisation, in Quebec City, and the Musée de la nature et des sciences, in
Sherbrooke. It was mounted by the Centre de production scientifique, in
Sherbrooke, which is also responsible for the travelling exhibition.
    The production and touring of Salt Essentials were made possible by
funding under the Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian
Heritage.

    A resounding success (2000-2007)

    Since the Montréal Science Centre opened on May 1, 2000, over 4 million
visitors, including 1 150,000 Quebec elementary and secondary students, have
enjoyed its high-quality activities or educational programs, all designed to
interest young people in careers in science and technology. The Montréal
Science Centre is now one of Canada's major cultural institutions. In its
short career, the Centre has presented nearly 30 expositions, including the
internationally renowned Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS 2, in summer 2007.
The Science Centre has also held some one hundred activities and cultural
events, including 15 major ones (Robofollies, It's ScienTOYfic, Backstage
Access, etc.) entirely produced by the Montréal Science Centre.
    The Centre's innovative features and the quality of its infrastructures
earned it an award as the tourist attraction of the year in Quebec in 2001 as
part of the Grands Prix du tourisme québécois. The Centre also won the Award
of Excellence from the Société des musées québécois in 2005 and 2006 for its
Autopsy of a Murder and X-treme Rotation exhibitions.

    The Montréal Science Centre thanks its presenting partners TELUS, Pfizer
and Hydro-Québec




For further information:

For further information: Catherine Giroux, Media Relations Co-ordinator,
Old Port of Montréal Corporation, (514) 283-8085,
cgiroux@oldportofmontreal.com; Source: Old Port of Montréal Corporation

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