Otago Museum

July 9th, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

I was meant to go to Otago Museum just for the Aztec chocolate making demonstration. In a fit of good timing, it was bitterly cold and raining, so hot chocolate was most appealing.

To my surprise Otago Museum is radically different from the austere institution it was when I was living in . There were great fun exhibits, including an indoor rainforest, and I’d put this down as a must see for anyone with kids or enjoys being a kid!

This game is called mindball and is seriously cool. Both persons put on the headbands with sensors that read your alpha and theta brainwaves. The challenge is to reduce your brain activity, ad the ball in the tube will move towards your opponent.

Now this is quite challenging as if you see yourself losing you will start to think about it, and this will make you lose even faster.

As my mind is normally multi-tasking around five things at once, and I go near suicidal when I am left without stimulus for even a few minutes, I thought I would lose badly at this game.

But it seems I have the ability to pretty much close my brain down – I was basically flat-lining the graph as I thought of nothing but the paint. So after defeating various munchkins, I retired undefeated.

As I said, they had a tropical rainforest indoors. It is kept heated to around 26 degrees which made photos hard as the lens would fog up.

And an indoor waterfall to boot, which you could go behind.

There were scores and scores of beautiful butterflies in the rainforest. You don’t see the colour when they are at rest, but when they fly they have a wonderful blue colouring.

I almost stood on this wee fellow. They don’t get the best of lives – one fell into the pond with the turtles and ended up as, well let us just say the turtles were happy with the variety in their diet.

This was also seriously fun. You use a rope to lift golf balls up the top and there are around six different ways they can travel down, through a great combination of pipes and tunnels. My favourite was when they bounce off the drum.

As I said at the beginning, this is such a cool way of getting kids interested in science, whether it be physics, chemistry or biology.

Tags: ,

11 Responses to “Otago Museum”

  1. Pete George (21,804 comments) says:

    As I said, they had a tropical rainforest indoors. It is kept heated to around 26 degrees which made photos hard as the lens would fog up.

    I know someone who thought it would be a good place for wedding pics, but they didn’t get many before both cameras fogged up.

    this is such a cool way of getting kids interested in science,

    Kids? Ahhhh! You went during school holidays.

    There’s a display upstairs of some old stuff too.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. alex Masterley (1,438 comments) says:

    When I was a little guy in Dunedin there used to be a school holiday program called young explorers at the Otago Museum. It was good fun charging around the place and going into rooms and places that weren’t normally open to the public, or munchkins!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Honest John (204 comments) says:

    “Otago Museum director Shimrath Paul has denied union claims some staff feel intimidated by senior management, are struggling with their workloads and are expected to work extra hours for no pay.”

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/64541/museum-denies-staff-intimidated

    A former girlfriend of mine worked there for 4 years and reported all the same problems back to me repeatedly. The guy routinely pulls people into his office, and yells at them, reducing them to tears (usually women), all so they feel unable to so no when requested to work over-time without pay. Besides being inhumane, this breaches the Wages Act and Employment relations Act, so is illegal.

    A good friend of mine used to have a girlfriend that worked as his secretary – well the usual cliche is reported to have happened (guy has wife and kids) and i’ve had that independently verified…

    I don’t mean to be a sad sack – but this situation needs to change, and for it to change, people need to know.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Colonel Masters (420 comments) says:

    Explorers Week at the museum was cool – you got to see the whale eye sitting in a big jar!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    “But it seems I have the ability to pretty much close my brain down – I was basically flat-lining the graph as I thought of nothing but the paint. So after defeating various munchkins, I retired undefeated.”

    New post on The Standard in 3… 2… 1… :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. IHStewart (388 comments) says:

    Fuck off John, Simrath Paul has draged the Otago Museum screaming and kicking into the 21st century. Shim is a friend of mine and your talking shit. In my time working in Dunedin I worked closely with Shim and he was always very professional. The staff who bought and buy into his vision love working there. Those that applied a work to rule mentality didn’t and fought Shim every step of the way. I think it is totally reasonable for an emloyer to expect loyalty and a willingness to go the extra mile from an employee and if that means working for an extra hour or two to get an exhibition ready in time occasionally well so be it. Your other allegation is just plain offensive and I suspect actionable. DPF we have a mutual friend who worked at the Museum happy to provide you with his contact details.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. David Farrar (1,808 comments) says:

    IHS – I saw the mutual friend today. And for my 2c the staff I dealt with all seemed to be happy and loved their job.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Honest John (204 comments) says:

    IHStewart – be careful what you get your good mate in to. You do know about the Oscar Wilde case don’t you?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde#Wilde_vs_Queensberry

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Honest John (204 comments) says:

    “the staff I dealt with all seemed to be happy and loved their job.”

    So did my partner that worked there all those years we were together. It was her job. The reality was – 40 hours per week pay, 50 hours per week work. I don’t buy in to Stewart’s view that Paul should be able to violate the law and his employees’ rights whenever he chooses. What kind of 19th century autocrat are you?

    [DPF: If someone's employment rights was violated then you should have encouraged them to go to the ERA and have those rights upheld. Far more productive than unsubstantiated second hand character assassination.

    If my partner had been in such a situation, I would have helped her file a grievance]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. dingdong (2 comments) says:

    Interestingly enough the whole design team (all except the coordinator) and most of the production team quit within weeks of each other. We had had enough of being overworked for free and denied pay rises from the pathetic 27k or maybe 30k starting rate.
    I hear that this last year your dear Shimrath has had 4 pas, none of whom have worked out.
    In the last 18months approximately 45 people leave.

    Its obvious its a hell of a place to work, if you dont do overtime for free your marked as a ‘bad seed’ and watched by the various museum spies that everyone knows exists.
    Get rid of Shim and Clare and the place might hold on to staff and achieve even better things than the latest pathetic exhibitions.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. dingdong (2 comments) says:

    and the bringing people to tears thing happens all the time

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.