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Science Centre News

Confronting gender imbalance


cience cen- tres teach and com- munic a t e

science to the broad public – especially schools and families – but more and more science centres are striving to participate in social issues. This is the case in the gender issue.

A female presence is lacking in science and technological education and careers and women scientists don’t hold as many leading positions as they statistically should. Also, a recent research study from Denmark shows that more boys visit sci- ence centres than girls do. T e TWIST (Towards Women in Science

and Technology) project is raising aware- ness about the roles and representations

“A female presence is lacking. Women

scientists don’t hold as many leading positions as they should”

of women in science. T is is being done through programmes and activities in sci- ence centres and museums. T e project currently has 11 European

par tners and is coordinated by Experimentarium, Denmark. T e main objective is to develop inno-

vative activities and exhibitions in science centres targeting students and their teach- ers and parents. It also aims to target the general public to create debates and ignite on-going discussions about gender issues. TWIST activities involve exhibitions in

several European science centres, interac- tive dialogues, teacher trainings, scientist speed-dating and much more. A core part of the project is the TWIST

exhibition. T is comprises a database of 42 female scientist role models and a vir- tual puppet. T e aim of the exhibition is to challenge any biases the visitor may have towards either gender. Follow the TWIST project online

Sheena Laursen, director of international aff airs, Experimentarium

10 4D attraction for Science North

Science North in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, has added a new 4D experience to its range of attractions. Wildfires! A Firefighting

Adventure, takes guests into the heart of a major forest fi re to give them a close-up look at how fires are cre- ated and controlled and how scientifi c research has devel- oped effective forest fire fi ghting techniques. T e immersive experience

has been located within the Vale Cavern gallery and uses 3D fi lm techniques combined with motion seating and special wind, water and smoke eff ects to explore the science of fi re behaviour and fi refi ghting. As part of the centre’s outreach programme,

T e experience includes motion seating and a range of special eff ects

visitors to the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in neighbouring Sault Ste Marie will also experience a variation of the fi lm in 3D,

complete with special eff ects. T e seats at the 60-capacity theatre were supplied by SimEx- Iwerks with all the special eff ects programmed by the Science North inhouse team. Science North also recently opened a base

in T under Bay, Ontario, which off ers camps and programmes to communities.

Detroit attractions in temporary closure

Detroit Science Center and Detroit Children’s Museum have both shut to the public after being forced to tem- porarily close as a result of “fi nancial hardship”. T e attractions both closed

to the public on 26 September in a bid to “hold down expenses, conserve operat- ing cash [and] re-examine our operations”. A new strategic plan will

also be developed by the sites during the temporary closure as part of eff orts to ensure that both remain viable on a long-term basis. Bosses said a number of schemes

T e closures were due to ‘fi nancial hardship’ caused by the recession

announced in 2008-09, which included a new 4D theatre and the construction of new exhibits for the museum, had led to a “fi nancial strain”. A decline in philanthropic

contributions and poor attendances for the Accidental Mummies exhibitions in 2010 have also been blamed for the situation. In a statement, a spokesperson said: “We

have been working hard to continue operations, however it was not feasible to remain open under our current fi nancial constraints.”

Montreal Planetarium to open in 2013

T e CA$35.5m (£22m, 24.9m, US$35m) Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium at the Múseums Nature Montréal in Canada will open in April 2013. T e new planetarium is the fi rst phase of a

Read Attractions Management online

CA$189m (£122.9m, 138.9m, US$186m) rede- velopment of the science museum and will

join the Biodome, the Insectarium, and the Biotanical Gardens as part of sciences museum complex known as ‘Space for Life’. T e government of Quebec, Canada, Rio

Tinto Alcan and the city of Montreal will pro- vide the funding for the planetarium.

AM 4 2011 ©cybertrek 2011

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