Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology

To start using up my holidays I gave myself a long weekend and made the trek to Edmonton to see the Indiana Jones exhibit at the Science Center. I seem to visit the science centers around my birthday every year.

This exhibit was wonderful... even with the hordes of kids we had to battle periodically. Apparently Fridays are school field trip days. The exhibit did a great job of blending "behind the scenes", Indie-era archaeology, and modern archaeology. We were given tablets and headphones to punch in exhibit numbers that would read to us or play a movie clip. We also used the tablet to play a game; I'll explain more about that below.

Willie's sari in Temple of Doom
All four movies were represented with different props and costumes being shown. There were more props from Crystal Skull because, I imagine, it was simply easier to gather and keep newer items than the old ones. I had thought they were only going to cover the first three movies so it was a nice surprise.

It was interesting to see the concept sketches and ideas and then the actual film work. In Temple of Doom Willie wore a red and gold costume in the night club. The dance scene that had been carefully rehearsed had to be changed because the second dress (the first being partially eaten by an elephant) was slightly too small and restricted Willie's movement. Who knew?

Knight's shield from Last Crusade
With the tablet you could find a nice place to sit every couple exhibit "corners". Most corners had one or two "behind the scene" clips that played on your tablet and 1 movie clip that played on a TV and you tuned in to get audio. It was interesting to learn about the scene and then see how the movie magic put it together.

There were also "caves" that consisted mostly of archaeological facts. There were artifacts that explained that the "treasures" searched for weren't usually gold but items that explained about daily life such as bowls and jewelry.

Some displays told about the first famous archaeologists, their discoveries and how some were featured in newspapers world wide. Others explained how past and present archaeologists used bits of information to understand not only what an item might be but its uses. Thanks to advances in technology new information can be learned about older artifacts. The materials, age, shape, designs... by themselves the information doesn't mean much but when put together it tells a story.

I compared this exhibit to the Stars Wars and Harry Potter exhibits and feel this one was good that settles in between the two.

Mummy from Crystal Skull. I can't spell his name though...
Like Star Wars it blended the movie and science aspects but was more movie heavy which I liked. Better than Star Wars was the tablet. Star Wars had ear pieces that activated when you stood within a designated circle. It made a small crowd linger in one area while with the tablet you could find an out of the way area to watch the clip or listen to the audio while investigating the displays. It also had an overall interactive element that allowed you to learn about your identity as a Star Wars character.

Harry Potter had "telephones" that you punched in the display number and listened to. You could wander if you wished but there was often several display numbers at one display. There was so much to see that I felt overwhelmed at times. I didn't know where to look and could have spent more time staring at exhibits but it was a bit crowded to do that. There were some interactive elements in parts such as pulling up mandrakes to hear them scream but not an overall element.

I look forward to the next exhibit I visit that will likely come again next year around this time. A dinosaur exhibit is coming in May 2015 but I don't believe I'll go to that. I tend to visit my geeky passions. Past exhibits I've been to are Narnia, Star Wars, and Harry Potter in Edmonton and Lord of the Rings in Toronto.

A section of the Wall of Fame. 
Oh! The interactive part! I nearly forgot. At the beginning of the exhibit you chose what artifact you wanted to search for and put in your name. At 8 different different spots around the exhibit there were small stations that you tapped your tablet against and did some sort of challenge such as finding artifacts in the wall in a pattern. At the end you scanned your tablet and put your artifact up on the Wall of Fame. The artifact I searched for (and completed) was a red penguin like in the upper left of the picture

Have you been to this exhibit? Or perhaps you visited a different one?

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