Free Your Mind: The Mind Museum Opens in the Philippines

March 19, 2012

Nature's Webways greet guests as they enter The Mind Museum.

Nature's Webways greet guests as they enter The Mind Museum.

The long-anticipated opening of The Mind Museum has finally arrived, as this state-of-the-art science center opened its doors to the public last Friday. Part of the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, The Mind Museum hosts over 250 interactive “minds-on” and “hand-on” exhibits, making it the first world-class science museum in the Philippines.

Jack Rouse Associates, in collaboration with the Bonifacio Arts Foundation Inc. (BAFI), provided master planning, conceptual and schematic design for this 4,900-square-meter facility. There are so many wonderful experiences here, we couldn’t contain them in just one post, so over the next three days we’ll be profiling all of the wonderful exhibits and attractions that The Mind Museum has to offer.

Visitors begin their journey in the spacious Mariano K. Tan Hall lobby. While in the introductory hall, they are welcomed by a robot, created by Japanese company Kokoro, Ltd., who introduces them to the overall mission of the museum. Guests then encounter the “Ten Most Beautiful Experiments”, an audio-visual exploration of major scientific breakthroughs, such as when Sir Isaac Newton discovered that white light has all the colors of the rainbow.

Once visitors have passed through the lobby, they can choose among the five gallery spaces, all of which offer compelling stories related to science and technology. The galleries are linked (both spatially and contextually) by a series of exhibits and audio-visual presentations called “Nature’s Webways.” In the first gallery, The Story of the Universe, visitors learn how all life began in the stars of space. At its center is the Spaceshell, a mini-planetarium that can hold 50 visitors at one time. Rather than sitting on chairs, guests lie on cushions so as to mimic looking up at the night sky. As they gaze upward, they see films on the planets and the stars.

“What is on Mars?”, another feature of The Story of The Universe, offers guests the opportunity to learn more about the Red Planet thanks to data provided by NASA. They can maneuver a remote-controlled rover over a simulated Martian landscape or “try on” a 3D spacesuit. Other features in this area include a mechanical representation of Einstein’s Theory, an interactive model of the solar system, a suspended model of the moon that can be manipulated by the guest, audio-visual pods that simulate the sounds of space and an LCD display that poses the age-old question, “are we alone?”

From the far reaches of space, guests shift their gaze homeward to The Story of The Earth. In this gallery, they’ll meet Stan, the first cast of a T-Rex to be exhibited in the Philippines. At over 40-feet tall, Stan is the most complete T-Rex cast ever found. He is displayed along with a simulated excavation, where guests can pretend to dig for fossils. Featuring natural history from 4.6 million years ago, The Story of The Earth also offers exhibits such as “Nature’s Hourglass”, a 50-seat amphitheater and virtual time machine that offers two short films on the story of our planet. Guests can receive the latest on the Earth’s typhoons, volcanoes and more through “Knowing Home: Floating Globe,” travel through zones representing the five plant and animal kingdoms through the “Canopy of Life”, maneuver an earthquake simulation table, replicate a volcano eruption or recreate a swirling tornado. All of these experiences aim to better connect the guest with our dynamic planet.

JRA strove to design these galleries as dynamic and engaging spheres of learning that would inspire the youth of the Philippines to explore the realms of science and technology and bolster the country’s growing reputation for innovation.

“When choosing the design team that would work with us in The Mind Museum,” said Manny Bias II, Managing Director of BAFI and The Mind Museum, “we looked for both talent and chemistry. We had to make that judgment based on videoconference interviews. It turned out that the JRA designers were more than telegenic – they are designers that could help us visualize our vision; they understood our limitations; and they were just a fun team to work with.

These galleries are only a small glimpse of all there is to explore at The Mind Museum. Tomorrow we’ll discover more of its rich offerings, as we journey into The Story of Life and the Story of the Atom.

Tags: Asia , JRA Journeys , Project Spotlight

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