Otago Museum director Dr Ian Griffin uses the ‘‘laser gesture control system’’ in the museum’s new Beautiful Science Gallery. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
BIG ambitions have met with sellout success at Otago Museum's
Perpetual Guardian Planetarium over its first month.
The $1million planetarium and adjacent Beautiful Science
Gallery opened on December 5 and had been packed with happy
punters since, museum director Dr Ian Griffin said yesterday.
Almost every show since the planetarium's opening had sold
The planetarium played three shows each day, each designed
and developed in Dunedin.
They were. -
● Amazing Universe (three times daily)
● Marama A Whetu (once daily)
● The Sky Tonight (twice daily presenter-led show)
With room for 51 people per show, and six shows playing every
day, the result was thousands of people seeing the
planetarium's purpose-made content in its first month, Dr
"In a sense we did take a bit of a risk to do this. But we do
think it's been successful and the reaction has been really
While the "Amazing Universe'' show was proving the most
popular, all three shows had been met with "a really
fantastic response'' from visitors, Dr Griffin said.
"Visitors have been really impressed by the local flavour of
it. They're really enjoying that it's in Dunedin and it's
That local content meant the shows could not be seen anywhere
else in the world, yet were of a world-class quality, Dr
"Why should you have to go to Te Papa in Wellington to have
access to amazing material? We've been able to do something
that you can't do anywhere else. And we're really proud of
The adjacent Beautiful Science Gallery was also proving a hit
with its futuristic "laser gesture control system'' thrusting
visitors into a seemingly science fiction environment.
Instead of touch screens or static displays, visitors place
their hands into streams of laser beams and use gestures to
control the 12 giant video displays.
While some visitors found that experience tricky at first,
children were picking it up quickly and showing their parents
how to operate the technology, Dr Griffin said.
That level of cutting-edge science encapsulated the point of
"We wanted to provide access to some of the best science
experiences in the world.''
The "extraordinary'' reaction to the gallery had shown they
were succeeding, he said.
● The museum's development would be "taking a breather'' for
a few months before work began on its next major project, the
renovation of Discovery World, Dr Griffin said.
The $2million rebuild would begin at the end of winter, with
an anticipated completion date of January 2017.
Dr Griffin said the goal was to make the area "the best
science centre in the country''.
"We want people to come to Dunedin just to see this stuff.''