Presented in association with EQC, The Earthquake Commission.
What exactly are volcanoes?
How do they work?
Why are they there?
What is their history?
What do they mean to us?
Auckland is the only city in the world built on an active volcanic field - the last eruption produced Rangitoto some 600 years ago.
When will the next one erupt?
Where will it erupt?
How will it erupt and for how long?
All of these questions are explored in Auckland Museum's dynamic new permanent natural history exhibition - VOLCANOES.
The highly interactive exhibition takes you on a sensory journey that explores the geographical, social and cultural impact of volcanoes in Auckland, throughout New Zealand and around the world. It also tells us what we should do to increase our awareness of the risks involved.
Volcanoes is housed in the western First Floor Gallery and associated Natural History Information Centre. The gallery is installed with a series of modules telling various stories, containing artefacts, film and video.
A highlight of the exhibition is the 'Breaking News' story of an imminent eruption in Auckland. This will culminate in an immersive experience in an Auckland lounge room which acts as a theatre for up to 20 people, who will witness, through all their senses, the emergence, eruption and aftermath of a volcano in Auckland Harbour.
Exhibits will tell the story of human interaction with volcanoes from Maori myths and the witnessing of Rangitoto's emergence, including the Motutapu footprints, to their use as pa sites and quarries. Historic disasters such as Tarawera and Tangiwai are encountered as are the catastrophic effects for life in New Zealand that another major Taupo or Taranaki eruption would create.
Great exhibition, I have found it to be suitable for people of all ages, although with younger children some of them may find the simulation a bit scary. The simulation is fabulous in terms of what to expect if there is a volcanic eruption in Auckland and lets face it there are a lot of volcanoes there! I found it similar in some ways to an earthquake so maybe it helps prepare for what it is like in a few major disaster areas. The only thing I have a problem with is other people not being patient and ignoring the signage to wait until the simulation is finished before entering to experience it themselves.
The artefacts are intriguing, with again interest to adults in learning about them while being interactive for children. Whenever I have the chance I go to this display while visiting Auckland. I highly recommend this attraction and being free makes it something all families can do for a days outing.
This has to be the best place when you have young preschoolers like my two that LOVE this kind of thing.
It all started when my daughter was 2 and she found a volcano book we had for my step son, she was very interested in this book asking us to read it to her, showing her the pictures and talking about them. This lead to us making volcano's in the dirt with baking soda and vinegar.
A year later so 2011 watching the news and TV when Japan had their earthquake with the volcano going she got more interested in volcano asking lots of questions. As much as we answered them showed her youtube clips it wasnt enough for her, our son who was almost 2 got interested in this topic too. We googled what else we could do and behold the Auckland Museum.
Off we went not knowing what we would find, we waited in line to go into the little building and sat on the couch with the kids, this was awesome it gave the feeling of being at home, watching tv and then out it came the volcano exploding. The kids jumped but were very interested in what was happening, lights going out and really giving the feeling of what would happen if a volcano was to go off. There is alot of information out of the little house as well, which pulls my kids in every time.
We thought this would scare the kids but my kids weren't scared and went though it again, now every time we head to the Museum we have to go though the volcano part, they are 4 and 3 and still love their volcanoes.
I do fully recommend this for the experience for those with young ones that are really into volcanoes learning all about them and more.
This exibit was by far one of the coolest I have been to in any museum so far, excepting perhaps a virtual reality show I saw in Te Papa when I was eleven. Then again, I think I was easier to impress back then...
I really enjoyed the lounge room. It managed to combine education and 'edge-of-your-seat' horror in one heart pounding package. I really loved that they actually had real news presenters and had gone to so much effort to make things as authentic as they could. I had to keep reminding myself that it was okay, I was not going to die. Even as the room shook and the clouds of volcanic ash hurtled toward the window. Let's just say I had a whole new appreciation for being alive when I stepped out of that room - along with a fervent desire never to live in Auckland (though I'm not sure that was their intention).
I liked the other videos and displays as well, nicely presented and very accessible. Not too wordy for children or too dumbed down for adults. I gave this exhibit an eight on interactivity because, although it was highly immersive, there wasn't really anything you could influence. I guess it would just have been nice to be able to 'do' a little more - something I can touch and play with. Perhaps they could add a touch screen 'game' of sorts where people can change the environmental parameters and see what it takes to cause an eruption... or even a touch screen (or paper) quiz on the different boards in the room - that would be great for children to compete against each other and see who got the most correct.
Still, all in all, this was a brilliant exhibit. I highly recommend seeing it!
I have had a fascination for this topic for many years. From a young lad I have wanted to learn more about the planet we inhabit and how it could, at any time, turn against us. This exhibit was perfect. The use of video clips, dramatisations and kinetic displays was well thought out and easy for people of many ages to follow.
I must admit to being somewhat disappointed by the 'shaking room' show. I'm not sure what I DID expect, but what I experienced fell short of what I thought would happen. More shake needed, maybe. However, I was very pleased to see there was no area of the larger exhibition that was not accessible to anyone who had special needs.
In all, a great and informative exhibit. Well thought out and brilliant for school children doing projects or anyone studying how the earth works.
If you have been to Te Papa's 'earthquake' shack... you will LOVE this exhibition. With room for around 20 people to pack in, you walk into a lounge... complete with TV, couches etc... it's very convincing. You can then look out through the ranchslider doors to the Auckland Harbour with a view out to Rangitoto Island in the middle-distance. The sun is shining, clouds drift past in very natural ways... it all looks quite relaxing... until the TV pipes up that geologists have predicted a major volcanic eruption any minute now! As they are saying this, you look out to the harbour and see a patch of ocean is steaming... and it's getting bigger by the second. Suddenly, the floor jolts, the walls tremble, and an ominous rumbling sound starts to fill the room... the TV goes to static... another jolt, then fire and smoke start to spew from the steaming sea as the volcano pushes it's way to the surface, creating a lateral cloud of suffocating ash that washes over the lower foreshore, then covers your house, locking you into darkness as the power fails and the lights die.
After a few minutes, the ash cloud starts to settle, visibility increase, and you see all the ruins that were once part of Auckland spread out below your house on it's hill, and in the middle of the harbour lies the new island, an active volcanic cone still dribbling lava into the ocean. Dead fish float in the water all around, steamed to death by the molten rock pouring up out of the planet's crust. Stepping outside would be deadly, as the toxic fumes and fine ash cloud still surround you... you would suffocate on the poisonous air, and drown in your own blood as the acidic fumes and drifting ash shred your lung linings... and what's the point of this horrific display? Simple... as part of the whole Volcanoes display, it points out that New Zealand was formed from volcanic activity, and the slumbering cones are far from dead. Auckland City itself is built on top of an active volcanic field, made from 48 separate cones and vents... and this scenario COULD happen at any time! The last major eruption was only 600 years ago! (That is NOTHING on the grand scale of things, so don't dismiss it lightly.)
Now, this is not all of the exhibit by any means, this shake-&-bake lounge is just the highlight. The rest of the exhibition consists of a series of loop-playing movies, informative display boards and models, and of course the knowledge of the helpful staff floating around. I spent a happy half-hour wandering around before the lounge-show, and a further 15 minutes wandering around afterwards... mainly because the shaking shack gave me a new perspective on some of the displays, and I felt it was important to go back and reassess the information in this new mindset. I would recommend that process to any visitor.
Overall... stunning. On it's own, a wonderful display well worth investigating if you plan to stay living on this piece of exposed rock that we call New Zealand... and especially so if you live in the upper-North Island... it could very well affect your life when you least expect it. Firsth thing I did when I got back home afterwards was to grab a big steel drum with a resealable lid, stick a resealable plastic barrel inside that, and build myself a "when the brown smelly hits the spinning-bladed-thing" survival kit: torch, batteries, portable radio, plastic bags, jotter pad and pencils, basic first-aid kit, multi-function leatherman tool, camping stove, etc... which now lives under my kitchen table, where I can grab it easily, stuff it with food and water in a hurry before evacuating or cowering in abject terror as the world shakes away around me.
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