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Planetarium and Science Gallery

Perpetual Guardian Planetarium. Source: Otago Museum.

Craig Borley, Ambitious science gallery a sellout success, Otago Daily Times, 12 January 2016

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 out.

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 Griffin said.

“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 positive.”

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 local content.”

That local content meant the shows could not be seen anywhere else in the world, yet were of a world-class quality, Dr Griffin said.

“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 that.”

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.

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