Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mind Museum Sneak Peek

The other day, my wife and I plus our boy Vito got a sneak peek of Mind Museum, the Philippines' first dedicated interactive science museum in Bonifacio Global City. The wifey was invited as a blogger by Sun Life, who will be having an exhibit there one day soon (more on that later). Vito and I came along just for fun.

First impressions
No shortage of ambition here. The building is space-age-looking and it's really quite roomy. We weren't alone in our sneak peek though. They were already letting some schools go on tour (Mind Museum is not officially open yet), so there were literally busloads of kids running around inside the museum.

The first person to greet you in Mind Museum is not a person at all -- it's a robot! I heart robots.

The robot's name is Aedi. I see what you did there.

Inside, you're greeted with more space and it's amply filled up with stuff like a life-size T-Rex skeleton, a giant brain, and a butanding hanging in mid-air.

A giant BRAIN!

Interactivity is the name of the game here. You're meant to touch the exhibits, play with them, and by playing with them, learn. This is something that this generation takes to without even thinking. My 18-month old son touches all television screens because he thinks they're all interactive.

I really liked the Light Tunnel. It made me feel like I was in a sci-fi movie.

The T-Rex is a winner of course. You can walk all the way up to its head.

The space exhibits were pretty cool too.

Vito gravitates to anything about cars.

Science Fail
The museum's not finished yet (a lot of the displays had "Under Development" signs on them and weren't working), so I'll go easy on the criticism. One major flaw though was the acoustics. We couldn't hear what the exhibits were saying. We couldn't hear what the guide was saying either. The staff's solution is to provide guides with a portable speaker. This only serves to make them sound like robots (not a good thing in this case), so it's more preferable if they shout instead. That said, isn't this an interactive museum? Why are there guides at all?

Sound problems aside, the exhibits are a mix of good, not-so-good and some genuine head-scratchers. 

One of the coolest looking exhibits. We couldn't figure it out and the little boy quickly lost interest. Found out later that it was about carbon, one of the building blocks of life.

Science win
Mind Museum is still evolving. This is just the beginning, but I saw more far more things to like than dislike.

I was hoping for something truly mind-blowing, like other interactive science museums around the world or the Smithsonian, but well, that's asking for a lot. A museum is an odd mix of science and showmanship/presentation, commerce and education. Lots of stuff can still be improved here. But I remain optimistic and hope we'll get there one day soon. With a new wave of sponsored exhibits coming up (from the likes of Sun Life who's exhibit is all about math, one of my favorite subjects), plus with more experience tucked under their belts, it's entirely possible for Mind Museum to level up. It's already cool as it is now, but if we keep improving things, it could be really special.

So kudos to Mind Museum. They've built it, and people are coming. The kids are learning. It's a win any way you look at it.

When Vito, who's too young for all this, was going to bed, we asked him if he liked the T-Rex. And he replied, "Rar! Rar!" We asked him if he liked the stars, and he pointed to the ceiling (instead of the window) because that's where he saw the stars in the Mind Museum. I don't know why, but I feel like he really learned something, even at the tender age of 18 months.

When Vito was asleep, I went through my pictures, and I saw all the kids were  all having a grand time playing with science. And hey, isn't that what all this is about?


malor said...

Seems like a pretty cool place. We have a membership in our local Science Museum here in Des Moines, IA. My baby is 28 month-old and he enjoys it. They have a place for toddlers. We try to come every week.

At first, I was disappointed at this Science Museum. I have this pre-conceived idea that it should be mind blowing, high tech etc. Instead, it is geared for kids and not kids-at-heart. TO be fair, there is a section with cool exhibits but you have to pay extra. They also have IMAX Dome Theater which is pretty awesome. Last summer they exhibited real human bodies that were donated and preserved. Right now they have exhibit about Egyptian mummies.

Anyway, I think science museum will be good for Philippines. I wish they will build museums in every province in the Philippines.

Tara Cabullo said...

Hi Vince! Thank you again for joining and accepting our invite :) It truly was nice to meet you and Vito and to see Frances again after a number of months. I was also going to say I'm including Vito's picture in my 'Things I Love' post in my personal blog. It was so nice to finally see him and nakakatuwa talaga how excited he was. Thank you for sharing your objective thoughts too!

Hannsen Tan said...

Hi! I'm glad that you enjoyed your visit to the Mind Museum! I'm Hannsen and I'm a mind mover at the museum. We currently have an event this May 18 in celebration of International Museum Day. In part of this celebration, we are conducting a small photo competition featuring photos of people during their stay inside the museum. I was wondering if I can get some of your photos? There will be a prize for the winner of the photo competition, and we will acknowledge the owner of the photos.

The Third World Nerd said...

Hullo Hannsen. I would be happy to join this photo competition. Please send me your contact details so I can send you the photos. My email is