Posts Tagged ‘museum’

Intech aka Winchester Science Centre

31 December, 2016

On Thursday I took Isaac to Intech in Winchester. I previously went around 14 years ago when they first opened the current site for an event through work involving encouraging the new generation of kids to take an interest in science and technology, and had been meaning to take Isaac when he was old enough to enjoy the exhibits.

Intech6The centre is made up of two large floors of interactive exhibits, and although at 3 years old he can’t really appreciate the science behind them, I thought he was old enough to make the most of a day out. I wasn’t wrong as we spent five and a half hours there… and only left because it was closing time!

It was reasonably busy, being a cold Winters day in the school holidays, but not so much so that you had to wait more than one turn to have a go at anything.  Isaac was particularly fascinated with an exhibit called the Colon Café where you had to use a touch screen to chose some food choices, which produced a ticket you could then scan in various places inside a giant pink “colon” tunnel.

Intech8There was also a number of light tables where you could look at x-ray style pictures. There was a large human skeleton which was broken into pieces so you could put it together like a jigsaw – another favourite we had to visit around 6 times!

Some of the exhibits were a little dated, and a few not working, plus there was a large section of floor space fenced off downstairs which made it look a bit tatty.  Overall though there was plenty of exhibits to entertain.

In the centre of the lower floor was a walled, circular soft play area with sofas around the edge – a perfect excuse to chill out for a while safe in the knowledge the little man was enjoying himself and safe!

We visited the café for lunch – there was rather a long queue as they only had one working till, but the food was reasonable – Isaac had the kids meal deal of a sandwich, drink and three snack items for £4.95 which is pretty on par with most places.

The cost for an adult and child ticket was just about the £20 mark, so coupled with £10 for lunch it wasn’t a cheap day out, but I do think he really enjoyed it, and it saved me a day hanging out in the freezing cold outdoors somewhere!  There was a large indoor picnic area too so we could have taken lunch, although I am sure he’d have still dragged me for something else in the café.

One thing that was a bit disappointing was the lack of baby changing facilities, given that it is aimed at families.  There appeared to be just one upstairs and one downstairs and we ended up with quite a wait.

I’d like to go back sometime when he is older and visit the planetarium cinema too, although that costs extra again.

The Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester

23 November, 2016

So the flyers said it was an award winning museum… and it certainly sounded cool, boasting life-sized reconstructions and hands-on displays.  So as we were looking for something a little more sedate, and trying to avoid the swimming pool and play areas following Isaac’s 24 hour sick bug we thought we’d give it a try.

dorset59As we drove up I could see a dinosaur outside – and yes it was large – but something in my head was making me wonder whether these “awards” were a bit like Rhod Gilbert’s Award Winning Mince Pie. (Which if you haven’t seen I highly recommend!)  It may have been that the building looked smaller than my house and the dinosaur outside was just literally that in a little fenced off courtyard by the building.  But we carried on in.

Inside, we paid up for the three of us – £22. We were handed a sheet of paper and pencil for Isaac, along with a magnifying glass.  It turned out that hidden through the museum there were a number of “clues” (letters) which spelt out something. On completion of the treasure hunt you got a prize.

Inside the museum was made up of about 5 rooms on two floors – rooms about the size of those in a normal house. Three of them were packed with all sorts of displays – from life size dinosaurs to fossils. One room had a large TV screen showing some short documentary. And then final room was a sort of kids interaction room – e.g. it had a number of boxes you could put your hand in to guess what was inside, or a couple of things where you had to guess whether a dinosaur would feel like this or that.

dorset63Overall we were there a lot longer than I expected given how small it was – but mainly because Isaac thought it was insanely funny to keep squeezing the horn inside one of the boxes. We sort of tried to encourage him to find the clues, but he wasn’t really interested.  Our “prize” at the end was a cheap plastic medal.

I can see they had tried to put on interactive displays, and there was a couple of iPads dotted around to make it look like it hadn’t all been there since prehistoric times, but overall I felt it was possibly more suited to school visits.  Paying £6 for Isaac, at just 3 years old, felt too much as he really was too young to appreciate most of it.  I think they should have made it free for under 5s.

Milestones Museum

6 September, 2009

Last weekend I went on a low light photography workshop and really want to get out and practice a little more now that I’d had a chance to see the results from the day on the computer.  The weather for my weekend off wasn’t supposed to be good so it seemed like the perfect excuse to find a local museum.

WatchmakersAfter a bit of a search I discovered Milestones Museum in Basingstoke.  It is a living history museum set all inside a massive modern building, so everything is undercover.  I gave them a quick call to check it was okay to do photography – no problem – and then head off there on Wednesday.

Once you get inside Milestones everything is laid out like a little village, with streets full of little shops.  On arrival you can pick up one of their information sets which you carry around with you, and play at various points to learn more about the artifacts.  As I was busy taking photographs though I didn’t bother.

Nuts for saleIn addition to the shops there is a pub, village green, warehouse representing the Thornycroft factory and a few exhibition areas.  Currently there is an exhibition on the Red Cross and an area displaying different house interiors through the years.  There is even a place where people can have a go at dressing up in period costumers to have their photographs taken.

It turned out to be the perfect place to go take some photographs – there was so much to see, all indoors away from the rain and I had no problem wandering around with my camera and tripod without getting in people’s way.  Quite a few things are behind glass windows in the little shops but I found little problem with the reflective glare from the glass.

TypewriterI am really pleased with the results from the day.  I’ve got some really interesting photographs, totally different from my normal landscapes and animals.  I am getting the hang of changing the exposure and ISO to get the best shot and generally getting more familiar and comfortable with my camera.

Lots more photographs from the museum can be found on my Flickr set.

Low Light Photography

1 September, 2009

I’ve got to know my camera reasonably well having had it a year now, but I typically seem to take the same sort of photographs – countryside and animals.  Mainly because I have the opportunity thanks to working at Marwell and enjoying countryside walks.  However, I really wanted to try something a bit different.

Green machineJPGLater this year a friend has asked me to be the photographer for their civil ceremony, and as most of that photography is likely to be indoors I thought that learning some more about low light photography would be interesting and prove useful.  I booked myself on the Low Light and Fill-in Flash workshop with Going Digital.  These are the same people I did the Explore your Digital Camera workshop with earlier this year, which I thought was very good and worth the money.

This course was run at Pitstone Green Museum in Buckinghamshire.  It is a small rural life museum run by volunteers, and only opens a few times a year so we had the place to ourselves.  There was only 5 of us on the workshop, which meant a good chance to get some one to one help and pick up some tips from the tutor.

In the darkThe first part of the course was spent inside one of the rooms in the museum learning about how we can change exposure, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and flash settings in order to change the lighting of the photograph.  It was surprising how differently the camera sees a situation to what we can see with our eyes.  We then experimented with different situations to get to know how to change the various settings in our own cameras to get the desired effect.

After lunch we went out into the museum.  We’d been set a series of exercises to get us trying out what we’d learnt.  We tried close up shots in low light situations, wide angle shots with different light settings and backlit situations with and without the use of fill-in flash.

Wagon WheelThe final part of the day was to get back together in the classroom to review some of the photographs people had taken and see what effect the different settings had.  It was amazing to see how people had managed to take the same shots but producing very different effects.

I really enjoyed the day, but it went very quickly!  Having had a chance to review my photographs I’d like another practical session with similar situations as it isn’t until you get back to the computer you can really see if things have come out the way you wanted.  So I’m now on the hunt for some more local sites where I might get a similar opportunity.

The rest of my photographs from the day can be found on my Flickr set.

Natural History Museum

12 January, 2008

Natural History MuseumToday, we decided to go to the Natural History Museum.  I hadn’t been since I was much younger so I fancied going back, and I also saw they had the Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition going on which appealed as I like wildlife and photography!  Entry to the museum is free, and the exhibition costs £7 – but if you travel to London by train you can get 2 entry tickets for the price of 1 with a voucher from the Days Out Guide website.

We started at the photography exhibition where the winners, runners up and highly commended photographs in each category where displayed on light boxes.  The categories ranged from different groups of animals and birds, to children’s categories and some special awards.  There was some stunning photographs, and also some which I was surprised to see had won over others.  The age 11-14 children’s category was particularly impressive with one of my favourite’s being a shot of some wildebeest.  It has inspired me to keep up with my wildlife photography and possibly even try entering! 

DinosaurAfter the photography exhibition we headed in to see the dinosaurs.  It was quite crowded as it was a Saturday, but we enjoyed wandering through the gallery.  We then went through the rest of the blue zone, seeing the mammals and marine life.  In the gallery where the giant blue whale is housed there are a number of huge whale skeletons which were very impressive.

One of my favourite areas of the museum was in the red zone where they had a gallery of gemstones, rocks and minerals.  I find it fascinating the different patterns, colours and shapes that come from nature and some were truly beautiful.

FossilsThe museum is huge and you could easily spend days there reading and looking at everything.  Whilst it is nice that it is free to go in, it is a shame they don’t ask a small token fee of a couple of pounds, just to help keep the exhibits maintained.  Some of the interactive areas could easily be spruced up.  The building it is housed in is also stunning, and I could easily have spent time just taking photographs outside!  All in all I enjoyed our visit.

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