Stim­u­lat­ing the mind

are mu­se­ums musty, dusty and bor­ing places? Nay, say these teenagers who vis­ited quite a num­ber of them in Stock­holm re­cently.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TRAVEL -

KOLEJ Yayasan Saad Me­laka stu­dents Nur Fati­hah Athira Muhamad, Muham­mad Haris Da­nial Mohd An­war and Amir Fariq Anuar can’t get enough of Stock­holm’s mu­se­ums.

Most teenagers would not de­scribe mu­se­ums as very cool, re­ally in­ter­est­ing and fun but the Na­tional Sci­ence Chal­lenge 2013 cham­pi­ons in­sist that their peers would find these at­trac­tions worth check­ing out – es­pe­cially the Tom Tits Ex­per­i­ment.

Ar­guably more of a lab-work­shop than a mu­seum, the Tom Tits Ex­per­i­ment just out­side of Stock­holm is highly rec­om­mended by the trio.

“We are kids and we love do­ing stuff. Ev­ery­thing here is hands-on. Your brain is con­stantly work­ing as you are try­ing to fig­ure out the puz­zles. It was re­ally fun,” said Nur Fati­hah .

The “very cool games” are a top draw for Haris Da­nial who hopes that Malaysia will one day have a sim­i­lar at­trac­tion.

“Do­ing the puz­zles can re­ally en­hance your IQ and it’s all very in­ter­est­ing. Tom Tits gives you an in­sight into what sci­ence is all about,” he gushed.

Amir Fariq gave it top marks for be­ing re­ally in­ter­est­ing and bizarre. There are so many things to do there, some of which the brainy teens can­not make head or tail of, he shared.

“What was this man (Tom Tits) think­ing when he de­signed this place? Amaz­ing,” he said, nam­ing the Tekniska Museet as a close sec­ond for its Game On 2.0 ex­hi­bi­tion.

“You can see the evo­lu­tion of games and play with ev­ery­thing there. For the most in­ter­est­ing ex­hibit, I’d say the No­bel Mu­seum’s cloth­ing and mu­sic have my vote.

“There is a sec­tion fea­tur­ing pieces of mu­sic and cloth­ing by stu­dents in­spired by the No­bel Lau­re­ates.

“It was fas­ci­nat­ing to see how stu­dents of the arts in­ter­pret sci­ence,” he added.

With Stock­holm hav­ing some 90 mu­se­ums, it’s lit­tle sur­prise that these are among the city’s main tourist at­trac­tions – for all ages.

And by pur­chas­ing the widely avail­able Stock­holm Card, teenagers aged 17 and be­low can use pub­lic trans­porta­tion and en­ter mu­se­ums for free, the trio shared.

“The in­struc­tions are clear. Al­most ev­ery­thing is lo­cated in one area. Travel is re­ally easy, there’s no lan­guage bar­rier and ev­ery­one here is so nice.

“It’s re­ally easy for teenagers to get around,” Nur Fati­hah said.

They would love to see mu­se­ums here liven things up and made more ac­ces­si­ble to teenagers.

In Malaysia, mu­se­ums are gen­er­ally seen as bor­ing be­cause of the way ex­hibits are pre­sented. “Ev­ery­thing is just words. It’s too bor­ing. “We read in schools so we don’t re­ally want to read in mu­se­ums. There’s just too much to re­mem­ber.

“There are lots of ways to present some­thing. Au­dio head­sets with recorded in­for­ma­tion is some­thing we should of­fer vis­i­tors,” Haris Da­nial opined.

Build­ing mu­se­ums closer to each other would en­cour­age more vis­i­tors, es­pe­cially schoolkids, he said, sug­gest­ing that a Na­tional Mu­seum Day be con­sid­ered.

Cit­ing the Tekniska Museet and Vasa Mu­seum as ex­am­ples, Nur Fati­hah said it is a “to­tal mis­con­cep­tion” that mu­se­ums are a bore.

“Look at the Vasa. There was a game that al­lowed vis­i­tors to de­sign a ship and see whether it would sink or float. “Our mu­se­ums need to be more cre­ative. “The way we present our ex­hibits must be more in­ter­ac­tive and dif­fer­ent. We should have more ad­ver­tise­ments and change our ex­hi­bi­tions more of­ten,” she said.

Amir Fariq agreed, say­ing mu­se­ums that act as dis­play cab­i­nets just don’t work. “Stock­holm’s mu­se­ums make learn­ing easy. “The Malaysian mind­set is that mu­se­ums are bor­ing so we don’t have the ini­tia­tive to go even if there is some­thing in­ter­est­ing hap­pen­ing.

“Even if we im­proved on our mu­se­ums, it will still be tough to con­vince people to go be­cause Malaysians pre­fer theme parks,” he said, adding that be­sides chang­ing the way we dis­play our ex­hibits, a mu­seum-lov­ing cul­ture needs to be cul­ti­vated.

The Na­tional Sci­ence Chal­lenge 2013 was jointly or­gan­ised by the Academy of Sci­ences Malaysia, ExxonMo­bil Sub­sidiaries Malaysia, the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry, Young Sci­en­tists Net­work and Univer­siti Putra Malaysia. The prize for the na­tion­wide com­pe­ti­tion was a 12-day trip to Stock­holm, Swe­den. The trip in­cluded vis­its to mu­se­ums and at­tend­ing No­bel lec­tures, the of­fi­cial No­bel Prize re­cep­tion for re­cip­i­ents and the award pre­sen­ta­tion cer­e­mony.

(From left) Muham­mad Haris da­nial Mohd an­war, Nur Fati­hah athira Muhamad and amir Fariq anuar tak­ing a closer look at the ex­hibits at the tom tits ex­per­i­ment, Stock­holm.

the Kolej yayasan Saad stu­dents pos­ing with the an­i­mals in Skansen Mu­seum and Zoo.

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