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