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See, hear, feel and taste science at The Mind Museum


Summer weekends are often spent watching a movie, or taking a dip at the swimming pool—anything to cool down. For most kids, the two-month vacation means a welcome break from school—that is, if they aren't enrolled in workshops or summer classes.
 
Set to open on March 16, The Mind Museum in Taguig City offers an opportunity for families to spend time together doing what many progressive schools aim to achieve—learn while having fun. The 12,500-square-meter space has over 250 interactive exhibits, an outdoor Science-in-the-Park, and a Botanical Garden.  
Visitors can walk through the Human Brain exhibit and see which areas light up when you sense, feel or think.
 
As a child, I loved going to the Philippine Science Centrum, which was then located at the University of the Philippines campus in Manila. With my dad as my museum guide, I would spend hours looking at the exhibits. Whenever we would visit the museum, it would be quiet and empty, and I always felt a bit like I was wandering around inside a church, and the exhibits were sacred objects. 
 
The Science Centrum has since transferred to Riverbanks Center in Marikina City, to what seems to be a smaller space. Of course, it's also because I've grown quite a bit in the past two decades.
 
Returning to old museums is always somewhat disappointing. Not surprisingly, the actual visits never live up to expectations, which are admittedly unrealistic given the nostalgia that comes with returning to childhood haunts. So I was very excited, to say the least, when I heard about The Mind Museum.  
 
Spaceship structure
 
The excitement only grew as I saw the museum slowly take shape. Designed by Lor Calma & Partners architect Ed Calma, the massive building looks like a spaceship. Although futuristic, the look was inspired by cellular growth and structures, which is one of the many topics featured inside the museum. The structure itself is an exhibit, with its solar reflective exterior, natural wind ventilation and rainwater flow drainage.
 
Project proponent Bonifacio Art Foundation, Inc. says the objective is for visitors to learn some practical applications of environmental sustainability. This, of course, is apart from the main objective, which is to open minds to appreciate and support the sciences.
 
Saying a science museum is essential for our nation to help address the significant gap in its math and science education, The Mind Museum explains it will not be a substitute for schools, but rather a way to help breed scientific literacy. 
 
At the pre-launch reception on December 15 last year, President Benigno Aquino III said in his speech delivered by Vice President Jejomar Binay that The Mind Museum promises to be an important resource for science education. 
 
"Learning is always beneficial, but it becomes especially rewarding when it has something to do with the things going on around us... The more we learn, the more we want to learn, the more we feel an attraction to the answers and further questions that lie ahead, ultimately leading us toward a brighter future," Aquino said.  
The Light Bridge connects the Atom Gallery to the Universe Gallery.
 
Unique
 
The Mind Museum isn't the first and only science museum in the country, but it is unique in the sense that it is the result of a close collaboration between the arts and sciences. 
 
Many of the exhibits are original, and were designed by Filipino artists, scientists and engineers, including faculty and designers from the College of Fine Arts of the University of the Philippines and the University of Sto. Tomas.
 
Visitors are allowed to explore the museum at their own pace, but there are Mind Movers around who can give additional information as well as answer questions about the exhibits. Not your average museum guides, the Mind Movers are mostly science teachers who are trained so that they can explain even the complicated concepts to the visitors, whether they're 6 or 60 years old.   
Memorizing the periodic table of elements is easier with familiar objects representing each element.
 
When planning a trip to the museum, it's best to be prepared for a lot of walking. The Mind Museum has five galleries, designed to focus on the Universe, Earth, Life, the Atom, and Technology. 
 
After spending at least a couple of hours exploring the museum, you can expect to know who Jethro Tull is, as well as how to create your own carbon compound models. 
 
Not all exhibits are for everyone, and kids will probably gravitate toward the games. 
 
The 40-foot T.rex skeletal exhibit, cast from real fossils, is a sure hit, as well as the timeline of hominid evolution, which features models created with painstaking attention to detail, as the hairs were attached one by one.   
The Human Story shows evolution from australopithecine "Lucy" to Homo Sapiens.
 
The mini planetarium called the Spaceshell was another favorite, because lying down on memory foam while "gazing" is irresistible, especially after hours of walking.
 
A few days before the museum's opening, a number of exhibits were still under construction. It was also a bit dark, making it difficult to read some of the exhibit captions. We also thought that it might be good to have the captions in Filipino and not just in English.  
 
Despite these, we were so engrossed in the experience that we didn't realize the afternoon had come and gone. There was so much to read, look at, listen to, touch, and even smell. Even three hours weren't enough to really appreciate all the pieces. Fortunately, it's the kind of museum that even the kids will want to visit over and over again. –KG, GMA News
 
The Mind Museum is at J.Y. Campos Park, 3rd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Operating hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday starting March 16.
 
For more information, visit http://www.themindmuseum.org.
 
Photos courtesy of The Mind Museum
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