Events and Programs

DISPLAYING POSTS FILED UNDER: Events and Programs (108)

Events and Programs

Lectures, community festivals, activities for kids - lots of stuff to see and do!

Two eclipses for April

Author
by Tanya
Publish date
11 April 2014
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Not one, but two eclipses will occur this month and both are partially visible from Melbourne.

Just before sunset on the 15th April, the Moon will rise already totally eclipsed. It should look quite eerie to see a red moon rising above the eastern horizon and it's always amazing how bright the Moon appears as it moves out of the Earth's shadow and returns to its usual splendour. While you are watching the eclipse, be sure to take a look at Mars, which will be just to the left of the Moon and the bright star Spica (in the constellation of Virgo) that will be found just above.

Lunar Eclipse The progression of a total lunar eclipse in August 2007.
Image: Phil Hart
Source: http://www.philhart.com/
 

Two weeks later on the 29th April, the Moon and Sun will come together in the sky and we'll see a partial solar eclipse. The eclipse will begin during the afternoon and reach its maximum point just before sunset. At the height of the eclipse 64% of the Sun's diameter will be covered by the Moon. The Sun will still be partially eclipsed as it sets below the western horizon.

Solar Eclipse The Moon takes a bite out of the Sun.
Image: Phil Hart
Source: http://www.philhart.com/
 

The timings for both the lunar and solar eclipse can be found from the Planetarium's monthly newsletter – Skynotes – which is a great guide for finding your way around the night sky.

Importantly, lunar eclipses are lovely to watch and you don't need any special equipment. Solar eclipses, on the other hand, require a bit of care and planning. Never look directly at the Sun.

There are safe ways to watch a solar eclipse and the easiest is to purchase special eclipse glasses. They are available from the Scienceworks shop and will allow you to watch the event, while protecting your eyesight.

You can also create a simple "pinhole" projection. It's as easy as making a small pinhole in a piece of paper or cardboard. Do not look through the hole, but allow the Sun to shine through and project an image onto a second piece of cardboard. Even a blank wall or a clear patch of ground can make a good surface for projection.

And as I've mentioned previously on the Museum's blog, sometimes nature helps out too. If you can see sunlight travelling through the leaves of a tree, you’ve got yourself some ready-made pinhole projections. Check the ground and it might be covered with little crescent Sun images, just like this great example from the Astronomy magazine website.

Big weekend for the bells

Author
by Susan Bamford-Caleo
Publish date
20 February 2014
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Susan manages the Federation Handbells lending program.

8 and 9 February will be remembered as a grand weekend for the Federation Handbells with their participation in two very important events in Melbourne.
 
The Federation Handbells and Museum Victoria have an exciting partnership with the Melbourne Recital Centre this year. The first part of this project took place last week with two composition workshops leading to a performance that opened the Melbourne Recital Centre’s 5th Birthday Celebrations on Saturday 8 February. The performance was called Birthday Bells.

Federation Handbells procession The Federation Handbells, after a procession down St Kilda Road to launch the festivities at the Melbourne Recital Centre, lead the way to the Elizabeth Murdoch Hall.
Source: Melbourne Recital Centre
 

The workshops were led by composer Steve Falk and me, with participation from percussionists Eugene Ughetti and Leah Scholes. Those enrolled in the workshops had responded to a general call-out and included people ranging widely in age and background. Over the days that we spent together, playing and creating with the Federation Handbells, a genuine sense of group identity was created, so much so that the participants have asked if we can form a Federation Handbells Players group and suggested that we call it Clang!

The excitement and enthusiasm of the participants and the connection that developed with each other and with the bells was a perfect example of the Federation Handbells fulfilling their commission. Wonderful! 

We very much appreciated the generous assistance and support of Kirsten and the Melbourne Recital Centre staff and can’t wait to get back there for the second part of our joint project, the Federation Handbells Residency (April to September, 2014). 

The other very significant event at which the Federation Handbells appeared that weekend was the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Fifth Anniversary Remembrance Event on Sunday 9 February. The handbells were played in a performance of Risen From The Flame by The Blacksmith’s Tree Youth Choir, a choir consisting of children from fire-affected communities. The children sang and played their composition led by Bridget Muir, a youth worker from Nillumbik Council. The piece was originally written by Bridget and the children for the launch of the Blacksmith’s Tree in Whittlesea in November, 2013.  You can view the performance in this YouTube video:

 

The Federation Handbells have contributed strongly to community involvement in a number of commemorations for the 2009 bushfires over the last five years and it highlights their importance as significant ceremonial instruments for Victorians.
 
We are looking forward to more big weekends with the Federation Handbells as they continue their important role in Victoria and beyond.

All hands on deck with LEGO®

Author
by Bronwyn
Publish date
20 January 2014
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Bronwyn is the manager of MV's Discovery Centres.

Melbourne Museum’s LEGO® Mystery Mosaic summer holiday activity is proving very popular with visitors, and they are assembling mosaic squares faster than we ever anticipated. Our Manager of Education and Community Programs, Georgie Meyer,  put out a call to all museum staff to help prepare the next mosaic board for our enthusiastic visitors.

visitors with lego Melbourne Museum visitors constructing pieces of the mosaic.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Girl holding lego The mosaic is made from 4,600 of these mosaic squares, each covered in coloured tiny LEGO® blocks.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

woman with lego mosaic Susie placing a completed piece onto the mosaic board.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

To keep this activity running, two giant 4m x 2m mosaic boards are rotated; as one board is completed a new one is rolled out. Preparing the new board involves a mammoth effort to unpick 170,000 tiny LEGO® blocks from 4,600 mosaic squares. Georgie and the public programs crew thought we would have a ten day turnaround to do this, however it is taking only five days for our eager visitors to fill a board!

LEGO® Mystery Mosaic James Bond starting to emerge from the mosaic.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Staff from all over the museum – including managers, web programmers, preparators, designers, technicians, volunteers, customer service officers, educators, information services folk, even the CEO – have spent an hour or two at the makeshift drop-in centre to disassemble the mosaic. While taking it apart is perhaps not as much fun as putting it together, it's enjoyable knowing we are contributing to a wonderful visitor experience. 

people unpacking lego Behind the scenes, museum staff and volunteers disassembling the mosaic ready for visitors to construct it again.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

 

The LEGO® Mystery Mosaic runs until 26 January 2014.

Alpine School interviews at Alps Bioscan

Author
by Priscilla
Publish date
7 January 2014
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Priscilla is a Program Coordinator for Life Sciences and works on education programs at Melbourne Museum.

In 1914 and 1915, scientists and field naturalists explored the Alpine region of Victoria. Nearly one hundred years later, we sent our museum's ornithologists, herpetologists, mammalogists, entomologists, palaeontologists, and others out into the field to explore, discover, and record the wildlife – alive and fossilised. This recent expedition in November last year, called the Alpine Bioscan, was a collaboration between Museum Victoria and Parks Victoria to perform a major wildlife census in the eastern region of Victoria’s Alpine National Park, with 100 experts taking part.

black and white photo of men on horses Men and horses during the survey of the Alpine area in 1914 and 1915.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

People with malasie trap Today’s scientists: Mel Mackenzie, MV’s Marine Invertebrate Collection Manager, and Parks Victoria staff inspecting a Malaise trap in the Alps. Malaise traps catch flying insects.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We’ll never know exactly the thoughts and experiences of those early researchers in the black and white photographs – but to ensure that doesn’t happen again, we invited eight students from the Alpine School to become Bioscan Ambassadors. Their role was to interview our scientists, record it and share it. The response from the students was overwhelming; all 45 students in the school wanted to participate. The lucky eight had their names pulled from a hat.

So, on the afternoon of November 28th, I went with MV historian Rebecca Carland to the Alpine School to work with the students and their teacher Nicola. The students learned from Bec how to interview a scientist, what makes a good question, and how to plan and record an oral history to make an interview clip. When they learned that their clips may become a permanent part of the museum’s collection, two students nearly cried with happiness.

eight students at table The eight Bioscan Ambassadors, workshopping their ideas for interviewing the scientists.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

On day two of the project, the students and the scientists met at Omeo Memorial Hall. The students' training put them in good stead for the realities of filming in the field – dealing with difficulties like not being able to film outside due to the rain, bad acoustics, and even unflattering lighting. But, like pros – they pushed on, filming and questioning scientists through the challenges.

Four people around a computer Students editing their clip with assistance from Bec Carland, MV historian and Roger Fenwick, Manager Regional Operations, Parks Victoria.
Image: Heath Warwick
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The result was four great video interviews of Museum Victoria scientists which are now on the Making History channel on Vimeo. In another century, when people look back at the photographs of today’s scientists in the field and wonder who these people were, the students’ films will show them.

This project was supported by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Strategic Partnership Program.

Links:

Interview with Mel Mackenzie

Interview with Mark Norman

Interview with Rolf Schmidt

Interview with Ken Walker

Summer visitors build LEGO mosaics

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
3 January 2014
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This January we have The Brickman in residence at Melbourne Museum! Ryan McNaught is LEGO® Certified Professional - and yes, that means his job is to play with LEGO®.

Ryan created two mystery mosaics for our visitors to construct over the summer holidays. Thousands of coloured plastic bricks, plus the support rig that holds the mosaics, arrived just before Christmas and the fun began on Boxing Day.

Men unloading from truck. Ryan's crew unloading the pieces of the framework designed to support the mystery mosaics.
Image: Rod Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Man assembling frame Assembling the mosaic frames. And what do you use to hold LEGO® baseplates together while you bolt them down? Bits of LEGO®, of course!
Image: Rod Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Men with LEGO® Ryan unpacking hundreds of little numbered square plates, which form the mosaic when covered in LEGO® pieces.
Image: Rod Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Bits of lego Each of the plates are numbered, colour-coded, and correspond to a space on the mosaic frame.
Image: Rod Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

visitors doing lego activity in foyer Visitors began constructing the mystery mosaic in the Melbourne Museum foyer on Boxing Day.
Image: Rod Start
Source: Museum Victoria
 

You can come and help fill in the mosaic between 11:00 and 3:00 every day until 26 January as part of the Summer holiday program at Melbourne Museum.

Great White Sharks at IMAX

Author
by Kate C
Publish date
2 January 2014
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William Winram is a champion freediver and a passionate advocate for the protection of marine ecosystems. He uses his freediving abilities to help monitor shark populations, and he visited Melbourne Museum recently to talk about Great White Shark 3D, a new IMAX film that features him doing exactly that.

William Winram William Winram
Image: Michele Monico
Source: William Winram
 

Most divers use SCUBA breathing apparatus, but freedivers like William reach similar depths while holding their breath. This is a very different way to interact with sharks, as William explains. "When you hold your breath, your heart rate reflexively slows. There's a whole shift, physiologically, that doesn't happen in SCUBA diving." He believes that freediving makes him less intrusive, because "with SCUBA, you're entering as an alien. You're taking apparatus from the surface world, so right away your relationship is totally different." Freedivers can also move more freely in the water column, and don't generate noisy bubbles. "For a lot of species, bubbles are a sign of aggression," says William.  "If a male sea lion is getting upset, he blows bubbles and barks at us. That's how he shows his dissatisfaction."

William Winram preparing William Winram preparing for his world record freedive attempt in September 2013, Egypt.
Image: Alice C. Attaneo
Source: William Winram
 

William describes the sharks he encounters – Great White Sharks, Hammerheads, Tiger Sharks and others – as "shy, curious and cautious predators", quite unlike the killing machines of media and cinema. "Sharks are not obsessed with or addicted to killing, but they do need to eat. They know that we're not their normal diet, so they don't typically eat us." His calm, respectful approach to the world's largest predatory fishes means he is able to tag sharks harmlessly, unlike some other tagging techniques that often kill the animal.

"It's like you're walking down the hallway and I hit you in the rear end with a hypodermic needle. Afterwards you have a little bruise but you're fine." He and his colleagues aim for the thick muscle at the base of the shark's dorsal fin and use a specially modified spearfishing gun. All that's left is a small dart and tag – and these tags are allowing scientists to learn about the feeding behaviour and global movement of sharks. Tagging has also shown that Great White Sharks head for a mysterious area in the middle of the Pacific known as the Shark Café. No one is quite sure what the sharks do there, but it is clear that the animals have complex annual migratory patterns.

He sees Great White 3D as an opportunity to address the misunderstandings about sharks and encourage interest in their conservation. "We like to demonise sharks and we like to glorify other creatures, and all of it is false. People want to have this fantasy, an unreal world where things are either beautiful or ugly, nice or not. Sharks are easy to exploit because they're not cute and cuddly," he says. 

William Winram freediving William Winram freediving with a Great White Shark in Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.
Source: Still from Great White Shark 3D
 

Like all apex predators, Great White Sharks are found in relatively low numbers, yet they are vital in moderating populations of other species. Ecosystems suffer when they lose their apex predators, so the decline in sharks from human activities worries William very much. "We need to understand that we are part of an ecosystem. 50 per cent of the oxygen that we breathe comes from the sea.  At a certain point, if you kill them all off, the sea is done. It's time to respect your position and your role in your ecosystem."

Great White Shark 3D is now playing at IMAX Melbourne Museum.

Links: 

William Winram's website

ABC Science: Great whites hang out in 'shark cafe'

'In deep water' by Tim Winton for the Sydney Morning Herald

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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

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