Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum in Honolulu is part natural history, part local culture and part science center. It is a collection of several different themed buildings situated around a large common area, sort of like a Hawaii-specific Smithsonian.

It is situated on a hillside overlooking the city of Honolulu so you can see the skyline clearly as you move from one building to another or sit and eat lunch on a bench.
You couldn't take pictures in most of the cultural buildings so i have no pictures of the sperm whale skeleton or the feather standards and capes and the thousands of other cool things that i saw, but you could take pictures in the travelling exhibit space and the science center.  
Did i mention that it is windy?
My favorite thing in the science center was its central volcano Obviously, since the entire state is a chain of active and dormant volcanoes, the science of geology is key. inside of this massive model there are text panels and hands-on activities to explore various parts of a volcano and even a way to climb around inside the walls and then slide down.
At the top there is bubbling magma
with buttons to manipulate gas spurts
and lava plumes.
Underneath the model there is the Hotspot theater where there are demos on both the cultural/religious explanation of the formation of the islands and the science of a hotspot volcano. In this picture the second performer is pouring lava.
Yes, real, honest to goodness lava.
They heat volcanic glass until molten and then pour it right in front of you. It is amazing. You can feel the heat blast even though the audience is a safe distance away. You can hear it cracking as it cools and they pass around different types of lava.
If you ever find yourself at Bishop i highly recommend this demo. It was one of the most astonishing things i saw in Hawaii.
One of the others was the near constant rainbows in the clouds. The rain would be blown in from somewhere else so it would be wet, but sunny or dry with rainbows.

1 comment:

Douglas said...

And why doesn't BMOS have a lava pouring demo? Huh? Well?