I visited the Glasgow Science Centre for the first time today, and, actually, it is really good. As museums go it wouldn’t normally be my thing, I like museums to be filled with paintings, sculptures, photography and curiosity. Somewhere you can admire the shear brilliance of the artist, the clarity of vision, technique used and the mastering of a craft so few can manage. I also like natural history museums, the craft involved in nature is more than the equal of anything man can produce, and is so often awe-inspiring.
So whilst my invite down to the museum was a pleasant surprise I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Firstly I went to the Imax cinema, they showed an educational film about the international space station – in 3D. Wow. 3D is great. I’ve seen 3D before but not for a long time and I’d forgotten just how visually stunning it can be. The story of the space station is interesting, it is a worthy and well made documentary but when combined with 3D film it is simply stunning. You get a genuine sense of actually being on board coupled with a feel for the scale of their mission. Why 3D technology isn’t more popular in film making I’m not sure, but I’d recommend a visit because it is a truly different cinematic experience.
I also visited the Science Mall, this was fun. It takes up 3 floors and is bright, colourful and noisy, well it is when it is full of schoolchildren having an utter ball. It has exhibits big and small, interactive, hands on and entertaining. It was clear walking about just how much the children there were enjoying themselves, it was also clear how many of the more self conscious adults would have liked to join in! You could spend a day in the science mall alone however I didn’t have a day so it was on to the planetarium for some astronomy. Like 3D cinema planetariums have been about for a long time however this doesn’t make them any less interesting, and it was a welcome sit-down after pounding the science mall. Living in Glasgow I don’t get to really see the night sky very often, light pollution and bad weather hinder in the winter and the hugely extended daylight in the summer. So the planetarium is a pleasant reminder of just what is up there. It is easy to understand why astronomy seemed so important historically. Despite the soothing voice of the narrator pointing them out though I’m still baffled how people looked up and saw bulls, crabs, twins and all the rest up there. However don’t let my lack of imagination put you off, it is and entertaining and very relaxing experience.
The Science Centre is an independent charity and it needs all the support it can get. It is easy to get to on the south bank of the Clyde opposite the SECC and it has a big car park right outside. The staff seem friendly and knowledgeable and it is well laid out and easy to follow. It’s everything a modern museum should be, and on a cold, wet February day a perfect place to while away a few hours.