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Auckland Museum Explores Magic of the Rose

Media Release: 17 November, 2009

Is there any flower more romantic than the rose? On 4 December, Auckland Museum opens the second chapter of its Wonderland exhibition: The Magic of the Rose. The exhibition unravels the fascinating lineage of this flower family and explores fabulous tales of love, passion and secrecy that have made the rose revered by royalty, praised by poets, and enjoyed by gardeners around the world.

Wonderland: The Magic of the Rose embraces cutting-edge technology to bring stories of the rose to life in vivid detail. These innovations are fused with striking exhibition design to creative a truly immersive experience.

The Magic of the Rose is the second chapter in a two-part exhibition exploring the world’s most popular flowers. The first chapter, Wonderland: The Mystery of the Orchid, opened in July and was visited by over 20,000 people.

“Wonderland is about telling the stories of our favourite flowers in fun and accessible ways,” says Auckland Museum director, Dr Vanda Vitali. “The iconic image of the rose has infused itself with art, myth and legend since the dawn of civilization. This is a chance for Aucklanders of all ages to discover the rose’s allure in a unique setting.”

Since the first European settlers arrived, roses have proved immensely popular in New Zealand. Wonderland includes stories of heritage rose species, some of which were thought to be lost to the world, until rediscovered here.

The rose lies at the heart of the language of love, and in Wonderland you can listen to its symbolic use in romantic poems by George Elliot and Robbie Burns. Also, investigate the ancient art of extracting rose oil, valued weight-for-weight more than gold

Drawing from the Museum’s rich collections, the Rose Fashionistas section of Wonderland looks at the popularity of the rose motif over time – from elaborate kimonos to elegant dresses of the 1930s.

As well as examining the rose’s inspiration on culture, Wonderland explores the flower’s pollination process through the eyes of a bee. See how a bee sees and stop to smell the roses in the scent station. A multi-touch screen ‘pollinator’ allows you to pollinate a virtual garden.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a full programme of activities including panel discussions moderated by Maggie Barry, Fabulous Fridays and live performances with special guests. Children are in for a treat with a school holiday programme that is jam packed with exciting events. Inspired by The Magic of the Rose and Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, Midsummer at the Museum offers family audiences a charming live performance experience. Other highlights include craft workshops, guided tours, interactive trails, as well as sleepover.

What: Wonderland: The Magic of the Rose

When: Opens Friday, 4 December

Where: Special Exhibitions Hall, Auckland Museum

Cost: Adults $8, Members and Concession $6, Children FREE


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