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Te Whiwhinga The Imaginarium Opens To Inspire Students


Te Whiwhinga The Imaginarium opens to inspire students

Students and school aged learners will have a new place to understand the world around them when Auckland Museum’s new education spaces open to the public on Saturday 5th June.

Te Whiwhinga The Imaginarium is the third and final stage of Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira’s visitor transformation that provides a new dedicated education space for learners and an orientation to the Museum’s collections. Outside education group bookings, these new galleries are open to everyone to explore and enjoy.

“The kaupapa for this new development is that learning through play, exploration and discovery helps build knowledge in young people in a more effective and sustained way” says Dr David Gaimster, Chief Executive of Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Te Whiwhinga The Imaginarium is a significant shift in the way Auckland Museum engages with school students. It has been made possible by support from our generous donors, in particular the Douglas Goodfellow Charitable Trust, the Joyce Fisher Charitable Trust, the Becroft Foundation and the Maurice Paykel Charitable Trust.

“Auckland Museum is immensely grateful to have received generous support from these funders who shared our vision to provide an outstanding learning experience for thousands of our Auckland tamariki” he said.

Te Whiwhinga The Imaginarium is split into distinct zones, each with their own unique features:

• The Learning Base – a welcome space with unique collections and stories for school groups to experience as they meet with the Museum’s educators. Four large ‘hero cases’ deliver a wow-factor, showcasing objects that connect the themes of whakapapa (family), korero (story), ahu-tanga (connections) and wahi (place).

This entrée to the Museum cultivates both curiosity and understanding, opening young minds to science and mātauranga Māori.

• Within the Learning Base are the new Learning Labs – adaptable spaces with digital technologies that allow for immersive learning experiences, together with wet activity spaces to allow for science-based programmes. Haumanu – an awe-inspiring art installation comprised of a tree sculpture and floating light canopy, designed and carved by Northland artists Will Ngakuru (Te Roroa, Te Rarawa, Ngapuhi) and Nicole Charles. The story of Rata and the Tree has been the guiding pūrākau behind the installation. Its subtitle is ‘Will you breathe for me?’ and its origin and conception are embedded in te ao Māori. Haumanu is for children to explore stories of the forest and its critical role in sustaining our environment.

• Collections & Connections – inspired by the traditional museum Wunderkammer or ‘cabinets of curiosities’ this large mass-display wall presents visitors with an impressive array of objects from every corner of the museum’s collection. Seventy-four display cases containing over 500 carefully curated individual objects and specimens provide a rich visual feast, inviting visitors to explore these objects in more detail and the many connections among them. The space also highlights individual collectors, celebrating their contributions to our understanding of the world around us through their passion for collecting.

Stephen Lethbridge, Auckland Primary Principals' Association (APPA) President, says “Auckland schools are fortunate to have an amazing learning resource in the Auckland Museum. The Imaginarium galleries are another wonderful resource that all our schools can utilise to provide rich learning opportunities for their students.”

Te Whiwhinga The Imaginarium opens to the public from Saturday 5 June. Schools that wish to arrange a visit can contact the AM Learn team here.

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