Due to a massive network outage affecting multiple Web hosting companies, the blog and forum were down for the better part of the day. Sites are back up but not sure how stable things are.
There may or may not be a blog post tonight. — Blogmom
Blogmom’s blood pressure is slowly coming down after wrestling with a technical problem on the blog.
A calming photo of my cat Joe Boxer.
A couple of years ago I visited Vancouver Island with friends. I didn’t really need a reason to visit The Butchart Gardens – it is, after all, a National Historic Site of Canada – but when my friend mentioned roses it may have taken wild horses to stop me…
We were visiting in the summer and the day we were there it was quite warm and very sunny. Unfortunately, I discovered a few deficiencies in my camera’s abilities (some of which were my fault due to it being new and unfamiliar) but hopefully you will still enjoy this little selection of photos.
Not far along the first walk was a covered area with dozens of fuchsia in hanging baskets. I couldn’t get the photo that truly conveyed how overwhelmingly large the display was. So I had to settle for individual shots.
The Gardens were started over 100 years ago. The vision required to “see” this result when confronted with a quarry is amazing.
Those familiar with the Pacific North West will know how easily moss grows…. Take some notes – it can be used to great advantage in the garden!
Animals like these were dotted all over the gardens. My favourite was the squirrel but the photo came out too blurry to use. :(
The rose gardens were lovely. Most of my photos don’t do them justice. (I’ll have to go back again…!) We’d missed the spring flush of blooms but there were still quite a few in bloom.
This arbour was very inspiring. Want.
Within the gardens there are various theme gardens. So, besides the rose garden and sunken garden there was also the Italian garden and the Japanese garden.
The summer flowers were in and there were begonias everywhere in the garden beds. I’ve always been a little ho-hum about begonias. This experience changed my mind!
And finally, the Gardens have the only carousel on Vancouver Island:
If you ever get the opportunity to get to Vancouver Island then visit the Gardens. In summer they have fireworks in the evenings too (check their website for times though). And they have a lovely giftshop… ;)
One of the first questions that comes up in any social situation is “so, what do you do?” When I worked in retail, I said, “I sell stuff!” and the conversation pretty much stopped there. But now that my answer is “I’m an exhibit developer,” the questioner usually gives me a knowing look and a nod, followed by a frown, followed by a slightly embarrassed, “Er… So what does THAT mean, exactly?”
Glad you asked! As it happens, my real-life job is working on exhibits at a huge children’s museum. We’re one of the oldest such museums in the US (there are two older than us, I think) and we’re also one of the only large collections-based children’s museums in the states as well. What that means, essentially, is that while we focus on children and families as our primary audience, we are more than just sand tables and splash areas.
We have a tremendous collection of over 120,000 objects, ranging from toys to dinosaur bones to 19th century dresses to Maori war clubs to old television sets to birds’ eggs to real samurai armor, and everything in between. Our challenge is to create exhibits that use these objects in ways that encourage learning and questioning between kids and their adults—and while the objects usually can’t be touched by our visitors, we try to come up with all kinds of ways to promote hands-on learning and engagement for them. And that’s where I come in! I work with the curators and designers to develop the messages of our exhibits; then later in the process I write labels and work with our production team to create interactive stations that are more than just “Push a button to hear the cow moo!”
My first full on exhibit project with the museum was LEGO Castle Adventure. In addition to writing labels about real-life castles and how those castles were planned and built, I got to come up with an activity involving a catapult. Because—come on, right? There HAD to be a catapult. Since the exhibit was about building strong castles, though, we didn’t want to have an activity about knocking castles down… so the creative media team and I worked to put together a game where kids could build a virtual castle wall, making choices (thick/thin, blocks stacked or interlocked, etc) and then crank and release a giant LEGO catapult to “test” their wall. It was…. popular. :) The exhibit is still travelling around, being rented by other museums, so if you see the catapult, tell it I said hi.
My most recent project was a kind of pop-up exhibit we put together for Spring Break at the museum. We combined stuff from our pop culture collection and stuff from our world cultures collection to create an exhibit talking about super powers and characters from around the world. The figure above is a painted wood statue of a villain from the Ramayana named Ravana; one of his attributes is wisdom, evinced by his ten heads (because he is as wise as 10 ordinary men, of course.) Below is a more generally familiar character who you may recognize…
The costume’s from the nearly unwatchable “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze.” Cool costume, great character, dreadful film.
We didn’t have a lot of time to develop a really elaborate interactive station for this one, so I went with a simple but (I hope!) fun fill-in-the-blank activity that let kids make up their own superheroes and villains while practicing basic reading and creative decision-making. I thought that little guys would have fun with this, but was surprised how many older kids and adults also seemed to really get a kick out of turning the dials and picking their hero’s “superpowers.”
So that’s what I do. I work with an amazing team of people to make some out-of-this-world exhibits for families to learn from and enjoy. Sometimes it’s stressful, like any job, but overall it’s a blast—I’m never bored, and I love my work. Come visit our museum sometime and you’ll see why!
Hello all; I’m your friendly neighborhood moderator, Black Bear. As you’re all no doubt well aware, Robin’s a little overwhelmed at the moment with veterinary troubles. Having a sick animal is no fun. But having 3 sick animals all at once is… well, fairly dreadful, obviously. So the forum moderator gang (or as we like to call ourselves, the Mod Squad) has offered to take over the blog for Robin for a week so that she can concentrate fully on work, the dogs, and minor daily tasks like eating and sleeping.
So welcome to Mod Squad Week! (SPX: thunderclap here) Just to give you a taste of what to expect from us, I can promise you the coming week will contain at least trace amounts of all of the following:
PHOTOS and MORE PHOTOS
Plus some other goodies as we come up with them, I expect.
Please do continue sending Robin your best wishes for the dogs via last night’s forum thread, and if there are any major updates to be shared, they will be. Shared, that is. If you are a die-hard Robin fan who would just as soon take a pass on a week of guest-blogging, please be aware that at present, it is still Robin’s plan to post the next chapter of KES this Saturday. So if you tune out for a few days, our feelings won’t be hurt–just don’t forget to tune back in for KES over the weekend! Then it’ll be back to guest blogs for a few more days, to give Robin a full week off.
Right. Any questions? No? Good. On with the show!