by Shrida Sahadevan
I must have been seven or eight when I first walked through the heavy doors of the gigantic (especially at that age) museum-like building. The ceiling seemed endless and my eyes searched the foyer in anticipation. My parents took my hands and led me through the various rooms and exhibits. I vaguely remember learning about magnets and soil erosion and the Arctic. I don’t exactly remember everything I saw and learned that day, or what all the exhibits were about; what I do remember is leaving the building with a newfound curiosity that was simmering and waiting to be stoked. After that first visit, whenever I left the building after various trips, I always felt like I had explored the world and so much more. I knew that every visit would be a different experience.
I often think back on my childhood trips to the Telus World of Science as the activities that shaped my interest in the field of science. A regular venue of many school trips and summer camps, this science centre encompasses assets: an IMAX theatre where I have watched documentaries- including many in the BBC Earth series, a planetarium, exhibits, and an observatory that assist in the exploration of scientific pursuits related to our cosmic regions, including star gazing. Amongst these exhibits are seasonal shows that are curated to bring a sense of worldly perspective to various topics – a few of which I attended include “Body Worlds” and “The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes.” Despite some extensive changes over the years, from its name ( first “Edmonton Space and Science Centre,” to “Odyssium” to its current name) to physical renovations, one thing has remained constant: the Telus World of Science has always been the hub of many interactive demonstrations geared towards engaging the public in science.
Though not unique to Edmonton (there are other Telus Science Centres in Calgary and Vancouver), I believe this museum plays a special role in fostering the love of science in young minds, and in those like myself who wish for further engagement outside of our normal lives. Though there are many opportunities to engage in enrichment activities centered on science now, there weren’t that many options when I was young. Attending The Telus World of Science with my parents or friends often felt like a treat, despite its science-centered activities. I learned about being a detective, solved the problems and puzzles, and so much more. I do find it hard to remember all the activities and shows I attended during my visits, but I can never forget the feeling I had when I left the museum after my first visit.
Recently, I have visited the museum not only as as an attendee to the exhibits, but also as a volunteer with my eight-year-old’s sister’s field trips. It is interesting to revisit the centre as I did as a child, but it also provides another perspective. I enjoy seeing the wonder in the children’s eyes, including my sister’s, when they look at a specimen through a microscope, or seeing them scrunch their nose in disgust when they smell a “new” scent that they need to identify.
I truly appreciate this science museum, as it brings together a group of invested individuals, including staff, instructors, and volunteers, who work collaboratively to inspire the next generation of science enthusiasts and future scientists. I was one of those children who was inspired to further my knowledge in the science field, which culminated in my Bachelor and Master of Science degrees. The Telus World of Science was a place that showed me that solving problems was not difficult and cumbersome, but rather a source of enjoyment.
Though I do not go to the Telus World of Science as often as I used to, the impact it has made on me has been very long-lasting, similar to the impact it has made on my eight-year-old sister. I hope it continues to make its mark on the young minds yet to come.
Banner design courtesy of Wanderer Online Culture Editor Shrida Sahadevan.