ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE DARK
Exhibition on energy, open until 3.2.2013
ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE DARK is a story about energy. The title refers to the stages in the history of humankind and its energy consumption. For thousands of years people lived and operated at the pace set by the sun and using energy provided by the sun and nature. That was until new methods of energy production changed the pace of life and the concept of time, turning on artificial lights and setting machines rolling. The onset of the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century marked a culmination point in the history of humankind and the Earth. If we were to compare the night view from space, our planet would look very different today to how it did a hundred let alone a thousand years ago. But, all development comes with a downside. New innovations triggered off a huge increase in energy consumption, and now our inventions and technology-driven lifestyles have brought us to a situation where a large part of our environment has become polluted and natural resources are becoming scarce. The biggest threat to our future is global warming. Is that where we are heading?
Exhibition for children and young people
Different lifestyles have always existed around the world, and many types of housing, transport and livelihood have also coexisted in the industrial era. This exhibition presents ways of life that differ from the technology-driven lifestyle we are accustomed to and offers us the opportunity to compare them with ours. The introductory film provides Finnish children's perspectives on the basic themes covered by the exhibition: creativity, technology and the world of goods. By drawing comparisons with other cultures we can see these through the eyes of an outsider. A comparison between the contents of the Khanty tent at the beginning of the exhibition and the wealth of electrically-powered items found in a technology-based home also acts as a gateway to the themes covered by the exhibition.
Photos, comic strips, toys and models help visitors become familiar with inventions in the fields of transport and lighting. The story of energy continues with the presentation of four cultures. The first is that of nomadic Siberian reindeer herders whose traditional lifestyle leaves a zero carbon footprint. Then there is Western Africa, where clay is commonly used to make both buildings and household items and scrap metal is used to make lamps and other essentials. Meanwhile, in Kerala, India, most agricultural work still takes place manually, and draft oxen are a familiar sight in fields, while vegetarianism is a core value of the Hindu religion. Lastly, the Chinese street eatery and bicycle repair shop tell their own story about the change taking place in a rapidly urbanising and industrialising country. Each cultural section also contains references to mythologised natural elements: water, fire, earth or air.
The exhibition does not take a stand on what might be right or wrong in energy consumption and production. The key message is to encourage awareness among children and young people as well as adults and inspire everyone to think, make considered choices and save energy for the benefit of our shared environment and planet. The Earth is the only home we have.
Activities and workshops
The exhibition offers plenty of things for children and school groups to do.
POWER? is a room where visitors can see how electricity is generated with a solar panel located on the roof of the building and the way it is utilised in solar-hydrogen technology for energy production. COMPLETELY DARK is a room where visitors pedal on exercise bikes to generate power for lamps and see what the Earth looks like from space at night. THREAD OF LIFE is a room where visitors can try out a foot-powered sewing machine that works without electricity.
In the workshop area visitors can do things independently using the instructions and materials provided, and there is also a display cabinet with items made of recycled and renewable materials from different parts of the world. The museum website has extensive educational material that schools and young visitors can use freely. The exhibition also includes an area for the presentation of a variety of projects related to renewable and natural sources of energy.
The scripts for ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE DARK were written by personnel of the Museum of Cultures. Exhibition architecture was designed by Jouni Kaipia and lighting by Kimmo Karjunen. The introductory film was designed and produced by Mirja Metsola/Metsola Media, comic strips by Terhi Ekebom, workshop concepts and magnet board by Nelli Tanner and exercise bikes by Hessu Turunen. The educational material was created by Anna Kemiläinen.
Principles of sustainable development and recycling were followed in exhibition structures and lighting.
Many thanks to the exhibition sponsors: Development Communications, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Motiva Oy, Oy Alfred A. Palmberg Ab, Autohoito Oy, Radioduo Oy, SavehteC Oy, WinWinD Oy and all the private persons contributing.
Pilvi Vainonen, Curator of education
tel. +358 40 128 6432
Eija-Maija Kotilainen, Director
tel. +358 40 128 6431