[Newsletter - December 2021] Looking for 'Leonardo"
Looking for "Leonardo" Dec 13, 2021
The ASPAC Annual Conference Goes Back to the HongKong Science Museum My name is Patrick Lau and I work at the Hong Kong Science Museum with the STEM unit. The ASPAC Virtual Conference 2021, hosted by our museum, concluded successfully on November 24 despite all the difficulties and uncertainties amid the coronavirus pandemic. I was happy to contribute by moderating the plenary session about how technologies reshape science centres/museums. This was the second time the ASPAC conference had taken place in Hong Kong. The previous Hong Kong conference was held in 2004. At that time, I was still a newbie in the museum industry. It was an era of DVDs and 2G mobile phones. It was also the year after the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong (what a coincidence!). That is why the return of the ASPAC conference to Hong Kong this year meant much to me an to many of my colleagues. It also reminded me of my beginner self. My museum career started as an assistant curator of the Hong Kong Space Museum. But my connection with this museum started way earlier than that. I was the only child in my neighbourhood and class who loved stargazing, the twinkling stars were the first things that awed me and connected me to the wonders of nature. Without anyone around to share my interest with, I visited the Space Museum often to find my clan. From a mere participant to a staff member years later, it was really a dream come true. My goal was doing my best to share the treasures of nature to the general public.
Patrick asks us to look for our "inner Leonardo" I now lead a STEM unit in the Hong Kong Science Museum, and have had the privilege to work with a bunch of brilliant colleagues from various backgrounds such as life science, earth science and mathematics. It widened my mind and appreciation of nature to the fullest. STEM (or STEAM) education may sound novel but it bears much resemblance with helping one to be a Renaissance person, like Leonardo da Vinci or Leon Battista Alberti, who integrate knowledge of different areas to understand how nature works and solve problems with creativity. I have always wondered what da Vinci would create with the help of computers, the Internet and robots if he travelled in time to the 21st century to respond to our current environmental crises. Maybe he could save Mother Nature with his ingenuity. But da Vinci is not coming and humans like him are very rare. That is why we need each other to make things happen. When I was asked by Yuko to introduce an ASPAC member for this newsletter as the previous ones, I found it too difficult to identify a single name since I have met so many wonderful people in our network. Nonetheless I managed to think of someone to introduce to you. This person has experienced many diverse paths, and chose to work in a science museum without ambitions of being rich, but rather, sharing the love of science and nature with others. This person is curious about everything involved in museum work, committed and prepared to give the very best. I am certain that you two have met a long time ago, but your memory about this person may have faded with time. Now close your eyes and take a deep breath. I am sure you will remember who this person is. Meet the younger you!
Climate Action Show in the Hongkong Science Museum I have mentioned “nature” a number of times in this article because it is something I love and treasure and nature is seriously suffering and with it, our lives as well. It is urgent that we act now. Recently, I have had the privilege of working with Science North, Canada to introduce their Climate Action Show to the Hong Kong Science Museum. It is a multimedia interactive theatre experience that edutains audiences on the science of climate change and inspires them to take action to mitigate the impact, even as individuals. I am happy that my job allows me contribute my little part in engaging the public to know more about and to do something to restore nature. I hope this article shares some of my love for the work in a science museum. Seeing the night sky makes me understand how truly special our planet is and how lucky we are to have it. And seeing people in wonder keeps my curiosity going. *** Post your events on FB: Any ASPAC member can post their events and offerings in the ASPAC FB page. That will be the best platform for all our simultaneous announcements. However, should there be an event that you need the ASPAC leadership to officially endorse and solicit participation in, please click here to email details to the current Executive Director. OH and IF YOU LOVE TO WRITE...: Whatever your role in your organization, if you love to write, please send me your article on whatever it is you think would be worthwhile to share with ASPAC. I cannot predict or limit what that will be as there are so many connections between our work and the rest of what others in the world are doing, This is especially ripe in these strangest of times. We are excited to see your insights! Please send me your piece and we will see how it fits in our ASPAC human story. We are excited to unearth the evolving pool of ASPAC writers! Thank you!