March 23, 2022
"Outbreak, the Invisible Enemy": Konya Science Center's Pandemic Response
by Osman Süreyya Kocabaş Why "Outbreak"? “Pandemic” has become the most used word in the world since January 2020 and has been on the agenda for a long time. We were caught unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic and had difficulty in taking measures on a global scale. With its design, content, and production, the "Outbreak: The Invisible Enemy" exhibition, which was put forward from the own resources of the Konya Science Center, reveals the response of the world in general, and in particular, our country, Turkey, brought on by this pandemic, with both scientific content and digital methods. In the “Outbreak: The Invisible Enemy” exhibition, both the global nature of the epidemic and its spread process were addressed, and entertaining and instructive materials were prepared to help us become more prepared for future epidemics. Amid COVID-19 measures such as masks, distance, curfews, etc., the pandemic revealed even more the importance of informing and raising awareness of the society about the epidemic. This is why “OUTBREAK” included exhibits about on-site infection prevention and control measures to reduce the initial number of people who would be infected. Furthermore, we included exhibits on the scientific studies and the protection provided by vaccines, which are vital elements in epidemic management that we admit, are available in mass media and in daily conversations, but we think society has difficulty getting used to. We wanted to help resolve the common questions of the public, across all ages, on the epidemic and epidemic management.
The main backbone of the “Outbreak: The Invisible Enemy” exhibition gallery consists of modules that contain information on the nature of an epidemic and the scientific response to it. These are explored in modules that include: Let's Explore the Microworld, Tiny Destroyers, The Resistance of the Humankind and the Nature of the Epidemic. We were guided by the microbiology institutes in Turkey for the technical aspects of the content while we also made sure that the information are also accessible to children in terms of language and treatment.
Some of the exhibit highlights in the “Outbreak” exhibition are:
“Diseases” showing the effects of certain epidemics on the human body prepared by video-mapping technique,
“Immune Game”, using Kinect game technology and showing how our body fights viruses,
The historical Timeline of the epidemics showing the dates and where the previous epidemics occurred,
“Do You Notice?” a Q and A exhibit, where learning is entertaining and rewarding;
“How Vaccine Works?”, a mechanical exhibit, that explains how the vaccine works when it enters our bodies.
“What the Microscope Shows” explains what we see when we look through the microscope and the difference in function between electron and light microscope.
The Team at Konya Science Center At the Konya Science Center, we have a team who has had several years of experience in designing and producing exhibitions. Konya Science Center is the center with the largest and most number of exhibition galleries in Turkey. It takes an active role in preparing exhibition and workshop content with its staff of more than 60 people. For “Outbreak”, we all took part in the preparation of this exhibition. I, Osman Süreyya Kocabaş, am the curator of the exhibition. Within the framework of curation, I contributed to our team in determining the theme of the exhibition, determining the contents and preparing the literature review, preparing the conceptual and schematic designs, which units should be included, and how the visual and content design should be. Our exhibition content specialist, Yasemin Dinçoflaz, made significant contributions to our team in the preparation and implementation of the contents we will use in the exhibition. Our science center exhibition production coordinator, Ziya Emrah Beştav, coordinated the team in managing the production of the exhibition, which exhibits could be produced in our science center's manufacturing workshops and which could be produced externally, as well as technical drawing, material determination and financial management of this production. Our technical draftsman, designer, electrical and mechanical technicians, material engineer are other valuable members of this team. All of the exhibits were designed by our team, but we received support from the manufacturers of exhibition products in our country for the production of some of the exhibits that require the use of high technology.
Connecting "Outbreak" with ASPAC:
“Outbreak: The Invisible Enemy” exhibition has been partially open to visitors since February. It is aimed to open the entire exhibition to the public in April 2022. We plan to open a digital version of this exhibition after the physical exhibition is completed. Our goal for the digital exhibition is to enable visitors to visit “Outbreak” using smart devices without coming to the science center.
As we enter a century in which more epidemics will most likely happen, the exhibition "Outbreak: The Invisible Enemy", helps us to prepare ourselves hopefully giving rise to a sensitive, conscious and sensitive generation about the epidemic.
When we set out with the idea of this exhibition, there were changes in knowledge and different explanations in the vaccines and treatments That's why we designed our exhibition in stages, step by step. We also designed it as a traveling exhibition so that our physical exhibition can be easily set up and displayed at any point in our country and the world. When our digital exhibition is completed, it will be announced on our official website of Konya Science Center and in international exhibition magazines and bulletins. We are hoping that other ASPAC member science centers will take interest in this exhibition so that we can also get feedback from our peers. **
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!