Curiosity as a concept and a project has been at Life for a while now but as a full exhibition it didn’t officially arrive until last Friday, the 25th May.

The installation of The Curiosity Zone took a few weeks and you can see the work that went into it below:

Here is our current roster of exhibits in their finished state, with two more still to be installed, our ‘Magic Wall’ and ‘Tesla Coil’.

The official opening of a new exhibition is a strange affair. It’s almost the same feeling you have as when you’re preparing for Christmas I think. You know that the event is coming, there are weeks (or even months) of preparation beforehand and yet no matter how hard you plan, you know deep down that there will always be things that go wrong. But what’s important is that on the day you have something that, even if it’s not quite perfect, matches people’s expectations of what it should be.

Of course when the day does finally arrive it goes by so fast that before you know it it’s 7.30pm at night, you’re full of food and (hopefully) everyone is congratulating you on their way out saying how wonderful it’s all been and how much they’re looking forward to seeing you again next time.

I’m pleased to say that our opening day followed that same pattern. In fact I don’t think the exhibition could have been received any better. I spent a lot of the day catching up with people who had helped us from the beginning, such as our Curiosity Advisors, or chatting to those who were new to the concept but immediately got what we were trying to do. As always the most reassuring thing of all was seeing the general public take to the exhibits and the environment in the playful way we had always hoped.

During our more official lunch event we were lucky enough to have the presence of an established science communicator and exhibit builder Jem Stansfield as well as our Newcastle MP and Shadow Minister for Science and Innovation Chi Onwurah

You can see what they, and some of our first visitors, thought on the day in the video below:

So what remains now? There are still a few last minute tweaks to the exhibition that we need to finalise. Plus we need to start forming our evaluation strategy for the exhibition over the coming months and make sure that everything can be maintained easily by the on floor staff and technical team in the future. We also have two more exhibits to devise, prototype and build plus one or two side projects for the workshop that I’ll mention at a later date.

But for today I think all that remains is to give a huge, heartfelt thank you to everyone who has helped make this exhibition possible. From those who started dreaming it up years ago, to those who are only encountering the exhibition for the first time today. And also of course, those of you reading this blog right now. Even if you haven’t yet had the chance to enter the exhibition, it’s still worthwhile knowing what we’re doing is having a wider impact than just the immediate vicinity of the Centre for Life.