March 22-25, 2006
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Demonstrations: Description

Teaching an Old Dinosaur New Tricks: Exploring the National Science Museum, Japan's Web site and digital contents

Hiroyuki Arita, National Science Museum, Japan, Japan
Kiyoka Fushimi, Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin University, Japan
Tetsuya Inoue, National Science Museum, Japan
Lois Lydens, National Science Museum, Japan, Japan
Makoto Manabe, National Science Museum, Japan, Japan
Kazuhiro Sakamoto, Ueno Zoo, Japan
Hirokazu Yoshimura, Hosei University, Japan
Yumi Awano, Tokyo Zokei University, Japan
Yoshitaka Yabumoto, Kitakyushu Museum of Natural History and Human, Japan
Yasuji Saito, National Science Museum, Japan

Established in 1871, the National Science Museum, Japan (NSM) is a public museum with over 3,000,000 collections, 10,000 of which are on display at any given time. Located in the heart of Tokyo, the NSM welcomes thousands local school children, international visitors, and dedicated researchers every year. Consisting of five branches in the Tokyo metropolitan area, the National Science Museum is the only national institution of its kind in Japan.

At MW2006, we will demonstrate the NSM Web site as it relates to the Dinosaur Gallery. Using the NSM website, a visitor can take a virtual tour of the Dinosaur Gallery or download an audio guide to a computer, MP3 player, or iPod prior to a visit.

The Dinosaur Gallery professionals' guiding desire is to draw people to the museum where they can experience the magnificence of these extinct animals first-hand. Say, for example, someone wants to learn about Triceratops. The NSM displays the world's best specimen and since the NSM has a virtual museum, online information about Triceratops can be accessed. From the Web site, a user can select archival photographs, a locality map and other research data on Triceratops. Additionally, video footage can be viewed of the world's leading expert on horned dinosaurs who explains the significance of the NSM specimen. Hopefully, this information entices Web site users to pay Triceratops a visit at the museum.

To enhance a visitor's experience when he or she comes to the museum, the NSM provides an audio guide using a PDA, for a nominal charge. The audio guide features comments from the scientists who supervised the exhibits and other relevant information about specimens in the Dinosaur Gallery and other locations in the museum.

We have recently instituted mobile phone technology in the Dinosaur Gallery for information retrieval. Our demonstration will include an opportunity to view this mobile phone technology. Using a two-dimensional bar code(QR code), a visitor can download information from the NSM Web page and kiosk terminals. The QR code can be used to download a video clip to a mobile phone. A visitor's mobile phone can access a worksheet to learn about connections between museum exhibits and live animals by touring the NSM and the Ueno Zoo. The zoo is adjacent to the museum. A mobile phone can also be used to make live broadcast among museum galleries, school classrooms and fossil localities.

In our demonstration at MW2006, we will describe what has worked and what hasn't in our quest to make the Dinosaur Gallery user-friendly and technologically current.

Demonstration: Demonstrations [Close-Up]

Keywords: science museum, natural history museum, mobile phone, MP3 player, iPod, virtual museum