Dinosaurs: Dawn To Extinction affords visitors an interactive and informative prehistoric adventure.
OF the many creatures that have walked the earth, few have captured our imagination as much as dinosaurs have. These mega-beasts have fascinated mankind for the longest time ever – and in many ways, they still do.
The ArtScience Museum of Singapore has recently unveiled what it describes as the largest dinosaur exhibition in South-East Asia. Occupying over 3,700sqm of floor space, Dinosaurs: Dawn To Extinction features more than 400 fossils and models, as well as over 50 original artworks.
All of these were brought together from three different places: the American Museum of Natural History in New York, San Juan National Science Museum in Argentina and SCI! Expo of Australia’s Monash University.
Not only that, paintings by artist Peter Trusler – known for his work on wildlife art, as well as for his scientifically rigorous reconstructions of prehistoric fauna – complement the exhibits visually and help bring them to life.
As such, Dinosaurs: Dawn To Extinction truly brings about an immersion that can draw visitors in. A step through the entrance is akin to one going on an in-depth journey of more than 600 million years back in time.
You will first be confronted with a herd of Herrerasaurus skeletons. These were one of the earliest dinosaurs to roam Earth back then. Their snarls and grunts, as well as a moving backdrop animation, greet you and set the tone for an exciting adventure within.
As you move along, each gallery inside tells of a different prehistoric period. From the Precambrian to the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous, it is a seamless form of storytelling that captivates and keeps you interested.
Some of the display highlights include an 18m long Apatosaurus, a 17.6m long Lessemsaurus sauropod specimen and a two-billion-year-old rock (of a banded iron formation). There is also a new fossil of Adeopapposaurus discovered in Argentina just months ago.
Dinosaurs: Dawn To Extinction was designed to be a highly interactive exhibition as well. Throughout the galleries, you are able to listen to the curator, palaeontologist Patricia Vickers-Rich speaking on related subjects.
Visitors can download a free mobile application onto their smart phones, where they gain access to educational features specially rendered for various segments. Just open up the app and scan a marker to unlock exclusive contents.
For example, visitors can take a walk around the Rain Oculus area and with the app, witness the 360° augmented reality panoramic view of environmental changes that occurred millions of years ago.
Those who have their photos taken at the start of the exhibition can watch their snapshot come to life with an animated dinosaur skeleton interacting with the people in it.
Ross Leo, the associate director of the ArtScience Museum, explains: “It is about blending in the right amount of interaction with the displays, but yet still presenting dinosaurs in the correct light.”
“It is also about the engagement. So every time you turn a corner, you’re not just looking at a dinosaur model or a fossil – instead there would be a painting or scenery there. That’s the type of level of engagement that we want to create,” he adds.
Leo points out that the display depicting a battle scene between two terrestrial creatures (Fasolasuchus and Lessemsaurus) that co-existed during the late Triassic period as one of his favourites.
“When you see that battle scene, I think you would be impressed. Standing there and looking at that particular display can really be a wow moment for most visitors. ”
Whether you’re a dinosaur fan or not, you will most likely find the exhibition appealing.
As Leo so aptly puts it, “Everyone loves dinosaurs – at some point of your life. It’s pretty much an evergreen topic.
“Just take a look at what you have on television. Flipping through the different programmes, you will definitely run into one that has dinosaurs in it.”
Dinosaurs: Dawn To Extinction is showing at the ArtScience Museum, Singapore until July 27. Tickets are priced at S$14 (RM36) for children (2-12 years old), S$21 (RM54) for senior citizens (65 years old and above), S$24 (RM62) for adults and S$74 (RM192) for a family package (two adults, two children).