Fighting Fire – Playfully and for Real
The Fire! Fire! exhibition will play with fire – safely.
The interactive exhibition for the entire family can be accessed through the Gate of Fire, and visitors will both light their own fires using a flint and take the role of a fire fighter. The exhibition utilises a playful educational approach, without being too serious.
“The audience can try and test things out for themselves. A hands-on approach provides knowledge and promotes learning, and it is also a fun pastime,” explains Project Coordinator Maarit Koistinen.
Fire! Fire! is being organised as a joint effort by the Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre in Vantaa and the Museum Centre of Turku. The exhibition is located in Logomo and will remain open for the entire Capital of Culture year. Heureka’s Futures Director Jouko Koskinen, who has years of experience in producing science exhibitions, is responsible for the exhibition architecture.
“Heureka is a public utility institution that promotes popular education. For us, the Capital of Culture year provides an opportunity to increase the science centre's visibility in Southwest Finland,” explains Koskinen.
Fire! Fire! will be the last exhibition of Koskinen’s long career.
“I have developed a personal passion to make this exhibition as good as it can be,” Koskinen reveals with more than just a hint of enthusiasm.
Fire! Fire! presents fire from two different points of view, both scientific and cultural-historical. Major items in the exhibition include the Tiirikkalankuja alley, reconstructed in the 1800s fashion, and the Theatre Room. The Theatre Room provides a stage for a huge miniature model of Turku, extending nearly 100 m2 in surface area. The miniature model allows the visitor to track the progress of the Great Fire of Turku in 1827, with smoke, lights, audio sounds and animation.
In the Tiirikkalankuja alley, visitors will be able to go back to the times before the Great Fire. The alley is a reconstruction of the original city street where visitors can peek through windows into halls that present authentic furniture, objects and interior design of the past.
However, at its far end, the trip through time takes a turn for the worse. The alley has burnt down. Everything is charred and the pavement smoulders after a recent fire. Items from the devastated homes piled up and scattered around provide a subtle hint of the effect that the Great Fire had on contemporary residents.
According to Koskinen, he has developed a skill for getting under the visitors' skin in his long career.
“During preparation, it is intriguing to anticipate the questions that rise in the visitors' minds during the exhibition. The most important thing is to provide the possibility for moments of realisation,” says Koskinen.
What would a seasoned exhibition designer love to hear from a 10-year-old visitor?
“Let’s get home and find more on the Internet!” replies Koskinen without hesitation.
Text: Riina Mäentausta