An interesting podcast that I listen to is “Can I Pet Your Dog” hosted by Renee Colvert and Alexis Preston. This week they had a fascinating interview with Dr. Chuck Kopczak who lead the team creating “Dogs! A Science Tail” that was developed by the California Science Center.
A quick note about the podcast for those not familiar with it, Renee and Alexis host this weekly hour-long rollicking adventure about topics of interest to dog owners. Lighthearted dialog between the two hosts, along with serious interviews with experts make this a podcast worth adding to your playlist.
While “museum exhibits” might not be common water cooler talk, this interview about the contents and development of this science exhibit about this history of dogs and the role they play in society was a definite win on this weeks episode.
Dr. Chuck Kopczak was a great guest who talked not only about the history and background in developing the exhibit, but also walked listeners through an auditory tour of each section of the exhibit and told us why each one is important to feature.
He explained that from concept to opening, that it takes two years to plan and roll-out an exhibit of this size. (Dogs! is approximately 7,000 – 9,000 square feet). He said the planners worked closely with the directors of the Superpower Dogs movie to release both at the same time.
The most interesting fact that Dr. Kopczak shared was that oxytocin is released in humans as we gaze into the eyes of dogs, similar to how it is released when we gaze into the eyes of children or other humans. When dogs smell this hormone, it increases their gaze back at us! (I found this article in Science Magazine for further reading)
This exhibition reveals where dogs came from, how dogs experience the world, what makes our bond with dogs so special, and how to care for our canine best friends. There is also a demonstration area where dogs can show off their talents from police dogs finding scents and agility exercises, to service dogs helping individuals in daily life.
Highlights include an interactive Jeopardy! game show for attendees to challenge each other with, a dog grooming station, and activities where you can see how a dog sees, and hear how they hear.
Also playing concurrently with the exhibit is Superpower Dogs in IMAX.
Join an immersive IMAX adventure to experience the life- saving superpowers and extraordinary bravery of some of the world’s most amazing dogs. In this inspiring true story narrated by Chris Evans, our best friends are also real-life superheroes. Journey around the globe to meet remarkable dogs who save lives and discover the powerful bond they share with their human partners. Follow ‘Halo’, a rookie puppy training to join one of the most elite disaster response teams in America. Meet ‘Henry’, an avalanche rescue expert in the mountains of British Columbia , ‘Reef’, a Newfoundland lifeguard with the Italian coastguard, ‘Ricochet’, a Californian surf legend helping people with special needs, and the Bloodhound brothers, ‘Tipper and Tony’, who are lea ding the fight to save endangered species in Africa. As we discover the incredible abilities of dogs and the astonishing science behind their superpowers, we’ll never look at our best friends the same way again!
The Dogs! A Science Tail exhibit is set to start traveling to museums and science centers around the world after it’s initial run in California, so look out for a stop new you!
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