Science Week a big win for KZN Museum

2018-05-17 17:55
The KwaZulu-Natal Museum has won the chance to host the prestigious National Science Week, which will run from July 31 to August 4. Pictured is the museum’s chief education officer for outreach, Marsha Kailka, with an Octopus granularis specimen in the museum’s Malacology room.

The KwaZulu-Natal Museum has won the chance to host the prestigious National Science Week, which will run from July 31 to August 4. Pictured is the museum’s chief education officer for outreach, Marsha Kailka, with an Octopus granularis specimen in the museum’s Malacology room. (Ian Carbutt)

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The KwaZulu-Natal Museum will host the prestigious National Science Week this year, for the first time in its history.

National Science Week, an initiative under the Department of Science and Technology is a celebration of science that happens throughout the country and involves academics and scientists.

This year, it will run from July 31 to August 4.

The KZN Museum had earlier this year submitted a detailed application to the National Research Foundation to host the event.

“It was a 50-page application and they asked details about my background, the activities we would host, what budget we required,” the museum’s chief education officer for outreach, Marsha Kalika, told The Witness.

She said the museum will meet to discuss exactly what science activities will be on show. The activities would have to centre around the theme “Deepening our democracy through science,” to commemorate the centenary celebration of Nelson Mandela. These activities would be about science, technology, engineering, maths and innovation.

Members of the museum will also be part of a conference at the Oliver Tambo International Airport later this month to be briefed about the event. The event will be free to the public, and Kalika said the museum would focus on inviting school pupils and young people.

She said they would look to invite local academics to facilitate exhibition. “The museum will basically be a science centre for a week. There will be a lot of science exhibitions, and pupils can meet scientists from the museums and the public will be able to do scientific practicals,” Kalika said.

“The event is also an opportunity for scientists to network and for the public to engage with them. It’s a celebration of science and we’re looking forward to the attention it brings us from the science world,” she said, adding: “It would be good for Pietermaritzburg, and it will allow people to be exposed to things they otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to. They [the organisers] gave us the budget to do exciting stuff.”

She said the opportunity to host National Science Week was a huge honour for the museum.

This comes as the second achievement for the museum, which won an award in the outreach category at the SciFest festival in for educational workshops on renewable energy in Grahamstown in March.


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