More than 800 persons visited the CEFOP exhibition “The Universe of Light” on Easter Island during the three weeks the exhibit was on the island. In this opportunity, tourists and residents of Rapa Nui, especially the students from the four schools that exist there, enjoyed and got to know the properties of light and its applications through the 19 interactive experiments that compose the exhibit.
Dr. Carlos Saavedra, Scientific Director of CEFOP, explained, ”It was the result of a special effort that required lots of collaboration. For example, we had the support of Explora Concicyt, as well as the collaboration of the museum and the willingness of the private sector who provided the Events Center Takarua for the exhibit, through its administrator Pablo Ostornol; Also, the assistance provided by the Air Force, who provided transport to the exhibit. All of the above, plus the reception of the local community, caused the exhibit to be a success.”
According to Francisco Torres, Director of the Padre Sebastián Englert Anthropological Museum and who collaborated significantly with the development of the exhibit on the island, “The Universe of Light was a hit. It had very good attendance, especially if you consider that we are a small community that generally works in tourism. For that, the excellent reception that it had is so important, that the people had interest in visiting it to enjoy themselves and to learn.”
He added what was most important, “is that children had access to experiments that could stimulate them to have an ample vision of the world. They were amazed and enjoyed the exhibit, especially the piano of light. Actual experiencies like this awaken curiosity in kids, and permits them to be better prepared for the world which is more and more global, promoting a culture that is really ‘alive’ and, hopefully, more activities like this one will be carried out here.”
In addition, the work that CEFOP carried out with the museum generated discussion regarding the feasibility of promoting exhibition visits to other islands of the South Pacific, through the network of island museums.
The visit to Easter Island closed the national tour that, during its four years on the road, brought “The Universe of Light” to 27 cities and 160,000 spectators in our country, travelling from Arica to Punta Arenas.
In all, the future of the exhibit in the short term points to internationalization. To achieve this, CEFOP has already established contacts with the Optical Society of America (OSA) and the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE).
“In particular, SPIE offered us 5 forms of collaboration, that range from educational aspects to the promotion of the exhibit in different places, so we believe that the evolution of this exhibit will come to fruition in the medium term. Right now, we are looking at the possibility of taking it to Argentina, via Explora Conicyt,” added Carlos Saavedra.