The "Routes" to take through Polaris
The aim is to get across:
- A sense of wonder at the dynamic balance that has characterised life on Earth and its climate since the world began.
- Awareness of our personal and collective responsibility in the human activities that threaten that balance.
- A range of possible choices designed to reintegrate mankind into this planetary dynamic.
The "routes" that visitors can take through the Polaris exhibits do not necessarily go from A to B. There is a group of theme-based display areas to choose from, without forcing visitors to follow any particular route.
- Sounds of the World Room
- The Blue Planet
The beginning of the exhibition takes visitors into two Observation rooms with displays that differ markedly from each other. The first, the Sounds of the World Room, presents the chaos of the hyper-information age, with mankind's concerns about the future of the climate on Earth being drowned in a surfeit of contradictory information. After taking the lift to the top of the building, there is the Blue Planet space, which uses a giant globe to demonstrate the beauty and mystery of our blue planet as it rotates to the beat of climate-related events. At the same time, the room also provides a general introduction to the Polar Regions.
Ice core Journey rooms
- The Ice Cap
- Evolving Earth
- Origins of Life
The main section of the museum revolves round a journey back through time, learning about the history of climate. We return in time to increasingly distant climates as we descend a central staircase made out of glass, symbolising the ice-cores in which climate history is archived. The atmosphere is aimed at evoking emotions and fascination with the sheer variability of the climate and the immensity of Earth's history. The descent takes us on a spectacular journey back to the origins of life, passing through the history of mankind and the evolution of life.
The Ice Cap is where we begin the time travel from the Antarctic plateau. Each of the next three levels takes us to an even older climate and illustrates an idea about the relationship between Humankind, Life and the role of Climate variations.
The exhibit Humankind tells how variations in the climate have had their effect on the history of man; the Evolving Earth space illustrates the mark that the main variations in the climate have had on biological evolution including major extinction events in the past; finally, the exhibition space Origins of Life demonstrates the effect that living beings have had on the world's climate since they first appeared.
- Ice Archives
- Earth System
Parallel to this route, which represents the backbone of the Observatory, are the five large theme-based rooms, from the first floor to the lower level. Each of the rooms deals with one of the aspects of the world climate and global change. The aim here is to present scientific story-lines in more detail, to permit visitors to grasp:
- The scientific fundamentals of the ice archives that make possible the journey in time in the Ice Archives.
- The complex interaction that gives rise to the climatic system in the Earth System exhibition space.
- The industrial revolution that led to the system of production responsible for the rapid rise in emissions which contribute to climate change and the scientific revolution that enabled us to study change in the Revolutions space.
- The current and future impact of these climate changes in the Impacts space.
- A range of scientific and societal solutions designed to respond to global warming in the Solutions Room.
These rooms are all self-contained and can be visited individually in any order. However, four of the five rooms are coupled, so that the displays complement one another. Hence, the Impacts and Earth System spaces both demonstrate the way the climatic system operates, before and after the effects of the Industrial Revolution.
In the same way, the Revolutions and Solutions spaces deal with the relationship between mankind and the planet through the industrial revolution and the new approach to the rational use of limited resources.
Before leaving, visitors are invited to spend some time in the Alternative Earth space. As an extension of the ice core levels, this room also addresses our intuition and emotions. Working aesthetically, the Alternative Earth space presents a variety of visions of a future world, based on the principles of sustainability exhibited in the Solutions Space.