Whatever the Weather
A new exhibition exploring the topical subject of weather
and climate change will open at Sunderland Museum & Winter
Gardens on 26 January.
Touring from Gulbenkian prize finalist Weston Park Museum,
the exhibition reflects the importance of weather and climate,
explaining how the weather works, showing its importance to
many different cultures around the world and recalling some
of the most unusual and extreme weather events in history.
It will also be supported by a series of events, creative
workshops and family activities.
The exhibition shows how our weather patterns and climate
zones are part of a delicately balanced, dynamic system that
is affected by how we live within it. The exhibition explores
the reasons for extremes of weather and illustrates simple,
small ways in which individual visitors can adapt the way
they live to affect the natural world positively.
Whatever the Weather is suitable for a wide audience, including
children, who are able to create their own weather systems
and so understand how they develop. Large-scale interactive
devices will conjure clouds and mini-tornadoes in the exhibition
The exhibition also explains some of the most widely used
terms, which are increasingly heard but not always explained
– biosphere, carbon footprint, El Niño, Kyoto
Protocol, high and low pressure and many others.
Among the exhibits are historic instruments invented to measure
weather, including the famous storm glass barometer developed
by the captain of HMS Beagle, Robert Fitzroy, and used by
sailors to check pressure before setting sail. Another treasure
on show is a 1930s ‘canary ambulance’, a specially
crafted, tiny oxygen supply to revive the canaries that coal
miners took with them deep underground to detect dangerous
gases. Miners knew they were in danger when their canary stopped
singing. The situation in Antarctica has been described as
a ‘canary in a coal mine’, as it is the main indicator
of global climate change.
Whatever the Weather shows how the natural world reacts to
weather, including remarkable examples of animals that ‘forecast’
impending weather, including South American spiders, canaries,
crickets and butterflies. And, to prove that it is not just
the British who talk about the weather, international weather
superstitions and weather gods like Ra and Neptune will feature.
Jo Cunningham, Manager of Sunderland Museums says: ‘‘One
look at the extreme weather we experienced in 2007 makes it
clear that issues explored in Whatever the Weather are more
relevant and important to us every day. While tackling the
basics of how weather works - how clouds are formed, why seasons
change – we will also explore the issue of the world’s
changing climate and offer practical examples of how the smallest
contributions by individuals can have a vital cumulative impact
on the problem.”
Whatever the Weather is supported by DEFRA’s Climate
Challenge Fund and has been created by Sheffield Galleries
& Museum Trust in partnership with Tyne & Wear Museums
and the Museum of Croydon.
26 Jan - 13 April 2008
Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens is open
Monday - Saturday 10am - 5pm and Sunday 2pm - 5pm
Museum & Winter Gardens
Tel (0191) 553 2323
Textphone 18001 0191 553 2323
Fax (0191) 553 7828