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Science centres
New dynamic

Senior Manager. Julie Moskalyk reveals her plans for the earth sciences centre

By Kathleen Whyman | Published in Attractions Management 2013 issue 4

What is Dynamic Earth?
Dynamic Earth is one of the family of attractions owned and operated by Science North. Science North is an agency of the province of Ontario, which is part of the government of Canada – the agency of tourism, culture and sport.

We’re one of two science centres in our attractions. Science North is a general science centre and Dynamic Earth focuses on earth sciences – primarily geology and mining. 
Sudbury is a very unusual geological landscape. About 1.85 billion years ago, a huge meteorite hit the Earth and created the Sudbury Basin, which is visible from space. The structure is home to some of the richest nickel mines in the world and we still operate and mine nickel extensively in this region.

Dynamic Earth is built on the outer edge of that meteorite crater and has a model underground mine tour experience, which lasts 45 minutes.

What’s your career history?
I moved to the Sudbury region when I was 15. My dad was a colonel in the army and this was just another location that we were posted to. I volunteered at Science North because I was passionate about science. Within a few months I was hired as a student science demonstrator. I worked at weekends and on holidays throughout high school and when I went to university in Ottawa to study biology, I worked at Science North in the summer. When I graduated, age 21, I was hired as a full time staff scientist.

I’ve worn many different hats, from leading our education department, to overseeing exhibit floors, to our outreach initiatives and programmes. Eight years ago, I moved to leading our international sales team, then, in July, I became senior manager of Dynamic Earth.

What does your new role involve?
I lead the science centre in achieving its strategic goals and mission, which includes attendance, revenue, visitor experience, new exhibits, development and renewal – the whole gambit of activities that happen here.

There are large goals in this way, but there’s also the day-to-day core operation. Our visitors deserve a fabulous experience and I’m often out on the exhibition floor communicating science with them. Recently, I was here at 3am because we had a family sleepover and were sharing the load and I was lucky enough to get the early morning shift.

It’s the classic director’s role of leading strategic initiatives and the nitty gritty daily operation, which is fun too.

Why did the job appeal to you?
My background is science and science communication and getting people turned on to science. I’ve done this my whole life and get a lot of energy from it.

Eight years ago, I stepped away completely from our science programme and communication to leading the business development of the work that we do for other science centres and museums. I loved that job and had the pleasure of travelling to hundreds of museums and science centres, but I missed teaching and being on the ground with visitors. This was the perfect opportunity to come back to leading a science communication operation at the level I was working at.

What are your plans for Dynamic Earth?
Part of the reason our family of attractions continues to have the high performance that we’ve enjoyed for almost 30 years is the changes we’ve made. We’re constantly adding, revamping and updating our visitor experience.

We have a $5m (E3.7m, £3.1m) renewal planned for Dynamic Earth that will open in 2015, which will include adding an outdoor geology science park onto our 14-hectare site. We’re also going to change our underground experience to focus even more on modern mining and technology, add exhibits and make changes to our galleries and open a 200sq m (2,153sq ft) special effects theatre. I envisage some kind of 3D effect in the middle of the theatre that really showcases the meteorite hitting the earth and creating the Sudbury Basin.

My other plan is to build up our Halloween celebrations. Dark tourism, which can mean a range of things, including a Halloween family experience, is growing. It’s huge in North America and is one of the biggest areas of tourism that’s developing in Asia. We’ve always celebrated Halloween because we have this perfect underground model mine, which we rename as the Tunnel of Terror.

For the two weeks of the holiday, we run Halloween workshops, presentations and experiences. We’re looking to grow that experience. October’s a slow month for us, so we need something new to attract a different audience.

What will the new exhibits be?
One of the important areas for us to focus on is communicating what modern mining is all about and how different it is from even 20 years ago. It’s all about exciting use of technology to make mining safer and more efficient. There are many misconceptions from the public, which we need to correct.

We’d also like an exhibition about the diamond industry in Canada. This has been a developing mining sector in the last decades and we now have the highest quality diamonds in the world coming out of Canada. There’s a diamond mine five-hours north of here and diamond cutting facilities in Sudbury so we want to communicate that. We have other ideas, which we’ll confirm soon.

What are the challenges?
Securing the funding to do everything we want to do is the challenge. There’s no limit to our ideas – the limit is the budget. We anticipate having continued support from the mining sector and special government grants and programmes that will help us to tap into funding.

Schedule is also a challenge. We want the next phase to open in March 2015, which isn’t that far away.

In terms of the attraction, just like every other themed attraction, museum, science centre, zoo, aquarium, we’re all competing for those leisure dollars. We’re in a good position because we’re an education facility and an entertainment facility so visitors get great value. But competing with others is a challenge.

Another issue, which is an opportunity and a challenge, is that Sudbury’s dynamics are changing. Our primary audience for the last 30 years has been young families. As we now have a significantly ageing population, we’re shifting our offer in programme, special events and visitor experience to appeal even more to adults and the older audience.

What is the Big Nickel?
The summer of 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Big Nickel – a gigantic five-cent coin. Dynamic Earth used to be called The Big Nickel Mine, which was opened by a local businessman named Ted Szilva. He created the Big Nickel ­­and the model mine tour experience.

Science North opened in 1984 and took over the Big Nickel Mine. Ten years ago it transformed it into an earth sciences centre with galleries, an HD theatre, gift store and F&B, as well as the underground experience. We’ll have a huge party on July 22nd with fireworks and hopefully the Canadian band Nickleback will play. We’ll also host a new exhibit about currency called In The Money.

What is Dynamic Earth’s USP?
Firstly, it’s our fabulous staff – they’re scientists who are great communicators. When you marry people who really know their science together with great communication skills then you have this incredible resource. Our staff is our biggest investment. We deploy the biggest portion of our operating funds to our staff and their development.

Secondly, it’s the type of exhibits that we have. Visitors don’t read a piece of signage, press a button and then read about what happened. We’re a deeply interactive, hands-on, engaging science centre. With our staff, visitors use actual tools and do real science with our exhibits and learn that way.

What are the issues and trends in the industry?
One of the trends, and I think we’ve seen it in all attractions in the last five years, is the addition of multimedia experiences – 4D theatre, special effects and motion-based theatres. These have all been added to augment the technology experience in our facilities, lengthen the stay and, in some venues, add revenue with a separate ticket.

Also, many new science centres and museums are adding a living eco system element. We’ve always had live animals at Science North, but many new centres include an aquarium or live animal component. There’s now even more of a blurring of the lines between museums, science centres, zoos and aquariums, which I find very interesting.

Another trend for the type of science centre Dynamic Earth is is that we’re very tightly tied to industry. We’re an earth sciences centre, and earth sciences activity is often linked to mining activities globally. One of the trends is the deep connection with industry and understanding what they’re doing, what their future’s holding and being able to effectively communicate that to our visitors.

Do you think Science North will continue to expand?
Absolutely – we have more space on that property. When we opened 30 years ago, we were 80 per cent government funded. Now we’re 65 per cent self-generated and 35 per cent government. Being able to self-generate revenue is always top of our entrepreneurial minds.

I can see Science North continuing to grow and expand and possibly add another attraction in the future. We’re very interested in the waterpark industry. There isn’t an indoor waterpark within a three-hour radius and it’s a whole other dynamic for us. It’d have to be indoors, as it’s cold for six months of the year.

What are your future plans?
I’m 44-years-old. I’ve spent the bulk of my life at Science North and I’ve loved it. There’s a lot of support from our CEO and COO to come up with cool, exciting ideas for our visitors and make them happen. That’s kept me excited for all these years.

I love the community, I live in this beautiful Canadian wilderness and work for an attraction that I love. I see myself staying and leading new projects and initiatives at a senior executive level for the next 10 or 15 years. Who knows what’ll happen after that. As we say at Dynamic Earth, change is always in motion.


About Science North and Dynamic Earth
Science North is an agency of the province of Ontario, which is part of the government of Canada – the agency of tourism, culture and sport. It maintains the second- and eighth-largest science centres in Canada: Science North, featuring an Imax theatre, digital planetarium, butterfly gallery and Special Exhibits Hall; and Dynamic Earth, an earth sciences centre, which is home of the Big Nickel.

As well as the two science centres in Sudbury, Science North also oversees an award-winning large format film production unit and an exhibit sales and service unit, which develops custom and ready-made exhibits for sale or lease to science centres, museums and other cultural institutions all over the world.

Dynamic Earth is built by a crater created by a meteorite hitting Earth
The centre has invested in a $5m renewal plan that will include new special effect underground exhibits
Science North took over the Big Nickel Mine site in 1984
Visitors to Dynamic Earth can experience fun mining exhibits
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Jobs . News . Products . Magazine
Science centres
New dynamic

Senior Manager. Julie Moskalyk reveals her plans for the earth sciences centre

By Kathleen Whyman | Published in Attractions Management 2013 issue 4

What is Dynamic Earth?
Dynamic Earth is one of the family of attractions owned and operated by Science North. Science North is an agency of the province of Ontario, which is part of the government of Canada – the agency of tourism, culture and sport.

We’re one of two science centres in our attractions. Science North is a general science centre and Dynamic Earth focuses on earth sciences – primarily geology and mining. 
Sudbury is a very unusual geological landscape. About 1.85 billion years ago, a huge meteorite hit the Earth and created the Sudbury Basin, which is visible from space. The structure is home to some of the richest nickel mines in the world and we still operate and mine nickel extensively in this region.

Dynamic Earth is built on the outer edge of that meteorite crater and has a model underground mine tour experience, which lasts 45 minutes.

What’s your career history?
I moved to the Sudbury region when I was 15. My dad was a colonel in the army and this was just another location that we were posted to. I volunteered at Science North because I was passionate about science. Within a few months I was hired as a student science demonstrator. I worked at weekends and on holidays throughout high school and when I went to university in Ottawa to study biology, I worked at Science North in the summer. When I graduated, age 21, I was hired as a full time staff scientist.

I’ve worn many different hats, from leading our education department, to overseeing exhibit floors, to our outreach initiatives and programmes. Eight years ago, I moved to leading our international sales team, then, in July, I became senior manager of Dynamic Earth.

What does your new role involve?
I lead the science centre in achieving its strategic goals and mission, which includes attendance, revenue, visitor experience, new exhibits, development and renewal – the whole gambit of activities that happen here.

There are large goals in this way, but there’s also the day-to-day core operation. Our visitors deserve a fabulous experience and I’m often out on the exhibition floor communicating science with them. Recently, I was here at 3am because we had a family sleepover and were sharing the load and I was lucky enough to get the early morning shift.

It’s the classic director’s role of leading strategic initiatives and the nitty gritty daily operation, which is fun too.

Why did the job appeal to you?
My background is science and science communication and getting people turned on to science. I’ve done this my whole life and get a lot of energy from it.

Eight years ago, I stepped away completely from our science programme and communication to leading the business development of the work that we do for other science centres and museums. I loved that job and had the pleasure of travelling to hundreds of museums and science centres, but I missed teaching and being on the ground with visitors. This was the perfect opportunity to come back to leading a science communication operation at the level I was working at.

What are your plans for Dynamic Earth?
Part of the reason our family of attractions continues to have the high performance that we’ve enjoyed for almost 30 years is the changes we’ve made. We’re constantly adding, revamping and updating our visitor experience.

We have a $5m (E3.7m, £3.1m) renewal planned for Dynamic Earth that will open in 2015, which will include adding an outdoor geology science park onto our 14-hectare site. We’re also going to change our underground experience to focus even more on modern mining and technology, add exhibits and make changes to our galleries and open a 200sq m (2,153sq ft) special effects theatre. I envisage some kind of 3D effect in the middle of the theatre that really showcases the meteorite hitting the earth and creating the Sudbury Basin.

My other plan is to build up our Halloween celebrations. Dark tourism, which can mean a range of things, including a Halloween family experience, is growing. It’s huge in North America and is one of the biggest areas of tourism that’s developing in Asia. We’ve always celebrated Halloween because we have this perfect underground model mine, which we rename as the Tunnel of Terror.

For the two weeks of the holiday, we run Halloween workshops, presentations and experiences. We’re looking to grow that experience. October’s a slow month for us, so we need something new to attract a different audience.

What will the new exhibits be?
One of the important areas for us to focus on is communicating what modern mining is all about and how different it is from even 20 years ago. It’s all about exciting use of technology to make mining safer and more efficient. There are many misconceptions from the public, which we need to correct.

We’d also like an exhibition about the diamond industry in Canada. This has been a developing mining sector in the last decades and we now have the highest quality diamonds in the world coming out of Canada. There’s a diamond mine five-hours north of here and diamond cutting facilities in Sudbury so we want to communicate that. We have other ideas, which we’ll confirm soon.

What are the challenges?
Securing the funding to do everything we want to do is the challenge. There’s no limit to our ideas – the limit is the budget. We anticipate having continued support from the mining sector and special government grants and programmes that will help us to tap into funding.

Schedule is also a challenge. We want the next phase to open in March 2015, which isn’t that far away.

In terms of the attraction, just like every other themed attraction, museum, science centre, zoo, aquarium, we’re all competing for those leisure dollars. We’re in a good position because we’re an education facility and an entertainment facility so visitors get great value. But competing with others is a challenge.

Another issue, which is an opportunity and a challenge, is that Sudbury’s dynamics are changing. Our primary audience for the last 30 years has been young families. As we now have a significantly ageing population, we’re shifting our offer in programme, special events and visitor experience to appeal even more to adults and the older audience.

What is the Big Nickel?
The summer of 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Big Nickel – a gigantic five-cent coin. Dynamic Earth used to be called The Big Nickel Mine, which was opened by a local businessman named Ted Szilva. He created the Big Nickel ­­and the model mine tour experience.

Science North opened in 1984 and took over the Big Nickel Mine. Ten years ago it transformed it into an earth sciences centre with galleries, an HD theatre, gift store and F&B, as well as the underground experience. We’ll have a huge party on July 22nd with fireworks and hopefully the Canadian band Nickleback will play. We’ll also host a new exhibit about currency called In The Money.

What is Dynamic Earth’s USP?
Firstly, it’s our fabulous staff – they’re scientists who are great communicators. When you marry people who really know their science together with great communication skills then you have this incredible resource. Our staff is our biggest investment. We deploy the biggest portion of our operating funds to our staff and their development.

Secondly, it’s the type of exhibits that we have. Visitors don’t read a piece of signage, press a button and then read about what happened. We’re a deeply interactive, hands-on, engaging science centre. With our staff, visitors use actual tools and do real science with our exhibits and learn that way.

What are the issues and trends in the industry?
One of the trends, and I think we’ve seen it in all attractions in the last five years, is the addition of multimedia experiences – 4D theatre, special effects and motion-based theatres. These have all been added to augment the technology experience in our facilities, lengthen the stay and, in some venues, add revenue with a separate ticket.

Also, many new science centres and museums are adding a living eco system element. We’ve always had live animals at Science North, but many new centres include an aquarium or live animal component. There’s now even more of a blurring of the lines between museums, science centres, zoos and aquariums, which I find very interesting.

Another trend for the type of science centre Dynamic Earth is is that we’re very tightly tied to industry. We’re an earth sciences centre, and earth sciences activity is often linked to mining activities globally. One of the trends is the deep connection with industry and understanding what they’re doing, what their future’s holding and being able to effectively communicate that to our visitors.

Do you think Science North will continue to expand?
Absolutely – we have more space on that property. When we opened 30 years ago, we were 80 per cent government funded. Now we’re 65 per cent self-generated and 35 per cent government. Being able to self-generate revenue is always top of our entrepreneurial minds.

I can see Science North continuing to grow and expand and possibly add another attraction in the future. We’re very interested in the waterpark industry. There isn’t an indoor waterpark within a three-hour radius and it’s a whole other dynamic for us. It’d have to be indoors, as it’s cold for six months of the year.

What are your future plans?
I’m 44-years-old. I’ve spent the bulk of my life at Science North and I’ve loved it. There’s a lot of support from our CEO and COO to come up with cool, exciting ideas for our visitors and make them happen. That’s kept me excited for all these years.

I love the community, I live in this beautiful Canadian wilderness and work for an attraction that I love. I see myself staying and leading new projects and initiatives at a senior executive level for the next 10 or 15 years. Who knows what’ll happen after that. As we say at Dynamic Earth, change is always in motion.


About Science North and Dynamic Earth
Science North is an agency of the province of Ontario, which is part of the government of Canada – the agency of tourism, culture and sport. It maintains the second- and eighth-largest science centres in Canada: Science North, featuring an Imax theatre, digital planetarium, butterfly gallery and Special Exhibits Hall; and Dynamic Earth, an earth sciences centre, which is home of the Big Nickel.

As well as the two science centres in Sudbury, Science North also oversees an award-winning large format film production unit and an exhibit sales and service unit, which develops custom and ready-made exhibits for sale or lease to science centres, museums and other cultural institutions all over the world.

Dynamic Earth is built by a crater created by a meteorite hitting Earth
The centre has invested in a $5m renewal plan that will include new special effect underground exhibits
Science North took over the Big Nickel Mine site in 1984
Visitors to Dynamic Earth can experience fun mining exhibits
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media, Portmill House, Portmill Lane,
Hitchin, Hertfordshire SG5 1DJ Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2019

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
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