The Faculty of Biology at the University of Gdańsk is undoubtedly one of the places on the map of Tricity worth visiting. Did you know that we are the only ones in Poland to have the skeleton of the finback whale, the second largest animal on Earth, suspended from the ceiling? Or that insectivorous plants from the extraordinary mountains of Venezuela grow in our paludarium, and in one of the exhibitions, you can see a vaccine against typhus produced in 1940? Recently, a Triassic reptile, which was to be the first Polish dinosaur, has also been on display. Visiting all the exhibitions presented in the modern space of the Faculty of Biology of the University of Gdańsk will be even more pleasant from now on - it will be made easier through a free application - a multimedia guide that can be downloaded by anyone interested.
In accordance with the idea of the Open University and bearing in mind all those who visit the Faculty of Biology of UG (schools, citizens of Tricity with children, tourists), we have created an application entitled 'Exhibitions of the Faculty of Biology UG'. - a multimedia guide that works on mobile devices based on iOS and Android systems.
It contains exhibitions, a collection of scientific collections and points of interest at the Faculty of Biology, as well as news (including redirection to SM), a scanner, numbers referring to the descriptions of exhibits (each piece of information can be listened to thanks to a voiceover recording) - in short, plenty of interesting content. The application is free and available in the AppStore on your smartphone or tablet.
The exhibitions can be visited during the building's opening hours, i.e. 9:00-18:00, seven days a week (except on public holidays).
More about the application and the whole idea in an interview with dr Elżbieta Sontag from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology, who is the originator and manager of the project - she supervised its implementation from start to finish.
Elżbieta Michalak-Witkowska: - How many stationary exhibitions do we currently have at the Faculty of Biology, can we find them all in the application? And with whom in mind was it created?
Dr Elżbieta Sontag: - The 'Exhibitions of the Faculty of Biology UG' app is a mobile guide and was created mainly with visitors to our Faculty in mind. We currently have nine exhibitions here, we are visited by more and more schools and individuals who often ask for a guide. Unfortunately, we do not have anyone who can guide groups of visitors on a permanent basis, so the app seemed like a very good solution. I would like to stress that we do not encourage people to visit our exhibitions virtually - we hope that getting to know our exhibitions will encourage people to come to the Faculty of Biology UG with the App. And let me tell you it's worth it!
- So, in order to take advantage of the full potential of the app, do you need to visit the Faculty in person? What tools will prove useful then?
- Exactly. Thanks to the application, which will become a guide available 24 hours a day, you will be able to get to know not only the permanent exhibitions, but also other collections that are usually hidden in cupboards, freezers, and even in the greenhouse, and constitute valuable research material.
Since yesterday, there is a specially marked QR code next to each exhibition, which in the app automatically takes you to the exhibition description. The 'numbers' function allows you to enter the number of an exhibit and read or listen to the description. It is very different listening during a tour than reading, so we are pleased that we were able to use recordings.
- Who got to be the narrator?
- We asked a friendly editor of Radio Gdańsk, Mr Włodzimierz Raszkiewicz, who accompanies us on most popular science events. Mr Raszkiewicz is well known for his 'A Piece of the World and Tea' programme, and his voice is always associated with interesting stories, at least for us.
- What opportunities does the app provide for those who are unable to visit the WB interiors in person and see the exhibition?
- Anyone who has our app can get to know our department, exhibitions and collections, and in the news section, they can see what popular science events they can expect in the near future. Already in October, first-year students will be able to use specially prepared faculty plans to make it easier to get to classes. Now the plans are dedicated to exhibitions.
- When was the idea to create the app born? How long has it been in the making?
- The Museum of Amber Inclusions, thanks to the initiative of the Association of Academic Museums, was included on the list of establishments of this type in the 'Explore Poland' programme. It turned out that we were an attractive place and schools often applied to visit it. Unfortunately, we could not provide a guide, so in October last year, we published a mini guidebook, which turned into an application. The idea was enthusiastically supported by the Dean of the Faculty, prof. dr hab. Dariusz Szlachetko, and in this way the first university app was created.
It would not have been possible without the cooperation of many people. The following people were involved in the project: dr hab. Krzysztof Banaś, prof. UG, mgr Błażej Bojarski, dr hab. Andrzej Borman, a retired prof. UG, mgr Martyna Jankowska-Jarek, dr hab. Piotr Rutkowski, prof. UG, mgr Krzysztof Stępniewski and prof. dr hab. Alicja Węgrzyn. I prepared the description of our amber exhibition, coordinated the work and prepared the graphics.
- Will the application be available in English?
- Definitely yes, the English version is our next goal. We hope that the application will soon be able to switch to English.
- Thank you for the interview.