Plants star exhibits at museum

SASHA BORISSENKO
Last updated 13:08 11/12/2013
Stephen McCarthy and Imogen McCarthy
MARTIN de RUYTER/Fairfax NZ

BLOOMING: Stephen McCarthy and Imogen McCarthy with a interactive replica of the world's largest flower at the Starting with Plants exhibition at the Nelson Provincial Museum.

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The hidden world of plants is being brought to light in a new exhibition at the Nelson Provincial Museum.

In collaboration with the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, the exhibition Starting with Plants opens tomorrow at the museum.

Creator, model maker and photographer Stephen McCarthy said the exhibition aimed to highlight some of the delightful species from the Brook sanctuary to introduce children to plants and their role within the food pyramid.

The museum has a memorandum of understanding with the Brook Sanctuary. Once the exhibition had ended, the informative pieces would then be displayed in the sanctuary, he said.

His wife and co-creator Imogen McCarthy, a former education officer for the museum and teacher of 42 years, said the world of botany got a bit missed in today's school curriculum.

While the curriculum was a wonderful, diverse document, the way it was implemented could be restricted as teachers coped with busy workloads and the demands of national standards.

The McCarthys have always been interested in botany, gardening and art.

Mrs McCarthy said the three-month process to put the exhibition together was an adventure.

"We would think, Oh! There is a great plant, let's take a picture."

The exhibition includes photographs, models and hands-on activities.

Mr McCarthy said it was fun to complete the project at home: "It was certainly better than watching television."

Museum chief executive Peter Millward said he was thrilled to see some of Nelson's landscape come to the museum.

The centrepiece of the exhibition was a replica of the world's biggest flower, which can be found in Indonesia.

Children can detach and reattach all of the pieces of the Rafflesia arnoldii, whose petals have a texture likened to that of a mushroom. The exhibition runs until May 31.

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- The Nelson Mail

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