Starfleet at TELUS Spark

Tour the Starship enterprise

Photos taken at the Star Trek exhibit at the Calgary Spark Telus Science centre at the media call on Feb 3, 2017 (Photo by Ashley Speirs/SAIT)

Photos taken at the Star Trek exhibit at the Calgary Spark Telus Science centre at the media call on Feb 3, 2017 (Photo by Ashley Speirs/SAIT)

Star Trek fans across Calgary are beaming as TELUS Spark is giving them the opportunity to boldly go and experience 50 years of the show’s history in Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy Experience.

The interactive touring exhibit is presented by Martin ‘Mr. Star Trek’ Netter, and features dozens of artifacts from the Filmwelt Collection, the world’s largest privately owned Star Trek memorabilia collection.

Netter said the exhibit is one of a kind because it features actual props and costumes that were used during the entire run of the show, rather than replicas.

“If people go into a museum, they want to see what the real actor was [wearing] and what was actually used on the show.”

The Starfleet Experience is an opportunity for fans to tour the Starship Enterprise, the fictional spacecraft used on Star Trek, from the medical bay, to the transporter, to the deck of the ship, where Captains Kirk and Picard commanded their crew throughout deep space.

Attendees are given a radio-frequency identification (RFID) bracelet that lets them mark their progress as they journey through the exhibit. Various challenges along the way, such as phaser target practice and a lesson in Klingon, will help determine what career you are suited for onboard the Enterprise, from engineering to navigation, communications or command, and everything in between.

Highlights of the tour include the Kobayashi Maru test, a training exercise that determines the moral character of each crew member: a challenge that Captain Kirk was the first ever to have beaten — by cheating. 

Visitors can also beam themselves up in the transporter and view their holographic image as they teleport from the Enterprise.

Kat Dornian, an exhibit developer and the Fluor Champion of Engineering Communication at TELUS Spark, said the connection between Star Trek and our modern world is what makes the exhibit so fascinating, especially how the show inspired modern technology. 

Star Trek introduced many futuristic devices that hadn’t yet been invented, but that we now use every day, like cellular phones, universal translators, Skype and tablet computers.

Dornian said that Star Trek also portrays how modern societies rely on science, technology, engineering and mathematics and related fields.

“Star Trek has a huge synergy and likeness to what we do here at TELUS Spark,” said Dornian. “Star Trek is about science, and how it affects society and it shows a lot of fields working together.”

It’s for these reasons and because of the interactivity of the exhibit that even those with very little knowledge of the Star Trek universe will still enjoy engaging in the various Starfleet challenges.

Mike Gataric, a lifelong Star Trek fan, attended the Feb. 3 launch of The Starfleet Academy exhibit at TELUS Spark, and was able to meet Jonathan Frakes (Commander William T. Riker), LeVar Burton (Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge) and Garrett Wang (Ensign Harry Kim) who were all in attendance for the event.

Gataric, who visited the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas last year, said that even from a young age, what drew him in was “that underlying story or philosophy that humankind could always be better. That has always resonated with me.”

Of the Starfleet Academy exhibit at TELUS Spark, Gataric said, “It was quite the experience.

“It was neat going through and seeing all the different technologies, how some of it has progressed and how it compares to today’s society.”

Netter said the exhibit, like the show, appeals to Trekkies and newbies to the Star Trek universe alike –from every generation, every age, every social or cultural status. The show just naturally brings people together.

“I’m like a drug dealer, I collect for the fans, not for myself. This is a really special group of people.”

Star Trek: The Starfleet Academy runs until June 4 at TELUS Spark. They will also be presenting an adults-only event on April 13, where attendees can sip on a cocktail while checking out the exhibits and explore the deeper cultural impact of Star Trek and the future of space travel.

For tickets and more information about Star Trek: The Star Fleet Academy at TELUS Spark, please visit: http://www.sparkscience.ca/

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