Beloved 75-year-old bedtime story to be brought to life at Calgary’s Telus Spark
There are all kinds of stories, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and lullabies used to help lull children to sleep.
Perhaps none as popular as Margaret Wise Brown’s book Goodnight Moon.
Published 75 years ago, the storybook illustrated by Clement Hurd is a staple in many households.
Online stats vary, but Goodnight Moon had reportedly sold 48 million copies by its 70th anniversary, with that number only climbing higher as sales continue.
It has also been translated into about a dozen different languages.
Now, the beloved children’s book will accomplish another feat as it comes to life for the first time in an immersive digital experience right here in Calgary.
Bringing the book to life
Telus Spark is the first science centre in Canada to have a permanent digital immersion gallery.
It was launched in 2021 and Goodnight Moon will be the third installment.
“We feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to present such a classic best seller for a number of decades in its first iteration outside of the book itself,” says Telus Spark chief experience officer Roderick Tate.
Each show takes anywhere from six to 12 months to plan and put together as the team at Telus Spark and its partners try to come up with ideas that will be entertaining, accessible, and will resonate with audiences, Tate says.
The galleries merge artistic and sound design and interactive elements.
Goodnight Moon boasts a 3,000-square-foot pixelated space with floor and wall projection technology and larger-than-life set pieces—some of which are animated.
An iconic piece of literature
Tate says Telus Spark is honoured to be trusted by the families of the author and illustrator of Goodnight Moon, which he calls an iconic piece of literature.
“To be able to take it and bring it to life and the trust that they put in us as part of celebrating its 75th anniversary,” he says.
“We feel very, very fortunate and I think people are going to be very happy and surprised by the magic that this little story has.”
Visitors to the exhibit will not only experience a cherished story coming to life, but Tate points out that there is also an educational element.
“This book has been such a great asset for parents throughout the generations to help young ones prepare themselves for sleep and get into that kind of mind frame,” he explains.
“So we share a little bit about the importance of sleep and advancements in sleep science and things like that as part of the overall package that we have.”
An educational element
Tate says the Goodnight Moon digital experience gives Telus Spark another platform to share information about science, which is all around us.
“Millions and millions of pixels coming to life dancing in front of your eyes in an immersive environment that you can actually interact with, you know, that’s cutting edge technology and that’s science in itself,” Tate says.
“And then you get to layer on that storytelling element which attracts people of all ages, all walks of life to come.”
Fifty years ago, Tate says science centres broke the mould for museums and attractions by being interactive and hands-on.
While that format has been successful, audiences and people’s expectations evolve, Tate explains, so science centres must do the same to continue providing high-quality, entertaining, and educational experiences.