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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 14, 2001

Museum Scene
'Color Play' enticing, thought-provoking

By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer

Visitors will be invited to use colors to design aloha shirts at the Color Lab's seven color stations.

"Color Play: Exploring the Art, Science and Culture of Color"

9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily beginning Saturday, through Feb. 3.

Bishop Museum's Castle Memorial Building Museum admission $14.95 adults, $11.95 children 4-12; free for children 3 and under (discounts for kama'aina)


A house of many hues is the dazzling centerpiece of a hands-on exhibition — "Color Play: Exploring the Art, Science and Culture of Color" — opening tomorrow at the Bishop Museum.

This is no ordinary playhouse. It's trompe l'oeil, a French term meaning to deceive the eye. Like the traveling exhibit itself, it is designed to be as whimsical and surprising as it is educational.

More enticing than a gingerbread cottage, the Color Playhouse beckons old and young alike through a kaleidoscope of rooms featuring vibrant patterns, lights, neon swirls, rainbows, wild windows, color-changing costumes and tricky illustrations that fool the eyes into seeing that which isn't, or possibly is.

There's the mysterious Black Light Room, for instance, where objects hidden manifest themselves in the sweeping glare of an ultraviolet spotlight. Even as visitors are delighted by a visual extravaganza within the Yellow, Rainbow and Black Light Rooms, the world outside the playhouse keeps changing from blue to green, yellow to red.

The traveling "Color Play" exhibit is the work of Clifford Wagner Science Interactives Inc. of Harrisburg, Pa. But Bishop Museum's workers have been busy preparing their own colorful contributions.

Those come in the form of the Color Lab's seven color stations. Through a backdrop of Island images, visitors find out how primary colors can be blended, contrasted and classified, or how nature uses colors to camouflage animals.

One of the more intriguing museum components is Color Mood, a series of rooms that illustrates how colors affect emotions, particularly when they are used in combination with music, textures, words, sounds and images.

"Color Play" is carefully crafted to be as fun as it is fascinating and thought-provoking. Those who experience it may walk away with a little better understanding of their own true colors.