The galaxy is a very large place. It’s challenging finding yourself amongst all the galaxies near and far, far away. But at the Star Wars Identities exhibit, they help you sort through all the space dust and create an identity based on 10 major factors that they find are the building blocks for most people’s individual identity.
You can take two approaches when creating your identity- try to stay true to your own identity as much as possible (with a little creative alien flair) or have fun and completely make up a different persona. Warning for all die-hard Star Wars fans: this felt to me like a Star Wars-themed examination of what makes us individuals. It wasn’t purely a Star Wars exhibit. But fans will live the costumes and movie clips… it’s just not a comprehensive exhibit that will satisfy the appetites of big fans, in my opinion. I remember that many years back I went to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York and they had a set-up where you could dress up like characters from Star Wars then step in front of a themed background from the movie and battle it out light saber-style with a friend. It was incredibly fun and I was hoping to see this type of thing at the Identities exhibit. Although I didn’t find any interactive action scenes like this, I loved the wrist band idea that you would tap to select different characteristics and to “mingle” with other alien friends. It felt very futurisitic and built up the anticipation to see the final product in the end.
I went with a group of friends my age and we also brought my 12-year-old cousin. You don’t need to be a huge fan to appreciate the exhibit but fans will probably enjoy the references more. I wouldn’t bring very young children, though. I debated in the morning about bringing my 3-year-old cousin but he was busy eating and didn’t show much interest luckily. There is a fair amount of time spent reading and listening that may make toddlers impatient. The younger kids at the exhibit seemed to be exhausting their parents, especially due to the fact that we went on a busy Sunday and the line-ups were long all around. I did appreciate that the entire exhibit was well-organized and your entry time is a set time to avoid too much traffic backing up.
So here’s how it worked- you are equipped with a wristband and a portable playback machine with headphones then sent for your orientation. They explain that at each station, the playback audio device will be triggered to give you information about that specific area and you should watch the screens, participate in the interactive selection stations, observe the exhibits, etc. There are themes in each of the 10 major stations with supporting information and it’s all tied in to the larger theme of Star Wars. This makes sense since the Star Wars stories are set among the grand universe with many different species and forces of good vs evil.
The 10 stations (beginning at birth and finally ending with a choice between the forces of dark and light) were:
1. Origins- this is where you tap your wristband onto a choice of species. This doesn’t have too much to do with you as an individual I guess but it’s fun to choose which species you identify yourself with the most. Wookie was by far the cutest. Don’t choose human! Too predictable.
2. Genes- your genetic make-up often determines a lot about how you are predisposed to certain characteristics. For Star Wars fans, think of the chlorian count that Luke was born with compared to the average Star Wars character…. that’s part of his genetic make-up.
4. Culture- what culture were you raised in? On planet Earth, many different cultures affect the way we interpret the world around us. The Identities exhibit expands that concept to the planet you are from… but really, this is just a way of referencing different cultures around the world as entire planets.
9. Personality- be honest!
10. Values- what things do you value most of all. Which leads to…
Do you join the dark side or turn down the offer? I’d like to go back and do it all again as a fictional character that has nothing to do with my own identity. Then I’d choose the dark side to get that cool red glow behind my character! The fun thing is that you get to see your complete character in the end, with your friends in the background. Then you can have your detailed profile emailed to yourself and share with your friends if you want. It was a pretty interesting experience overall.
I think the Identities exhibit is in Ottawa next. If you live there, check it out… it’s more than just a Star Wars exhibit so it’s fine if you’re not a fan. I found it more of a psychological/sociological experiment actually.
But for the fans, here are some of my pics-