Aspiring Trekkies can find their future ‘career’ at TELUS Spark

Calling all wanna-be Captain Kirks.

Fans of Star Trek can finally live out their dreams of attending Starfleet Academy at TELUS Spark’s new interactive exhibit, The Starfleet Academy Experience.

The Star Trek-themed opened at TELUS Spark in Calgary Feb. 4 and will be in town until June 4.

It is the exhibit’s and the first stop in Western Canada and only the third since it opened last year.

The Starfleet Academy Experience includes the actual science behind the science fiction of the Star Trek TV and film series, with near-future developments to showcase the relevance and importance of science, technology, engineering and math.

Kelsey Marklund, marketing and communications co-ordinator for TELUS Spark, says the exhibit is perfect for life-long enthusiasts as well as new fans who want to learn more about the series.

“It’s a combination of interactive experiences which are fun for everyone no matter what their Trek knowledge is,” she said in an interview.

The experience allows guests to become Starfleet Cadet Recruits.

“As guests go through the exhibit they are taking part in a “career day” at The Academy. They’ll go through a series of evaluations in seven different zones,” Marklund explained.

The results are tracked with a RFID bracelet, and at the end, guests receive their Starfleet career recommendation.

Some of the experiences involve learning to speak Klingon, using a phaser, or navigating the spacecraft Enterprise through a maze of threats.

A lot of work went into bringing the exhibit to Calgary.

“The crew, a combination of professionals who came to Calgary specifically to help with setup, and several of our fantastic TELUS Spark team, started setting it up at the beginning of January,” Marklund said.

It took a total of 2,673 hours to transform the feature gallery at TELUS Spark into the Starfleet Academy experience.

Original artifacts and memorabilia from the franchise are on display for visitors to enjoy. Martin Netter, the owner of the largest collection of Star Trek items in the world, donated many of them for the show.

“Martin Netter came to Calgary the week before the exhibit was set to open and helped with the final setup of his collection,” Marklund said.

Brian Murray, a volunteer at the exhibit, said he wasn’t a big fan of Star Trek until recently.

“I wanted to see some of the cool props,” Murray said.

“It was kind of up my alley,” he said. “The best part is the transporter. It is one of the coolest technologies from Star Trek.”

Murray said everyone should check out the exhibit, even if they don’t know much about the Star Trek franchise.

“There are some interesting things to learn,” he added. “Don’t be upset if you can’t speak Klingon though, it is a frustrating activity.”

The year 2016 was the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise, and 2017 is the 50th anniversary of the Calgary Science Centre, the earlier incarnation of TELUS Spark.

“Having this exhibit here in Calgary is an excellent way to celebrate these two occasions,” Marklund said.

Live long and prosper: Kelsey Marklund, the marketing and communications coordinator at TELUS Spark poses at the start of the Starfleet Academy Experience in Calgary on February 13. 2017. The exhibit will be in Calgary until June.(Photo by Maddie Burton/The Press)
About Madeline Burton 7 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Madeline Burton is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2016-17 academic year.