Museum International

Dossier: Science and technology museums

u Technology museums: new publics, new partners - Günter Knerr

u Science in the service of society: the Israel National Museum of Science - Nitsa Movshovitz-Hadar and Drora Kass

u The 'context museum': integrating science and culture - Ivo Janousek

u You'll never know unless you go! - Paul F. Donabue

Science museums: centres of excellence for developing countries - M. Samed Said

Innovation in Catalonia: technology in its social context - Eusebi Casanelles

u A palace to reconcile man and science - Bernard Blache

u Discovery Place: dazzling the public - Freda Nicholson and Jim Hoffman

u Interactive exhibits: how visitors respond - Guillermo Fernández and Montserrat Benlloch

Visitors

The 'expert visitor' concept - Hanna Gottesdiener and Marie-Sylvie Poli

Summary of Articles

u Reinventing the science museum: the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester
J. Patrick Greene

Constant adaptation and renewal are the hallmarks of Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry, as explained by its director, Patrick Greene.  He is chairman of the European Museum Forum (organizers of the European Museum of the Year Awards) and president of the Museums Association.  He was, until recently, president of ICOM's International Committee of Museums of Science and Technology (CIMUSET).  His doctorate is in archaeology, based on research into medieval Norton Priority in Cheshire, the excavation of which he directed from 1971 to 1982.

u Technology museums: new publics, new partners
Günter Knerr

Museums in general, and science and technology museums in particular, must borrow and adapt the notions of customer service and the methods of project management, market analysis and fund-raising that have proved their effectiveness in business and industry, in the view of Günter Knerr, director of the Deutches Museum in Munich.  He is well-versed in new communication strategies, in particular, multimedia operations, and is head of the Department of Craft and Industry as well as the Museum's Chemistry Project.

u Science in the service of society: the Israel National Museum of Science
Nitsa Movshovitz-Hadar and Drora Kass

Science as a cornerstone of nation building is a guiding principle of the Israel National Museum of Science, which caters to a culturally diverse public of all ages.  Nitsa Movshovitz-Hadar is director of the museum and professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and former head of its Department of Education in Technology and Science.  Since 1986, she has been academic director of the Israel National Pedagogical Center for Mathematics.  For more than ten years, she was mathematics consultant to Israel Educational Television, which produced 'DraMath', a series of sixteen videotaped dramatic programmes in mathematics that won in 1985 Japan Prize International Contest of Educational Video Programs.  Drora Kass, a psychologist by training, heads a consulting firm that assists institutions to enunciate goals, conceptualize programmes, devise strategies and raise funds.  For more than thirty years she has been active in the promotion of peace between Israel and its neighbours and has won numerous awards on behalf of this work.  Her previous positions include: director of Public Affairs and Resource Development Division, the Technion; special consultant to the Israeli Minister of Education and Culture; and director of the US Office of the International Center for Peace in the Middle East.

u The 'context museum': integrating science and culture
Ivo Janousek

One of the most important tasks facing science and technology museums today is to shed the view of science as divorced from culture.  Ivo Janousek explains how the history of Western thought resulted in this dichotomy and points a way forward to bring about a more integrated understanding of the world around us.  The author is director of the National Technical Museum in Prague and a specialist in cybernetics, philosophy of science and culture, and contemporary art criticism.  He is a member of the board of the European Collaborative for Science, Industry and Technology (ECSITE) and the Committee for the History of Technology (ICOHTECH), and is a vice-president of the Middle-European Union of Technical Museums (MUT).  He is the author of numerous monographs, patents, scientific articles and art catalogues, and radio and television programmes, as well as a lecturer in logic and epistemology at Charles University in Prague.

u You'll never know unless you go!
Paul F. Donabue

Canada's approach to presenting science and technology is strongly visitor-oriented, and geared to linking past and present dynamic, innovative fashion.  Paul F. Donahue was formerly director-general of Collection and Research and is now director-general of Public Programmes for Canada's National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa.  He has been the provincial archaeologist for Alberta and his interests include the prehistory of north-western North America, management of archaeological resources and collection development, heritage stewardship, and the public understanding of the past.  

Science museums: centres of excellence for developing countries
M. Samed Said

The new Susan Mubarak Science Exploration Centre in Cairo is the first of its kind in the region and was designed to bring the country's children into the heart of scientific and technological progress.  M. Samed Said was its guiding spirit and he describes the formidable challenges that developing countries face if they are to join the scientific debate that characterizes our epoch.  The author is a technology adviser at the Egyptian Ministry of Education and directed the national project of education technology in Egypt, including introducing technology in Egypt's schools and setting up a nation-wide video conference network, as well as video and multimedia centres.  He is a professor of electronics in the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, and has taught at universities in the United States.

Innovation in Catalonia: technology in its social context
Eusebi Casanelles

At the heart of an unusual decentralized system of independent museums, each recounting a part of the whole history of industrialization in Catalonia, lies Terrassa's Museum of Science and Technology.  Its singular philosophy - and how it evolved - is described by Eusebi Casanelles, director of the Museum and executive president of TICCIH (The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage).

u A palace to reconcile man and science
Bernard Blache

Science museums are a special part of the museum world, dealing as they do with the stuff of everyday life and appealing primarily to reason rather than to aesthetics, according to Bernard Blache.  They have a distinctly social role to play by narrowing the gap between scientists and citizens who have the responsibility of taking the decision s that scientific progress imposes.  The author is director of communication and visitors at the Palais de la Découverte in Paris and is co-chairman of ICOM-CIMUSET.  He is an executive member of the French National Committee of ICOM and treasurer of the Association of Museums and Centres for the Development of Scientific, Technical and Industrial Culture (AMCSTI).

u Discovery Place: dazzling the public
Freda Nicholson and Jim Hoffman

The Discovery Place family if museums in Charlotte, North Carolina, includes one of the most outstanding hands-on science centres in the United States.  Visited by more than half a million people from all over the country each year, it provides ever-changing facilities that foster experiences in areas that range from life science to space exploration.  Freda Nicholson is president and chief executive officer of Discovery Place, Inc.  She has been in the museum field for more than twenty-five years, having served as past president of the Association of Science-Technology Centers and a board member of the American Association of Museums.  She also has been a long-standing member of ICOM-CIMUSET.  Jim Hoffman is director of marketing and public relations at Discovery Place and is editor of the museum's publications.  He is also a freelance writer, focusing on issues related to family, education and travel.

u Interactive exhibits: how visitors respond
Guillermo Fernández and Montserrat Benlloch

The burgeoning field of visitor studies can provide a wealth of information on the effectiveness of interactive science exhibits.  In Barcelona, Guillermo Fernández of the La Caixa Foundation Science Museum and Montserrat Benlloch, of the Faculty of Education of the University of Vic, devised a research project to see how different categories of visitor reacted to an ingenious exhibit and here recount the results of their work.

The 'expert visitor' concept
Hanna Gottesdiener and Marie-Sylvie Poli

Visitor studies have moved far beyond the simple gathering of statistics to develop increasingly redefined data and behavioural profiles.  The Centre for Study and Research on Exhibitions and Museums (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherche sur les Expositions et les Musées, CEREM) at Jean Monnet University, Saint-Etienne, France, is a leader in the field and developed an innovative approach to shed new light on an old question: How do visitors perceive an exhibition?  Jean Davallon is professor of sociology at the University and director of CEREM.  Hanna Gottesdiener is professor of psychology at the University of Paris-X, a member of CEREM and Editor-in-Chief of Publics et Musées.  Marie-Sylvie Poli is lecturer in language sciences, Pierre Medès France University, Grenoble, and a member of CEREM.

Museum International - N° 208

N° 208
Science and technology museums
The 'expert visitor'
Displaying ethnology

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Last update 14/06/01