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What are the plans for Città della Scienza and how can you help?

The Ecsite network is eager to learn what’s next for Città della Scienza following the fire of 4 March 2013. Here, Anne-Marie Bruyas, head of International Relations, Fondazione IDIS-Città della Scienza, answers some important questions about the difficult present and hopes for the future. h3. Are you planning to rebuild Città della Scienza?

Yes absolutely, this huge mobilization and the support of institutions encouraged us to stand up and to plan the reconstruction of Città della Scienza rapidly.

In exactly one month, on Saturday, 13 April, the science centre will resume its exhibition activities, although on a much smaller scale, after the fire on 4 March.

Professor Silvestrini (founder of Città) said: “It is not only a symbolic event, although I cannot miss the exemplary scope of this choice of ours. More specifically, we are reopening an exhibition division dedicated to children in the areas facing the Conference Center, which were not at all affected by the fire.

Children were those most struck by the violence of the fire, and those who have been supporting us with their affection but also with very sensible and reasonable proposals. There will be BIT- our virtual puppet, outdoor activities and hands-on exhibits, as well as school labs.” Professor Silvestrini concluded by saying: ”We will have altogether about 2.000 square meters of teaching and exhibition area, indoor and outdoor, which is little, if compared with the burned science centre, but it is enough space to restart”.

Later on, we will go to resume our exhibition activities in the building under construction which originally was meant to expand the pre-existing science centre and accommodate new exhibits on the human body.

Meanwhile we will go on to complete all the financial and administrative paperwork in order to start rebuilding the science centre “as it used to be, where it was, but more beautiful than before” as the slogan launched by the IDIS Fondazione states.

How can the Ecsite network help Città?

First of all, by means of your affection and moral support, and by keeping international mobilization active against this criminal and tragic event which deprived us of our science centre.

Later on, when we restart our activities and progressively reopen our spaces, we shall need donations of exhibits so as to slowly reconstruct our exhibit collections according to the hands-on tradition typical of science centres. We shall be more precise in a call that will be published very soon giving criteria as to our actual needs as soon as the schedule of reconstruction is better defined.

Will Città be represented at the Ecsite Annual Conference 2013?

Of Course! First of all we want to hug and thank all those who have been and are so very close to us in these most difficult days. We also want to give our contribution to the various sessions. Please, remember that our activities are regularly going on, apart from exhibitions in the strict sense of the word. All teaching, communication and business-creation projects are regularly continuing.

Catherine Franche (Executive Director of Ecsite), Robert Firmhofer (President of Ecsite) and I thought that we can set up a booth in the Business Bistro where we can meet everybody and tell about our situation, and plan any action for the future. In doing so it will be easier to meet again.

How are the staff of Città feeling?

After the initial shock and sorrow the staff of Città della Scienza reacted with great determination and strength to this catastrophic event.

All the activities that we could still do (seminars, teaching activities and laboratories) in the Conference Center were immediately reactivated. This was possible also due to the great support we received from many people, which climaxed in a major demonstration on the Sunday after the fire: fifteen thousand people participated in the demonstration, asking for the reopening of Città della Scienza and the immediate identification of those responsible for the fire.

There was also a general mobilization by all institutions from the local to the International level. For example the historical S. Carlo Opera Theater will donate the proceeds of a day to Città della Scienza. It goes without saying that the whole world of research rallied in our support: schools, workers, unions. In short, the fire caused a major collective shock.

There is also a homage we received by a Neapolitan pizza chef, whose restaurant had been set on fire by criminals some years ago, and who created a “Città della Scienza pizza”, on his menu – 10 percent of the price of which is being donated to our reconstruction.

Is there anything else you want to say to the Ecsite network?

Thank you wholeheartedly for the support and affection you are giving us in these days. We shall never forget it.