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Science centres and museums: past-present-future

  • Spokes collection
Laying the foundations of Heureka's new building - Photo by Jussi Helo

What makes the specificity of science centres and museums? What is their role and mission, and where are they headed to? Articles gathered in this Spokes collection unpack the history, identity and role of science centres and museums and look ahead: how should they involve to keep serving the societies they are rooted in? You'll also find reflections on Ecsite as a network here: its historic roots and future perspectives.

Keywords

  • science centre
  • science museum
  • future
  • past
  • history
  • #Ecsite30
  • impact

Feature articles

In Depth
One of the analysed sessions was “After Exploratorium: The shifting identities of science centres”. Here: The Exploratorium’s Outdoor Gallery during a summertime After Dark © Exploratorium, All rights reserved

Feature article by Marianne Achiam, PhD - Jan Sølberg, PhD published in Spokes #15, January 2016

Practices of today and visions of tomorrow. Two academics put Ecsite conference sessions under a magnifying glass - and found some new museum functions at work| Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Category:
Education & learning, EU and governance
Keywords:
role of science centres, museum functions, paradigm, trends, Spokes
In Depth
Laying the foundations of Heureka's new building - Photo by Jussi Helo

Feature article by Tapio Koivu - Mikko Myllykoski published in Spokes #14, December 2015

Can Heureka’s vision help your own organisation further?| Estimated reading time: 15 minutes
Category:
EU and governance
Keywords:
white paper, role of science centres, Heureka, innovation, trends, Spokes
Lookout
Ecsite's founding meeting, 9 January 1989

Interviews published in Spokes #49, February 2019

Five interviews to celebrate our achievements - and look ahead| Estimated reading time: 27 minutes (4-5 min per interview)
Keywords:
#Ecsite30, Anniversary, Spokes
Column
Celebrate, reflect, act

Feature article by Herbert Münder published in Spokes #47, December 2018

With the #Ecsite30 season we invite the Ecsite science engagement community to celebrate, reflect and act
Keywords:
Spokes
Lookout
Iconic Brachiosaurus specimen at the Museum fuer Naturkunde Berlin

Interviews published in Spokes #55, September 2019

Extending the discussion to scientific collections| Estimated reading time: 30 minutes (5 min per interview).
Keywords:
collections, colonialism, decolonising, heritage, museum, Spokes
Column
Permanent exhibitions at Miraikan, host of the 2017 Science Centre World Summit

Feature article by Robert Firmhofer published in Spokes #36, December 2017

Science Centre World Summit: a global vision for the field
Keywords:
Spokes
In Depth
Various children at the Museu Blau (Barcelona), attentively listening to a museum educator about a skull on display. Image: Museu de Ciències Naturals de Barcelona.

Feature article by Pere Viladot - Erik Stengler - Guillermo Fernandez published in Spokes #13, November 2015

An opinion paper warning science centres and museums against the shortcomings of “fun science” and arguing for a “seductive science” alternative| Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Category:
Education & learning, Topics in science
Keywords:
fun, science engagement, dumbing down, seductive science, Spokes
Lookout
Visitor at the Climat VR exhibition at La Casemate, Grenoble, France, December 2015. Photo Pierre Jayet

Interviews published in Spokes #27, February 2017

What do 2017 trends mean for science engagement? From open science to post-truth and tinkering to augmented reality| Estimated reading time: 20 minutes (4-5 min per interview)
Category:
Education & learning, EU and governance
Keywords:
trends, making, tinkering, VR, AR, post-truth, open science, RRI, Spokes
Lookout
Guests slide into the future on "Sliding Through a Fruit Field" by teamLab.

Interviews published in Spokes #52, May 2019

A futurist and three museum professionals on futures thinking methods & exhibitions| Estimated reading time: 24 minutes (4-7 minutes per interview)
Category:
Education & learning
Keywords:
Spokes, Futures thinking, science museums, exhibitions
In Depth

Feature article by Julie Becker published in Spokes #5, October 2014

A glimpse of the European science engagement landscape
Keywords:
Spokes
In Depth
Techniquest was the first cultural institution in the development of Cardiff Harbour

Feature article by Professor Per-Edvin Persson published in Spokes #9, June 2015

Need to prove (potential) impact and argue the case science centres and museums with stakeholders and decision makers? This review is exactly what you were looking for: Persson summarizes scientific and professional literature on the impact of science centres| Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Category:
Education & learning, EU and governance
Keywords:
impact, Persson, learning, economy, urban planning, Bilbao effect, Spokes
In Depth

Feature article by John H. Falk - Lynn D. Dierking - Mark Needham - Lisa Pendergast published in Spokes #3, May 2014

The social impact of science centres around the world is not yet fully understood
Keywords:
Spokes
In Depth

Feature article by René Fransen published in Spokes #4, July 2014

It is about giving young people a place in the story of science
Keywords:
Spokes
Lookout

Interviews published in Spokes #25, December 2016

Can museums themselves become laboratories and testbeds for innovation? Should they?| Estimated reading time: 14 minutes (2-4 min per interview)
Category:
Education & learning, EU and governance
Keywords:
Spokes, innovation, business incubator