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17th International Course on Scientific Museography

Thirty-three years have elapsed since ”la Caixa” Foundation’s Science Museum opened its doors in Barcelona. Following twenty-four years of activity and museological reflection, CosmoCaixa, as the museum is known today, came into being. Since then, it has received six million visitors as well as recognition from the European Museum Forum in the form of the European Museum of the Year Award 2006. Today it constitutes a benchmark institution for the adoption of a new museological philosophy based on a museographic language that brings together three elements: real objects, real phenomena and museographic metaphors.

The course takes an in-depth look into how science museums are conceived through conversations between museologists, experts, designers and architects, from the statement of intent to the day of opening. “Total Museology”, as it is called, seeks to build upon the idea that museums are instruments of social change in the era of globalization, sustainability and the quest for harmony between civilization and nature. The course affords the opportunity to directly experience “best practices”, whether visible or not from inside museums, through a veritable immersion in CosmoCaixa.

Since 2004, the course has taken on an international dimension thanks to the participation of some one hundred students from fifteen countries in each edition. In addition, it has become an ideal setting in which to forge links with other ongoing projects across the world. Total Museology has been applied in approximately twenty large scientific exhibitions and is currently being applied in several brand new museum projects. These include the Museum of the Antarctic in Punta Arenas (Chile), the Museum of the Woods of Catalonia in Montseny (Spain), the Archimedes Museum in Syracuse (Italy), the Montevideo Science Museum (Uruguay) and the Climate Museum in Lleida (Spain).

The course has been recommended by a new institution: EMA, the European Museum Academy, particularly for professionals in planning, designing and building exhibitions and museums.

Director of the course

Jorge Wagensberg, Scientific Director of the “la Caixa” Foundation and Physicist at the University of Barcelona


  • Museology
  • Course


CosmoCaixa, "la Caixa" Banking Foundation

CosmoCaixa Barcelona is the “la Caixa” Foundation Science Museum, a space with a wide range of scientific and educational exhibits designed to appeal to everyone. Visitors to the museum will be able to enjoy exhibitions, workshops, talks, courses and debates. The singular spaces in the museum include the Geological Wall and the Flooded Forest. The permanent exhibition looks back over the history of matter and is divided into four sections: Inner Matter, Living Matter, Intelligent Matter an Civilised Matter.