National Museum of Science and Technology

Tomas Ribba

Educator and Project Leader, Tekniska Museet

Tekniska Museet

National Museum of Science and Technology PO Box 27842 SE-115 93 Stockholm Sweden

www.tekniskamuseet.se

Stockholm, Sweden
Swedish Museum of the Year 2016 Award

 

All Little Genius' Favorite Place

 

 

 

Background

The National Museum of Science and Technology, which is Swedenrs"s biggest museum of technology with galleries covering around 10,000 m2, has a national charter to preserve our technological and industrial history as part of our cultural heritage. We aim to develop and communicate knowledge about and experiences of our cultural heritage and thereby provide perspective on societal development. The charter of the Museum is to shed light on development within the engineering arts and their basic sciences and within industry. Within these fields, the Museum is to both pursue and promote scientific research and documentation, and to conduct educational and information activities. We maintain archives and a library, which are open to all, and our focus is as much on preserving and conserving our collections as on building and acquiring new knowledge. Our goal is to make our collections and other materials available on the Internet.

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Since its start in 1936, the museum has received millions of children and adults curious to see, feel, touch, and understand technology in our society. The Museum has existed since 1923 and became a foundation in 1948. The museums charter comes from two directions: The Foundation in the form of its articles of association, and the Swedish state in the form of the appropriation directions from Swedenrs"s Ministry of Culture. The Museum has received state funding since 1965.

 

The change from good to great

The way we introduce ourselves and our content to our audience has been quite traditional. Traditional in the sense that many exhibitions with displays and objects, a lot of texts and explanations were aimed at adults. The exhibits could be, in some cases difficult to absorb if you werenrs"t a little interested in technology from the beginning and a little involved in the subject before the visit. Because of that and how our exhibitions were designed and how we communicated our message, we got a certain type of audience. That audience were mostly middle aged adults with a relatively high interest in technology, science, and history. We didnrs"t want to lose that group because we really love them and we need them but we wanted to reach a greater variety of people, we wanted everyone to find us and get as excited about technology as we are. We changed our focus and put extra effort into reaching the young geniuses and their parents and people that normally donrs"t visit museums. In all fairness, we havenrs"t been without focus on children, young people, and families in the past. The Museum of Science and Technology was the first science center in Sweden, with lots of experiments to discover for all and special for children and young people.

 

Our Journey

The journey to change the museum into a more accessible place started about 10 years ago. To be the best and to stand out among so many good and talented museums in Sweden takes time and a lot of effort. To achieve our goal of increasing the number of visitors and becoming an obvious choice for everyone who was looking for an exciting and fun experience for the whole family with educational and interesting content, a major change was required. We knew that the process of becoming a new, modern museum and science center for everyone was going to be a long journey with a lot of hard work. This journey has been a lot of fun and created a lot of excitement in the process. To be a part of a big change like this with everyone's commitment, positive reactions, fun meetings, workshops, and creative processes have been so much fun! Hard work pays off and here we are, The National Museum of Science and Technology is the best museum in Sweden.

 

All little geniusrs" favourite place

Now, The National Museum of Science and Technology has a clear vision to be ld"every little geniusrs" favourite placerd". The museum wants to strengthen children and young peoplers"s technical confidence and awaken curiosity for technology and science at an early age.

/In September 2015 the museum opened its largest investment to date; the new science centre MegaMind. A brand new exhibition focusing on hands on, interactive installations and the inclusion of everyone, no matter what the premise might be. Here you can explore and discover how everything fits and works together. An exciting journey from the infancy of industry to grand visions of the future. Paint with your eyes, make virtual sculptures or create music using the power of thought! MegaMind is a place where you experiment your way to new ideas and train your brain to become even more creative.

MegaMind is a big co-creation project with our visitors, hundreds of children, and adults. We also worked with a variety of experts from different organizations with different competencies where accessibility was featured as a clear focus. We invited a lot of people from different backgrounds with different disabilities to test our ideas. The goal was that to include as many people as possible, we wanted everyone to have access to as much of our content as possible no matter who you are. We learned a lot in that process.

The museum gives priority to children and young people who are our main target group. Our business shall be created according to their needs and to be perceived as relevant by them. The clarity of this has been innovative and has contributed to the result of being the childrenrs"s favourite museum of today. Our work to be an including place for everyone, ld"every little geniusrs" favourite placerd" was recently awarded with Swedenrs"s most prestigious award for museums; The Museum of the Year. We are so honoured to receive this award and it is a fine acknowledgement of all the hard work that we put into through the years. The purpose of the award is to recognize excellent museum practices and to inspire other museums to innovative and pioneering activities of good quality.

Today we have about 350 000 visitors and we hope that itrs"s just the beginning. Before our big change we had about 150 000 visitors. Our rather bold goal now is to have 500 000 visitors a year by 2020. We will continue our journey and try new and creative ways to inspire people with science and technology. To be on top as a museum and science centre forces us to be relevant and on our toes, all the time. Our ambition is to continue to grow and be reputed and well known in Europe too. Please come and visit us, we would be so happy to show you around our beautiful and exciting museum and science centre that we are so proud of. The jury's comments for the museum of the year award were as follows:

ld"In recognition of the successful renewal work which has enabled the museum to achieve its objective of being ls"every little geniusrs"s favourite placers", The National Museum of Science and Technology has been awarded the prestigious honour of Museum of the Year 2016.rd"