Science center

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A science center ( American-English for science center , in the British-English science center / museum) is an exhibition house primarily dedicated to the areas of natural sciences and / or technology , and more rarely a museum, with a special exhibition concept in which an attempt is made to provide visitors with independent information and playful experimentation to bring technical and scientific relationships and phenomena closer.

The exhibits in the Science Center require Mittun ( interactive exhibition ), "prohibited touching" rather than true "touch", resulting in a learning by doing is to lead and own experience ( interactive exhibition ). The interactive exhibits are intended to reduce inhibitions when dealing with the topic and to build interest in the areas. This concept of an adventure museum or " hands-on museum " is also used in other areas such as children's museums (see also: Museum Education ).

In contrast to other natural history museums and technology museums , however, most science centers do not have their own collections that have to be looked after and serve science for research. Therefore, according to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), these are not museums, but exhibition houses.


Hugo Kükelhaus presented his " Field of Experience for Developing the Senses " for the first time at the EXPO in Montreal in 1967 . These approx. 35 playful experimental arrangements were important pioneers for the development of this new museum concept.

The first science center to open was the Exploratorium in San Francisco in 1969 , initiated by Frank Oppenheimer . The aim is to educate people about modern science and technology as well as to encourage independent discussion. The human senses constitute the organizing principle of the Exploratorium: the sense of hearing, sight, taste, smell and touch as well as the senses for controlling balance, locomotion and handling form the basic order according to which the experiments are presented. With an annual number of visitors of over half a million, the Exploratorium is still very attractive and conceptually still determines many start-ups today. Within 30 years, more than 300 science centers were founded in the USA. Some of the experiments and exhibits in the exploratory are copied or bought as reproductions. The Exploratorium has its own workshops that make replicas and export them worldwide. European science centers only emerged in the 1980s. The Berlin Spectrum was the first German to open in 1982. As early as 1980, the first science center experimentation stations were set up in Flensburg under the name Phenomenta . There are now other Phenomenta Science Centers in Bremerhaven , Lüdenscheid , Peenemünde and Templin . Universum in Bremen , which has been open since September 2000, and the Phæno Science Center in Wolfsburg , architecturally designed by Zaha Hadid , which opened on November 24, 2005, are newly founded. On March 31, 2007, the "Science House Rust" was the first Science Center in Baden-Württemberg to open next to the gates of Europa-Park. By Joe Ansel , the concept comes the interactive and thematic "Science Centers", which he has already been introduced in other countries. In 2002, the Mathematikum opened in Giessen, a museum that applies the principles of a science center exclusively to mathematical subjects. It is the first mathematical hands-on museum in the world.

With the Renaissance adventure world , which opened in Hameln in September 2005 , the approach is implemented for the first time for a humanities topic.

There are now more than 400 science centers worldwide.

Historical predecessors

Even Francis Bacon , René Descartes and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz developed concepts for the popularization of science and technology, and in the 17th and 18th centuries found science exhibits their audience. The well-known Christmas lectures by Michael Faraday and the lectures on the “Physics of the World” that Alexander von Humboldt gave in Berlin at the time are also early approaches to a “ Public Understanding of Science ” . Technical museums and collections developed from the princely art cabinets and cabinets of curiosities ( cabinet of curiosities ). In 1903 the German Museum opened in Munich.

Historical exhibit of the Urania (exhibited today in the Science Center Spectrum )

The Urania in Berlin can be seen as the forerunner of a science center , which already had an observatory, a scientific theater and a lay experiment room in 1889. In the scientific theater there, science and technology were presented as vividly as possible using the media available at the time : For example, a journey “From the Earth to the Moon” and the “History of the Primeval World”. At the end of 1889, Thomas Alva Edison , accompanied by Werner von Siemens, visited Urania. As a result, the Urania Scientific Theater was invited to tour cities on the US east coast. The director of Urania Max Wilhelm Meyer and the theater painter Wilhelm Kranz , both of whom had been school friends in Braunschweig, set out on a trip to New York. The play "From Earth to the Moon" has been translated into English. The title was "A Trip to the Moon". The “history of the primeval world” became “From Chaos to Men”. In New York both pieces were performed in the then new Carnegie Hall .

Important science center

The Noesis in Thessaloniki, the architecture reflects the different areas

see also: List of Science Centers




Rest of Europe



  • Rembert Unterstell: Knowledge to go? Science Center and 'Centermania'. The 'science experience' in the entertainment society. In: Gegenworte, issue 28, autumn 2012, pp. 64–66, ISSN  1435-571X
  • Hendrik Neubauer: Knowledge experience. The best adventure museums and science centers , Bube-Verlag 2007 (2nd expanded and updated edition), ISBN 978-3-938806-86-9
  • Hans-Erhard Lessing: Naturschön - Phenomena in Technorama , Frauenfeld 2006
  • Ulrich Reinhardt: Edutainment - Education is fun , Lit-Verlag, Münster 2005, ISBN 978-3-8258-9082-7
  • Petra Schaper-Rinkel, Susanne Giesecke, Daniel Bieber Science Center , Berlin 2002 (study on behalf of the BMBF , PDF file)
  • Hilde S. Hein: Science, Art and Perception - the new type of museum from San Francisco , Stuttgart 1993.
  • Victor J. Danilov: Science and Technology Centers , London 1982.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Foundation German Museum of Technology Berlin. In: Stiftung Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin eV, accessed on November 22, 2010 .
  2. Jana Schlütter: Portrait: And another attempt. In: Zeit Online. Zeitverlag Gerd Bucerius GmbH & Co. KG, November 24, 2005, accessed on November 22, 2010 (in the original from the print edition of Die Zeit dated November 23, 2005).
  3. ^ "Blanker Hans" becomes the Phenomania experience center

Web links