For about a year now, we have been working on a truly large-scale project: the Shandong Science and Technology Museum in Jinan, China. Together with our Chinese partner agency Beijing Zhongbang we have now completed the master planning of the science center. We are particularly proud of the result. With the overall concept for the content and design of the 18,000 m² permanent exhibition, we are breaking new ground in the Chinese science center world.
Science centers in China are often divided into similar galleries: Exploration and Discovery, Sci-tech and Life, Industrial Cradle, Kids Gallery. The focus is on the depiction of many phenomena through a large number of interactive exhibits, but less on the classification of what is depicted in an overall scientific and historical context or in an overarching didactic and design concept.
As early as 2012, we have been working on a new generation of science centers in China with the Shenyang Science and Technology Museum in Liaoning. With the Shandong Science and Technology Museum, we are now opening another new chapter in cooperation with our partners: Instead of grouping the exhibition according to scientific subject areas, all phenomena and technologies are placed in a narrative context – anything from the origin of the solar system to artificial intelligence.
The innovative exhibition concept focuses on 56 selected milestones in the history of science from astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology, as well as engineering sciences, materials science, medicine, communication, media and IT. For example, some milestones are the harnessing of fire, invention of the compass, printing, steam engine and computer. 800 interactive exhibits designed by us, as well as models and objects are grouped around the milestones like small microcosms. Texts and graphics place them in their immediate temporal, local and global context. The exhibition interactively provides visitors with knowledge about the respective scientific laws, inventions and discoveries, while at the same time establishing sometimes surprising links and juxtapunctions between milestones across historical epochs and scientific disciplines. In this way, visitors experience that the invention of the wheel not only revolutionised our locomotion, but also changed the construction industry, energy production and our eating habits.
Through this contextualisation of the exhibits and the cross connections between them, a broad knowledge of the respective framework conditions, the influence of the milestones on the future and also the reality if life is communicated to the visitors. You can embark on a chronological journey through time in the history of science or experience the milestones in any desired order. Moreover, we have designed milestone tours on topics such as quantum theory, the invention of the airplane or the development of the Internet. Starting with a key event, they take visitors on an associative, cross-epochal and cross-disciplinary tour. This multi-perspective approach appeals to visitors on many levels and supports transformative learning. They can explore the exhibition according to their interests and preferences and gain a deeper understanding of the connections between scientific, technological and social developments.
Our master plan now lays the foundation for the implementation of the Shandong Science and Technology Museum: an interactive, experience-oriented, multimedia hands-on exhibition extended by the exciting storytelling and scenographic design of a science museum. A “Science Center 2.0” and perhaps a model for others.