History of Science Museums

A science museum is a museum that exhibits items connected with science and the history of science. Although there were exhibits before in the form of cabinets of curiosities, the first science museum was Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid, Spain opened in 1752. The Industrial Revolution through national exhibits, whose role was to show marvels and triumphs of industry and science, also gave birth to science museums. National Exhibit in Crystal Palace in 1951 led to the founding of London's Science Museum. In the United States, museums also originated from collections that various Natural History Societies collected. For instance, the New England Museum of Natural History opened in Boston in 1864 and became “The Museum of Science.” In the beginning, science museums had items that were not allowed to be touched. But at the start of the 20th century, Deutsches Museum in Munich changed everything with its idea of an interactive museum of science. It had moving exhibits, and visitors were encouraged to interact with them by pushing buttons and pulling levers. The idea of a museum where visitors are passive observers, and active participants spread from there. In 1911, Julius Rosenwald, chairman of Sears, Roebuck, and Company, visited Deutsches Museum. He liked the idea so much that he decided to open something like that in the United States. From that was founded Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry in 1933 and 1940. In 1959, one more interactive science museum was founded in Saint Louis - the Museum of Science and Natural History. Interactivity became an indispensable ingredient in the functioning of science museums worldwide.

Some of the world’s science museums:

Haus der Musik in Vienna, Austria . It opened in 2000. It is a museum of sound and music, and it studies music history from the beginning to today with high-tech interactive presentations.

Technopolis in Mechelen, Belgium is a science museum with an interactive exhibition to stimulate biotechnology and micro-electronics in Flanders.

Museum of Science in Boston

Mendel Museum of Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic . It was founded to promote the legacy of Augustinian abbot G. J. Mendel, known primarily for his studies conducted on plants, peas in particular, and because of that, is considered the father of genetics.

Cité de l'espace in Toulouse, France . Theme park and a science museum opened in 1997. It exhibits full-scale models of the Ariane 5 rocket, Mir space station, and Soyuz modules.

Sinsheim Auto & Technik Museum in Sinsheim, Germany . Opened in 1981, it is the largest privately owned museum in Europe. It exhibits Concorde aircraft, Tupolev Tu-144, the Russian Buran space shuttle, and the largest permanent Formula One collection.

Oceanographic Museum in Monaco-Ville, Monaco. Founded in 1910, it had Jacques-Yves Cousteau as a director from 1957 to 1988. It exhibits various species of sea fauna in stuffed form and as skeletons, sea-related objects, model ships, tools, and weapons. It has a large aquarium in the basement with various sea flora and fauna.

Museum of Science in Boston
Museum of Science in Boston