Science Museums of the Future: notes and some unusual thoughts
At the ASTC conference in Raleigh a couple days ago, I attended the session: “The Science Museum of the Future.” There were some nice examples of architecture and media in the presentation, but some of us in the audience were hungry for more outside-the-box speculation. So, I thought I’d start a few thoughts here.
First, starting with a couple well-considered directions thinking about new combinations of architecture, museum, and community:
The Distributed Museum. The Association of Children’s Museums has been going through a “Re-imagining Children’s Museums” process for three years, which I’ve written about. What if, instead of thinking about a big central museum, we thought about a medium-sized museum (still big enough to have momentum) and several outpost museums in a community? Those outposts could be at libraries, or even popup exhibits at community festivals, which I wrote about here.
Museums as schools. Several children’s museums have opened preschools in their facilities, many drawing on the Reggio Emilia approach. A few museums even operate charter schools. How far can we take this? As architects plan new community buildings, what would a hybrid school/museum/library look like?
And now, just to loosen things up, a few unusual thoughts:
- The Children’s Nightclub. At the Association of Children’s Museums annual conference this year, I loved the evening party for us adults. While I was climbing two stories in the climbing sculpture and looking down at the dance floor, I thought this was better than any nightclub I’ve seen…(blog entry here). What if we design museums to be a sensory playground for children during the day, and adults at night? (The City Museum in St. Louis might come close already…)
- Museum for Robots and Hybrid Beings. At AAM this year, our booth was across from AAM’s booth, where they had a couple “telepresence devices” (basically skype on wheels) across the aisle from us. I eventually struck up a conversation with them and even practiced my martial art with them (successfully defending myself from robot attack). And it struck me that we may be entering an age of “hybrid beings.” Won’t they want museums too, catering to their needs? Maybe it will demonstrate our good faith by developing a few museums for them before they put us in cages (or worse).
- Deadly Sins Discovery Center. We have many museums already that appeal to our darker sides. (I haven’t been there yet, but the Mob Museum for example). What about a museum for our seven deadly sins? Theses could even be broken down into separate museums: The Greed Museum, Lust House, Wrath Discovery Center, etc.
- Everything Museum. Post-visit connection is often an issue we struggle with. What if we just declare that everything is a museum, the whole life around us. Then the post-visit issue just melts away. That’s the ideal we’ve strived for anyway — to make each moment open to awe and wonder. (Maybe I’ll start a Kickstarter campaign to sell memberships to The Everything Museum).
What else, as we think about shaking things up for our vision of the Museum of the Future? What other ideas?