Learn more about Science museum
A science museum or a science centre is a museum devoted primarily to science. Older science museums tended to concentrate on static displays of objects related to natural history, paleontology, geology, industry and industrial machinery, etc. Modern trends in museology have broadened the range of subject matter and introduced many interactive exhibits. Many if not most modern science museums - which increasingly refer to themselves as 'science centres' or 'discovery centres' - also put much weight on technology.
 Historical background
"...The public museum as understood today is a collection of specimens and other objects of interest to the scholar, the man of science as well as the more casual visitor, arranged and displayed in accordance with the scientific method. In its original sense, the term 'museum' meant a spot dedicated to the muses - 'a place where man's mind could attain a mood of aloofness above everyday affairs.'" — Museum of Jurassic Technology, Introduction & Background, p.2
As early as the Renaissance, many aristocrats collected curiosities for display to their friends. Universities and particularly medical schools also maintained study collections of specimens for their students. Such collections were the predecessors of modern natural history museums. The Utrecht University Museum, among others, still displays an extensive collection of 18th-century animal and human "rarities" in its original setting.
Another line in the genealogy of science museums came during the Industrial Revolution, with great national exhibits intended to showcase the triumphs of both science and industry. For example, the Great Exhibition in The Crystal Palace (1851) eventually gave rise to London's Science Museum.
In America, various Natural History Societies established collections in the early 1800's, which evolved into museums. Notable was the early New England Museum of Natural History which opened in Boston in 1864.
The modern interactive science museum appears to have been pioneered by Munich’s Deutsches Museum in the early 20th century. This museum had moving exhibits where visitors were encouraged to push buttons and work levers. The concept was taken to the U.S. by Julius Rosenwald, chairman of Sears, Roebuck and Company, who visited the Deutsches Museum museum with his young son in 1911. He was so-captivated by the experience that he decided to build a similar museum in home town of Chicago. The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry opened in phases between 1933 and 1940.
In the mid-twentieth century, Frank Oppenheimer included interactive science exhibits at San Francisco's Exploratorium. The Exploratorium made public the details of their own exhibits in published "Cookbooks" that served as an inspiration to other museums.
Opened in 1967, the Ontario Science Centre continued the trend of featuring interactive exhibits, instead of just static displays. Most science centres have emulated this since.
Four years after the Exploratorium opened, the first OMNIMAX theater opened as the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater and Science Center in San Diego's Balboa Park. The tilted-dome Space Theater doubled as a planetarium. The Science Center was an Exploratorium-style museum included as a small part of the complex. This combination interactive science museum, planetarium and OMNIMAX theater set the standard that many major science museums follow today.
As the flavour of interactivity crossed the Atlantic, the massive Cite des Sciences et de l'Industrie opened in Paris in 1986, and smaller but no less influential national centres soon followed in Spain, Finland and Denmark. In the UK, the first interactive centres also opened in 1986 on a modest scale, but the real blossoming of science centres was fuelled by Lottery funding for projects to celebrate the millennium.
The mission statements of science centres and modern museums vary. But all are united in being places that make science accessible and encourage the excitement of discovery. They are an integral and dynamic part of the learning environment, promoting exploration from the first 'Eureka!' moment to today's cutting edge research.
 Modern examples
Some of the pre-eminent science museums of the world are:
- The Science Museum in London, United Kingdom
Universally known as just "The Science Museum". Unlike many other institutions referred to as science museums, the Science Museum is primarily a historical museum and not a demonstration exhibit (although it does contain such science centre installations as well). It includes such famous items as many of the first steam engines, Stephenson's Rocket steam locomotive, the original models of DNA and heme, the first MRI machine, the first jet engine, and more. Entrance is free.
- The Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.
- The Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany.
- The Museon in The Hague, Netherlands.
- Nemo, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
- Teylers Museum in Haarlem, Netherlands.
- Boerhaave Museum in Leiden, Netherlands.
- Vitensenteret i Trondheim, Norway.
- Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Focuses especially on earth science.
- Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.
Combines interactive exhibitions and education programme with state of the art facilities for world class biomedical research. The Centre was one of the UK's landmark projects funded by the Millennium Commission.
- The Palais de la Découverte in Paris, France.
- The Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, France.
- The Oceanographic Museum in Monaco.
- The Museo di Storia della Scienza in Florence, Italy.
Many of Galileo Galilei's original instruments are housed in this museum.
- 'Whitby Wizard', a new seicen musuem in Whitby, Yorkshire
 Latin America
- The Municipal Museum of Botany (Museu Botânico Municipal) in Curitiba, Paraná, Brazil
One of the largest collections of plants in Brazil and the most important collections of the South Brazilian flora .
 North America
- The Smithsonian Institution, specifically the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
- The Exploratorium in San Francisco, California, United States of America.
- The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California, United States of America.
- The California Science Center in Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
- The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, California, United States of America
The first science museum to combine interactive exhibits with a planetarium and an OMNIMAX theater.
- The Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America.
- The Museum of Science in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
- The St. Louis Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri houses interactive exhibits, an Omnimax theater, and a planetarium. General museum admission to the exhibits is free.
- The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois United States of America.
- The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, Oregon, United States of America.
- The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States of America.
- The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, United States of America.
- The Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
- Science North and Dynamic Earth in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
- The Science World at TELUS World of Science in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
- The Houston Museum of Natural Science in Houston, Texas, United States of America houses a planetarium, observatory, butterfly center and IMAX theatre.
- The Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington, United States of America, one of the few places with 2 IMAX theaters.
- The Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Denver, Colorado, United States of America.
- COSI in Columbus, Ohio, United States of America
- The New Detroit Science Center in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America
- The Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia, United States of America
 Asia and Oceania
- The Hong Kong Science Museum, Hong Kong, China.
- The Singapore Science Centre, Jurong East, Singapore
- National Science Museum, Pathum Thani, Thailand
- Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia
- Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, Canberra, Australia
 See also
- Kaushik, R.,1996, 'Effectiveness of Indian science centres as learning environments : a study of educational objectives in the design of museum experiences',Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, University of Leicester, UK
- Kaushik, R.,1996, 'Non-science-adult-visitors in science centres: what is there for them to do?', Museological Review , Vol. 2, No. 1, p. 72-84.
- Kaushik, R.,1996, 'Health matters in science museums: a review' in Pearce, S. (ed.) New Research in Museum Studies , Vol.6, Athlone Press, London/Atlantic Highlands, p. 186-193.
- Kaushik, R.,1997, " Attitude development in science museums/centres ," In Proceedings of the Nova Scotian Institute of Science , Vol. 40, No. 2, p. 1-12.
 External links
- Yahoo directory of science museums
- History of Zoological Museum in Copenhagen
- Museums as a Mirror of Society
- Association of Science-Technology Centers
- ECSITE, the European Network of Science Centers and Museums
- Science Learning Centres website The national network of Science Learning Centres provides Continuing Professional Development for everyone involved in science education. The network is a joint initiative by the Department for Education and Skills and the Wellcome Trust.
- ASPAC The Asia Pacific Network of Science & Technology Centresda:Teknisk museum