Monday, October 1, 2007

National Museum of Science & Technology in Oslo, Norway

Founded in 1914 and designated as the National Museum of Science and Technology in 1995, this museum, is dedicated primarily to the history of technology. It recently absorbed a small, independent, (and failing) science center in 2002, which it now operates it as a department. Another unit is a medical museum with permanent two exhibitions: one on the history of diseases from 1850 on and another on what it is like to be in a hospital, including a section for children and for the end of life.

The building is new. It also rents space to the Telecom Museum (which currently has a popular exhibition on the history and culture of ring tones.)

The exhibits in the science center area are robust. They are primarily Exploratorium favorites, sturdily built and all working, such as a Bernoulli Blower with target hoops.

Another major theme, of course, is oil. Exhibits in this area address the geology of oil and the technology of platforms, including what it’s like to work and live on a large deep-sea oil platform.

The main exhibit galleries are devoted primarily to energy and transportation. In the energy area, the museum has worked hard to bridge the two worlds of the science museum and the science center by showing some impressive and important examples of hardware from the Norwegian hydropower industry. Among these historical objects are interactive exhibits that demonstrate principles of electromagnetism and the generation of electricity. While most of these exhibits are close-ended, the museum is planning a major renovation that will change many of these.

The largest area of the museum is devoted to transportation. This section has traditional displays of cars, planes, motorcycles, bikes, etc.

A new and interesting program presents mini-exhibitions on current hot topics in science. These exhibitions may be on the order of 30 m2 (300 SF) and are designed for quick use in the lobby.

The current exhibit was called “Cyberstork” and raises questions about the ethics and technology associated with choosing a baby via the Internet.

The museum is currently developing a new exhibition on global warming that will open in early 2008, along with extensive programming for schools. This exhibition will include sections on the science of climate change as well as its impact on people throughout the world.

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