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Science centers in sweden – development and new roles

AnnMarie Israelsson   Teknikens Hus, LuleÃ¥, Stockholm, Sweden

The science center movement in Sweden dates back only about ten years. Before then, the science center concept was known only to a limited number of museum professionals, scientists and educators. Small projects were carried out and plans had been laid for several years by museum directors, university planners and educational entrepreneurs, but it was not until the second half of the eighties that the first science centers finally were opened to the public.

The start of the science center movement in Sweden was encouraged by government action and activities of government agencies. Those actively responsible for creating new science centers are found within the university world, with some of the already existing museums, but also with communities and county administration. Science centers in Sweden are still not numerous, but those existing show more diversity between them than is usually the case in other parts of the world. Different ways of approaching science and technology and differences in organization and responsibilities account for differences in size, scope and activities.

Government concern to strengthen the position of science and technology in the Swedish society as a whole will also strengthen and change the role of science centers. Developing science and technology centers as tools in the strategic planning of the future is once more and very strongly on the agenda of the Swedish government. During 1993, government action was taken to improve working conditions for science center activities within education in Sweden. This paper reports on the development of science centers in Sweden as institutions of informal education.

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