The paper discusses the museum as a place of experimentation of new models of communicating research. It analyzes the experience of the biggest museum of science and technology in Italy: the National Museum of Technology Leonardo da Vinci in Milano (MUST). This case study shows how inquiry based activities and museum environment can contribute to change communication models put into practice by researchers and open their perspective on their own research. The main focus will be on a new format: the Nanotechnology Area, an area integrating communication and scientific research open to all in the museum.
 
The MUST in collaboration with CIMaINA, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces, University of Milan, opened an innovative space: a real scientific laboratory inside a museum. CIMaINA researchers in the Museum laboratory study properties of nanostructured materials for sustainable energy applications. Visitors can observe the researchers at their daily work in their lab and discuss with them any kind of issue. The lab is part of an area which gives general information about Nanotechnologies (NT) with video, interactive exhibit and activities (discussion events, interactive workshops and theatre performances).
 
The museum represented a space of engagement of science in society, not just as a physical environment but as an actor enabling the dialogue between researchers and visitors through educational activities and creating a common language and space between them.
 
The area challenged the top-down communication typical of the deficit model and forced the researchers to adopt a communication with visitors based on dialogue and public engagement in research. The key elements adopted to stimulate a more dialogic communication by the researchers are: training in communication skills,museum environment, collaboration with museum staff in developing inquiry based activities and the daily contact with visitors.
 
The visitors opened new questions in the researchers’ mind. They forced the researchers into being open to talk about not just their specific research but to view the NT in a more multifaceted perspective, taking into account not just the pure scientific aspects but also the ethical, social, emotional, controversial and irrational aspects embedded in NT. The adoption of a new communication model by researchers enabled them to listen to visitors and see their research in a wider perspective.
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PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Communication of research in museum environment

Sara Calcagnini   Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia “Leonardo Da Vinci”, Milano

The paper discusses the museum as a place of experimentation of new models of communicating research. It analyzes the experience of the biggest museum of science and technology in Italy: the National Museum of Technology Leonardo da Vinci in Milano (MUST). This case study shows how inquiry based activities and museum environment can contribute to change communication models put into practice by researchers and open their perspective on their own research. The main focus will be on a new format: the Nanotechnology Area, an area integrating communication and scientific research open to all in the museum.
 
The MUST in collaboration with CIMaINA, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces, University of Milan, opened an innovative space: a real scientific laboratory inside a museum. CIMaINA researchers in the Museum laboratory study properties of nanostructured materials for sustainable energy applications. Visitors can observe the researchers at their daily work in their lab and discuss with them any kind of issue. The lab is part of an area which gives general information about Nanotechnologies (NT) with video, interactive exhibit and activities (discussion events, interactive workshops and theatre performances).
 
The museum represented a space of engagement of science in society, not just as a physical environment but as an actor enabling the dialogue between researchers and visitors through educational activities and creating a common language and space between them.
 
The area challenged the top-down communication typical of the deficit model and forced the researchers to adopt a communication with visitors based on dialogue and public engagement in research. The key elements adopted to stimulate a more dialogic communication by the researchers are: training in communication skills,museum environment, collaboration with museum staff in developing inquiry based activities and the daily contact with visitors.
 
The visitors opened new questions in the researchers’ mind. They forced the researchers into being open to talk about not just their specific research but to view the NT in a more multifaceted perspective, taking into account not just the pure scientific aspects but also the ethical, social, emotional, controversial and irrational aspects embedded in NT. The adoption of a new communication model by researchers enabled them to listen to visitors and see their research in a wider perspective.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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