One of the great difficulties for science museums is to avoid mythicizing science and to stimulate a critical view on the scientific practice and its trends. The need to impress visitors, presenting them the wide range and the spectacular advances of science usually tends to reinforce scientificism in spite of a realistic view on its limits and challenges. This work presents and evaluates the attempts which have been conducted in Espaço do Conhecimento UFMG (www.espacodoconhecimento. org.br/?idioma=en ) in order to promote a critical view of science through exhibition. (1) The first of them is the emphasis on the limited human dimension of knowledge, taking ideas from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche as title and thread of the exhibition; (2) Questioning the possibilities of meeting, the exhibition begins with a kaleidoscope which was inspired by the short story “the Aleph” by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. It intends to portray a perspective which seeks to reach all knowledge as a Vertigo; (3) Exploring cultural diversity, it brings the cosmogonies of different people in paper scenarios inside which sacred narratives can be heard in their original languages, while translations of passages dealing with the birth of man are read in the following cosmogonies: yorùbá, maxakali, Mayan-quiché, Greek and Judeo-Christian. (4) As a counterpoint to the mythical perspective, a scenario has been set up with a proto-scientific explanation about the emergence of mankind. Cosmology is represented by the atomistic explanation of Lucretius, with which it is intended to present science as a cultural expression and a historical belief among others and not the absolute truth. (5) In addition to the exhibits, the Museum promotes the “controversial coffee”, in which two experts are invited to discuss controversial issues, highlighting the hypothetical and interpretive character of the scientific discourse; (6) Finally, an exhibit not yet implemented: the overlaying of caricature posters in the shape of students’ notes, questioning the scientific explanations presented by the museum in its main exhibition.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Overly human
The espaço do conhecimento ufmg experience

Bernardo Oliveira   Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil

Débora Reis   Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil

Verona Campos   Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil

One of the great difficulties for science museums is to avoid mythicizing science and to stimulate a critical view on the scientific practice and its trends. The need to impress visitors, presenting them the wide range and the spectacular advances of science usually tends to reinforce scientificism in spite of a realistic view on its limits and challenges. This work presents and evaluates the attempts which have been conducted in Espaço do Conhecimento UFMG (www.espacodoconhecimento. org.br/?idioma=en ) in order to promote a critical view of science through exhibition. (1) The first of them is the emphasis on the limited human dimension of knowledge, taking ideas from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche as title and thread of the exhibition; (2) Questioning the possibilities of meeting, the exhibition begins with a kaleidoscope which was inspired by the short story “the Aleph” by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. It intends to portray a perspective which seeks to reach all knowledge as a Vertigo; (3) Exploring cultural diversity, it brings the cosmogonies of different people in paper scenarios inside which sacred narratives can be heard in their original languages, while translations of passages dealing with the birth of man are read in the following cosmogonies: yorùbá, maxakali, Mayan-quiché, Greek and Judeo-Christian. (4) As a counterpoint to the mythical perspective, a scenario has been set up with a proto-scientific explanation about the emergence of mankind. Cosmology is represented by the atomistic explanation of Lucretius, with which it is intended to present science as a cultural expression and a historical belief among others and not the absolute truth. (5) In addition to the exhibits, the Museum promotes the “controversial coffee”, in which two experts are invited to discuss controversial issues, highlighting the hypothetical and interpretive character of the scientific discourse; (6) Finally, an exhibit not yet implemented: the overlaying of caricature posters in the shape of students’ notes, questioning the scientific explanations presented by the museum in its main exhibition.

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

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