Why are our museums great places for science engagement?

Whether it is on a school visit, as a family day out, or maybe through an experience online, there are many different reasons why people come to museums.

With awe inspiring authentic objects, cutting-edge science stories, and hands on experiences, our museums in the Science Museum Group, celebrate and connect the past, present and future of science and technology. We do not teach or lecture our audiences about science, but we seek to inform and inspire through the experiences we offer, in and beyond the museum.

So what are the opportunities that our SMG museums offer which can help inspire and engage our visitors with science?  Here are our top 5 reasons…

1. We show the applications of science

From experiencing scientific principles first-hand in our interactive galleries, to investigating the inspiring objects in our exhibitions and galleries which have been built upon scientific concepts, visitors can see how the science learned in school is applied and has shaped the world around us.

2. We show how science is relevant and valuable for everyday life

See how science is not just something taught in school – that is a way of exploring the world and is integral to our lives today and in the future. Our museums connect the past, present and future of science to show how science and technology has evolved over time and has transformed and improved all our lives.

3. We make links between people and science

Our museums reveal stories of passion, imagination and creativity of the people who have shaped the world we live in.  Visitors can explore the social impact of science and technology through the experiences and emotions of the innovators and the users and see the breadth and diversity of the people who use science in their work and everyday lives. See that science is not just for scientists – it something everyone can be part of, whatever their interests or background.

4. We provide opportunities to use and develop skills through active participation

From asking questions, making observations to creative problem solving, a museum visit is a great opportunity to use and develop key scientific skills. Our SMG learning experiences are designed to spark curiosity and create a sense of wonder of science to help people learn in different and exciting ways. Discovering new things will fuel a desire to find out more.

5. Our experiences are inspiring and memorable

By presenting science content in surprising and imaginative ways, our experiences can expose new perspectives of science which can help engage and inspire all our audiences. Helping more people to see that museums are places where they feel welcome and can enjoy themselves, can promote a lifelong connection with science and culture.

There are, of course, many more reasons why museums and science centres are amazing spaces. For some, a visit to a museum may simply be good day out, but we hope that by helping more people to recognise learning opportunities and value of a museum experiences,  the memory and impact of a visit could last a lot longer.

What do you think the learning opportunities of a museum visit are? And how do we help more of our visitors to recognise these?


Beth Hawkins; Learning Resources Manager

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