The future is here at Scienceworks
Scienceworks has 10 million and one reasons to celebrate, having recently welcomed its 10 millionth visitor since the museum's inception and being recognised for its strength in curation and exhibition development in the Museum and Galleries National Awards (MAGNAs) overnight.
With the opening of ground-breaking new exhibition experiences Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together and Beyond Perception: Seeing the Unseen in recent months, it is an exciting time for Scienceworks as it continues to evolve into a future-focused science museum.
Created with the support of the Victorian government, this suite of new experiences makes Scienceworks the go-to destination for mind-bending innovation and a key driver to engage the next generation of Victorian children in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Lynley Marshall, CEO, Museums Victoria said it has been a triumphant year so far.
"As a critical part of Victoria's cultural and innovation economy, Scienceworks has inspired and nurtured 10 million inquisitive minds since first opening its doors twenty-six years ago."
"Our inventive approach to creating new experiences, such as Ground Up and Beyond Perception, is reflective of our current evolution into a Museum for the Future which is playing a key role in preparing young Victorians for a science and technology-led future."
Scienceworks was an instant success when it first opened its doors in 1992, and has remained at the forefront of science education in Victoria introducing millions of children to STEM through its interactive and innovative exhibitions and programming.
Today it attracts around 500,000 visitors per year, double the number of visitors it was originally built for 26 years ago.
Its new experiences include, Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together, a new exhibition for babies to five-year-olds which opened in December 2017. It immerses young children in an imaginative world of sensory discovery and construction-play that aims to ignite a lifelong engagement with STEM from the time they are born.
It took out the prestigious MAGNA in the Permanent Exhibition or Gallery Fitout category last night.
Opening to the public last month, Beyond Perception: Seeing the Unseen is an immersive and absorbing new exhibition co-developed with teenagers, for teenagers that reveals the invisible fields and forces that surround us, such as gravitational waves, invisible light, sound, aerodynamics and turbulence.
To ensure that the experience was appealing and tailored to young adults and reflected the latest and greatest in science and technology, the team collaborated with JBoard, a youth advisory board of 12-15 year olds and scientists and engineers from some of Victoria's top research institutions.
In Australian secondary schools, participation in math and science is steadily declining, while it is predicted that education in these subjects will be crucial for more than 400,000 new jobs for Victorians by 2025.
Lynley Marshall said Scienceworks intends to act as a counterpoint to this trend.
"Beyond Perception, alongside other adult programming such as Planetarium Nights and its upcoming music event Party Beyond on June 22, aim to encourage a wider audience including teenagers and adults to come to Scienceworks and be inspired by the possibilities of science and technology."
Another trend that Scienceworks is actively aiming to overcome is the gender bias within the STEM industry. In Australia, women make up only 28% of the STEM-qualified population, and research shows that girls as young as four already have a gender bias when thinking about future careers, being less likely to want to aspire to science and technology-based occupations.
"Our priority is to proactively encourage girls to engage in STEM. By promoting female role-models and using gender-neutral language and colours, we are ensuring that all our exhibitions and programming make science accessible to girls," Marshall further explains.
And there is plenty of excitement yet to come at Scienceworks in 2018 with Above and Beyond, an astronomical new exhibition produced by NASA and Boeing opens this Saturday 9 June and workshops in robotics and coding for all ages scheduled throughout winter. It will also be host to after hour screenings in the Melbourne Planetarium as part of Planetarium Nights and welcome electro line-up of Pillow Pro, Biscotti and Future Fosil at Party Beyond on June 22.
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