Science Museums in Birmingham (UK)

The South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic is preparing a new Science Museum in Brno.  The South Moravian Centre for International Mobility is going to participate on this project by offering extracurricular activities for students with interest in technical and natural science.  They visited Thinktank, a Science Musuem in Birmingham (UK) to learn how they engage with the public and about activities within the Science Museum.  This is what they learnt:

a) Target group of the visited institution:

Thinktank is targeting wide variety of the visitors: main group comprise of families with children, other are pupils, elementary school children, high school students, school groups, teachers, and the general public.

b) Types of activities we have shadowed during the visit:

1)   the museum exhibits

2)   workshops and presentations of activities for students of teaching

3)   introduction to the public programs

4)   meeting with Stemnet team

5)   visit of the Planetarium and Show Room

6)   I-MAX cinema

c) Innovative activity

The museum is offering lots of interesting programmes for visitors and planning even more exciting new projects in the future! For example „The science garden“, the concept of the outdoor science museum.

d) Observations we have made/How the visitors interact with the exhibits?

All employees working in Thinktank are enthusiastic about their job and are happy to share their interest in science! The exhibits are made to be used instinctively; instructions and explanations are easy to understand.

e) How the institution links with the rest of the urban environment

The location of the Thinktank is ideal for the West Midlands region. The museum is located close to Birmingham city centre, but the general perception is different. Our experience – nice easy walk, about 10 min from downtown.

f) The relationships to other institutions

The main partners of Thinktank are Birmingham City Council, University of Central England, and the group of entrepreneurs from private sector, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Thinktank is financed by the Birmingham City Council, Millennium Point and its own activities
(I-MAX, entrance fee, etc.).

g) What activities can be possibly used in Czech Republic – „back home“

JCMM intends to extend the current offer of extracurricular activities for students with interest in science and technology. One of the inspirations represents the national program Stemnet: a) its practical ways of informing about activities organised for students, schools and the public in technical and natural science, b) the process of the search for the perfect activity based on the needs of the schools, c) the concept of the volunteer ambassadors.

Study visit took place from 2nd March 2010 till 5th March 2010.

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