If you want to comment on this paper, you can go to the Discussion area.

This discourse is written at a moment which is perhaps the most exciting moment any Science Centre team could face. For at the end of this year, in December 1994, finally the construction will start of IMPULS, the Dutch Science & Technology Center. We plan to open in May 1997.

This is written as a team member, and many ideas offered here came about through discussions amongst our team members. The reason for writing it has been primarily to develop a vision to guide our development. For we truly believe that we cannot simply build a new Science Centre without having reflected as thoroughly as possible on what role this new centre should and could play in our present and future society. Science Centres and Museums alike have always been children of their time and this infant of ours should be able to participate in societal life for as long as possible (and maybe someday will become a true museum about the era in which it was conceived, as seems to be the inescapable lot of many public institutes after five to six decades).

Our Science Centre will perhaps belong more to the tradition set forth by Benjamin Franklin, the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Lenox Lohr in Chicago and la Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris, than to the tradition of Science Centres primarily devoted to natural sciences (as for example Urania and its successor Spectrum in Berlin, or le Palais de la Découverte in Paris).

The roots of our Science Centre date back to 1923, when a museum was founded by Heijenbrock, a noted artist and painter of manufacturing industry. He called his museum "Museum of Labor" and although he, presumably, would be greatly surprised if he saw our new Science Centre, still , we think he would recognise the broad perspective on which we want it to be based.

To some degree these broad features could also be observed in the Evoluon, in Eindhoven, opened in 1966 as the first Science Centre after the Second World War (and unfortunately closed to the public again in 1990).

The structure of the discourse is as follows:


J. J. Douma
Executive Director
IMPULS Science & Technology Center

Board Member of the European Collaborative
for Science, Industry and Technology Exhibitions (ECSITE)