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Science Museums of the 21st Century Competition

This project was completed in 2014

logo_museum competition

From 2006 through 2013, the Dynasty Foundation conducted the compeition Science Museums of the 21 st Century for Russian natural science and technical museums and popular science centers.

The goal of the competition was to increase the number of museums and centers that popularize science in modern and interesting formats.

The competition task was to facilitate consolidation of creative forces (of engineers, museum workers, scientists, and designers) capable of

  • developing and implementing scientific thematic expositions that tell about fundamental scientific concepts and discoveries in a popular and descriptive manner;
  • inventing, developing, and implementing interactive exhibits popularizing science that are original and attractive for the public; and
  • presenting to society new interesting forms of popularizing scientific knowledge.

We summarized the results of the multi-year program Science Museums of the 21st Century at the Meyerhold Theatrical Center on 13 February 2015.

The grant competition of the same name became the main instrument of the program and stimulated a conversion of Russian scientific-technical and natural science museums into modern enlightenment centers and purveyers of a scientific worldview.

Thanks to the financial support by the Foundation, dozens of modern museum projects worked throughout the whole country, from Khabarovsk to Severodvinsk.

The program allowed establishing small science musseums from the ground up in the Moscow suburb Troitsk, in Petrozavodsk and in Barnaul and adding exhibits to the Experimentanium in Irkutsk, Experimentus in Chlyabinsk, and LabyrinthUm in Saint Petersburg.

The museums learned to awaken the viewers’ interest in the natural and technical sciences through simple and vivid explanations, through participation in prepared experiments, through entertaining videos, and through scientific artistry.

The instruments of the competition succeeded: in the first three years, talented designers, smart museum planners, broadminded scientists, energetic managers, and inventive engineers gathered together. By their efforts, a two-week popular science festival was conducted at the Winzavod Centre for Contemporary Art in Moscow in 2009. In its framework, the exhibition Science as Premonition was first shown in Russia, acquainting Russians with world-classic science-art.

Popular science lectures, film showings, master classes for artists, and a conference for museum workers on the theme of new technologies in art and museum practice accompanied the exhibition. Fifteen thousand viewers visted the festival!

And in 2011, the first Russian-made popular-science exhibition “Life: The Scientific Version” was created for the second Moscow festival. Well-known scientist—Leonard Mlodinov, Kevin Warwick, Steve Potter, Konstantin Anokhin, and Georgii Bazykin—participated in a parallel program.

Again, thousands of visitors, hundreds of listeners—the flywheel of popular science recreation was set in motion, and Moscow gained a trend.

The Dynasty Foundation moved into the provinces with an easy heart. The festival and exhibition technologies together with exhibits created in the competition framework were used in Petrozavodsk in 2012, in Samara in 2013, and in Nizhny Novgorod in 2014. The result was a genuine interest of the visitors in knowledge presented in a fresh and modern form.

A new program appeared in the copmpetition in 2011: training at the Copernicus Science Center (Warsaw) for museum leaders from small towns of Russia.

During eight years of the Science Museums of the 21st Century program, 8 grant competitions were conducted, 5 major science festivals were held in Moscow, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, and Petrozavodsk, and 50 leaders of provincial museums were trained at the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw, the largest enlightenment center in Europe. The Dynasty fFoundation supported 90 projects in different regions of the country.

The program fulfilled the given task—science is popular today like never before: throughout the country, science museums are opening, festivals and scientific contests are being conducted, and popular science exhibitions and high-technology art exhibitions are being organized.

Complex intellectual technology and enormous labor allowed formulating and spreading a new cultural direction from the ground up. In essence, a fashion for intellectual recreation was created. The Dynasty Foundation program Science Museums of the 21st Century is closing: the goal established in 2006 has been achieved.

The results were summarized in the form of an awards ceremony for the best museum projects created in the framework of the program from 2006 through 2014. Famous scientists, enlighteners, experts, artists, and curators participated in it.

Watch the video “Short history and results of the program Science Museums of the 21 st Century” (.mp4, 84 Mb in Russian)

The competition and festivals were conducted by the Dynasty Foundation with the organizational support of Agency 21, Ltd.

'Escape from Surprises, or Krasnoyarsk Discoveries,' a new exposition, Krasnoyarsk Region Museum

The First Science Museums of the 21st Century competition

In 2006, the Dynasty Foundation organized the first Science Museums of the 21st Century grant competition with support from the Association of Science and Technology Museums of the Russian Committee of the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

The goal of the competition is to foster the emergence in Russia of new (innovative) museum exhibit formats—interactive displays that give visitors, especially children and students, the chance to learn about science and the world around them while having fun.

In 2006, 84 applications were submitted. They came from museums large and small, private and public (including school-based museums), and various regions of Russia.

Ten projects were awarded grants in the 2006 competition.

Museums in Troitsk, Novosibirsk, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Yoshkar-Ola, Nizhny Novgorod, and other cities used these grants to create interactive exhibitions that soon became hits with their visitors, especially their younger visitors.

Thanks to our competition, a science museum was opened in Krasnoyarsk. The exhibition created by the Kazan museum that received a Dynasty Foundation grant was included in a list of the city's landmarks.

The Second Science Museums of the 21st Century competition

The organizers of the 2007 grant competition set themselves the task of consolidating those creative forces (engineers, museum curators, scientists, designers) capable of conceiving, developing, and constructing original interactive high-tech expositions that attract the public and popularize science.

Our second grant competition included two categories:

  • Interactive popular science expositions;
  • Popular science festivals.

In 2007, 61 applications were submitted.

Ten projects were awarded grants. Grant winners hailed from Troitsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Petrozavodsk, Dubna, Dmitrovgrad, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Saint Petersburg, and Moscow.

The Third Science Museums of the 21st Century competition

Grants were awarded to projects in two categories:

1. Modernization of exposition activity of science and technology museums and natural science museums

In this category, the foundation supports the development of thematic expositions that present fundamental scientific concepts and discoveries in an accessible and eye-catching manner.

2. Creation of interactive popular science exhibits

In this category, the foundation supports projects for original interactive exhibits or sets of exhibits that explain the laws of the physical world, the meaning of scientific breakthroughs, the mechanisms of technological discoveries, and the principles of living organisms and systems to museum visitors.

For the competition, 80 applications were received: 64 of these were accepted, and 16 projects were considered in the final round.

On December 23, 2008, the Advisory Council announced the results of the competition.

The nine winning projects were from museums in Irkutsk, Samara, Petersburg, Omsk, Petrozavodsk, Moscow, Novosibirsk, Barnaul, and Glazov.

The Fourth Science Museums of the 21st Century grant competition

The goal of the competition was to widen the arsenal of resources for science popularization in Russia by facilitating activities of Russian science museums.

The 2009 competition was a transition to new popularizing projects of the foundation and was a closed competition in which primarily organizations that have already received Dynasty museum competition grants participated.

The competition was held in two categories:

1. Modernization of exposition activity of science and technology museums and natural science museums

In this category, the foundation supports the creation of thematic expositions portraying fundamental scientific concepts and discoveries in a vivid and popular manner.
The project must be developed and implemented by a team of engineers, museum specialists, scientists, designers, and PR specialists.

2. Creation of interactive popular science exhibits

In this category, the foundation supports projects for original interactive exhibits or sets of exhibits that explain the laws of the physical world, the meaning of scientific breakthroughs, the mechanisms of technological discoveries, and the principles of living organisms and systems to museum visitors.
Preference was given to the following areas of physics: optics, thermodynamics, theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, quantum field theory, and also astrophysics, cosmology, and bioinformatics.

Altogether, 35 applications were submitted for the competition.
The nine winning projects were from museums in Moscow and Dubna, Nizhny Novgorod and Petrozavodsk, Saint Petersburg and Troitsk.

The Fifth Science Museums of the 21st Century grant competition

The competition task is to facilitate consolidation of creative forces (of engineers, museum workers, scientists, and designers) capable of:

  • developing and implementing scientific thematic expositions that tell about fundamental scientific concepts and discoveries in a popular and descriptive manner;
  • inventing, developing, and implementing interactive exhibits popularizing science that are original and attractive for the public; and
  • presenting to society other interesting forms of popularizing science.

The competition was conducted in two categories:

  • Modernization of Expositions in Natural Science and Science and Technology Museums
  • Creation of Interactive Exhibits Popularizing Science

The competition was open to:
Russian nonprofit governmental and nongovernmental organizations, museums, and educational and research organizations.

Altogether 89 applications were submitted for the competition, and 58 were admitted.
Twelve projects received support from the Dynasty Foundation.

The Sixth Science Museums of the 21st Century grant competition

Grants for Russian science and technology museums and natural science museums and popular science centers

The goal of the competition is to foster spreading museums and centers in Russia that popularize science in modern and interesting formats.

The sixth competition was being held in three categories:

  • Category 1. Modernization of expositions of science and technology museums and natural science museums
  • Category 2. Creation of interactive popular science exhibits
  • Category 3. Participation in a one-week training “Museum programs in popular science for school children”
    This training is organized by the Dmitry Zimin Dynasty Foundation together with the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw.
    It will be held at the Copernicus Science Center (Warsaw, Poland) 12–18 May 2012.
    The Copernicus Science Center opened in Warsaw in November 2010 and is the largest science-popularizing center in Eastern Europe.

Altogether 93 applications were submitted for the competition.
Ten projects received support from the Dynasty Foundation, and eleven museum workers—the winners in the third category—will have training at the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw.

The Seventh Science Museums of the 21st Century grant competition

The seventh competition was conducted in four categories:

  • Category 1. Modernization of Expositions in Natural Science and Science and Technology Museums
  • Category 2. Creation of Interactive Exhibits Popularizing Science and Technology
  • Category 3. Increasing Mobility in the Area of Science Popularization and Strengthening Creative Ties Between Museums and Scientific Centers
  • Category 4. Participation in a one-week training “Museum programs in popular science for school children”
    This training is organized by the Dmitry Zimin Dynasty Foundation together with the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw.

Altogether 90 applications were submitted for the competition.
Seventeen projects received support from the Dynasty Foundation, and ten museum workers—the winners in the fourth category—will have training at the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw.

The Eighth Science Museums of the 21st Century grant competition

The competition was held in four categories in 2013:

  • Category 1. Modernization of Expositions in Natural Science and Science and Technology Museums
  • Category 2. Creation of Interactive Exhibits Popularizing Science and Technology
  • Category 3. Increasing Mobility in the Area of Science Popularization and Strengthening Creative Ties Between Museums and Scientific Centers
  • Category 4. Participation in a one-week training “Museum programs in popular science for school children”.
    This training is organized by the Dmitry Zimin Dynasty Foundation together with the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw.

Altogether 84 applications were submitted for the competition. By the decision of the Advisory Council, 13 projects received support from the Dynasty Foundation in 2013, and 9 museum workers will have training at the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw.

 
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Dmitry Zimin
Dynasty Foundation

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The Dmitry Zimin Dynasty Foundation was included in the Register of ‘Nonprofit Organizations Performing the Functions of a Foreign Agent’ by the Russian Ministry of Justice on 25 May 2015.