Science Divulgation: reimagining the role of museums

by Benoît Durieu et Valentina Savaglia

Last week, we participated in the international colloquium “The university museums and their public” in Liège. Together with Mélanie Cornélis (museologist, Embarcadère du Savoir-ULiège) and Thomas Beyer (project manager, Réjouisciences-ULiège), they proposed a study about the relationship between researchers and university museums. University museums are great places to divulgate science for a lot of reasons (e.g. they already have most of the science instrumentations as well as important collections, they have cozy rooms to create an intime atmosphere, they already have all the communication equipments, it welcomes a large audience ). However, it is not often that scientists break the wall and dare to go inside a museum to be themselves first actors of their play. After a survey was sent to all researchers at the University of Liège (more than 5000), only 86 answered that they were alredy involved in science divulgation – but not especially in university museums. The most interesting results that came out from the survey was the lack of time to divulgate science and the lack of a requirement to do so. This reflects a reality that is true for many.

After being involved in APECS for a couple years, we (Valentina and Benoit) have realized the importance of going to schools and getting kids to understand basic climate concepts in a way that they can retain: by having fun. But the target should not only be kids.

In the university museums, many activities can be organised both for kids and for adults based on the successful collaboration between researchers, science mediators, and collection managers. We hope such collaborations will increase in the future and that more time in science could be dedicated to the incredibly powerful and important task of D I V U L G A T I O N.

Read more here (in FR):