Last July we attended the opening of “Muse”, the new Science Museum of Trento, designed by the famous architect Renzo Piano.
“At Muse everything has to be visible and touchable because everyone must have the opportunity to be a scientist”
Michele Lanzinger (Director of Muse)
Muse is a 6 floors building (including the large panoramic terrace) where water and light are the most important elements …
Water is the thread of Muse: during your visit you can find water declined in different ways, as the Dolomite glacier rebuilt on the top floor (that is maintained by using geothermal probes)…
…the big globe that shows – among other things – the trend of the tsunami in 2004…
…or the waterfall in the tropical conservatory (that aims to be a witness of biodiversity) …
…or the water which externally surrounds the entire building.
The light comes in from all the windows of the museum and spreads everywhere inside the building: every plan is developed around the “Big Empty“, an interior space in which animals of all species “fly”.
Another recurring element (certainly not obvious for a museum) is the concept of “future“: there are several installations about the impact of our actions on the planet, a temporary exhibition of Telecom dedicated to new technologies and active citizenship, a showroom about the idea of innovation (where startups present their products) and – last but not least – the “Muse Fablab“, an area dedicated to technological innovation, where we could see how 3D printers work and where we even get “scanned” !
During the opening children were also invited to join an electronics lab!
When I started to collect my thoughts to write this post I asked myself: which are the attractions of Muse that children could enjoy most? The answer is “all“. Of course, it depends on the age of kids, but my daughter – who is just 5 years old – enjoyed everything she saw and all children were attracted by different things. There are so many things to do and see with your kids (multimedia and interactive installations, observing animals (*) and so on) and all family can enjoy an amazing full immersion in science!
[(*) I have to say here that, even if I’m not an animalist, I would prefer not embalmed animals but faked ones … including puppies]
Despite the general interest, there are still some areas addressed specifically to our young scientists.
Muse for children
The gym of science
This area, which is not strictly dedicated to children, has many objects and interactive installations that the younger can use to experience firsthand the effects of some physical phenomena.
It is a space dedicated to children aged 4-8 years who, alone or with their parents, can explore the natural world by using their senses.
Opening soon! Access to this area will be reserved to children from 0 to 5 years, accompanied by their parents. It’s a very special place where they can try different sensory experiences, such as contact with water or the ability to draw with the voice. The area should be ready by the end of September 2013. Meanwhile, a small part is already accessible for visits: baby-scientists can enjoy a futuristic cot to hear the music through their body and a large aquarium where they can virtually dive and catch fish and water bubbles! 😉
Practical tips for those going to Muse with children
- Muse is open from Tuesday to Sunday and children under 14 years are free : all details on the site
- Have a look to several initiatives for families, such as free admission to all the family if a member’s birthday : details here
• it’s possible to organize visits and workshops for schools and groups
- The spaces of the museum are large and can also be covered with strollers (during the opening weekend visitors were not allowed to enter strollers, perhaps because of the huge influx, and at the reception there was a free rental service of baby carriers)
- Every floor is easily accessible by elevator
- There are several accessible bathrooms and a changing room for babies
- Inside the museum there is a bar (I don’t know if it will set up a picnic area outside the building but there is a lot of space so I think you can enjoy the garden to have your lunch)
- Muse offers a multimedia guide on Ipad Mini: it is called Explora MUSE and provides stimuli to the smallest
- All explanatory panels are written in Italian, English and German
- The visit can last for several hours (especially if your kids fall in love with the areas dedicated to the youngers), so you should organize your time if you are traveling with small children.
For those who spend the weekend in Trento
The center of Trento worth a visit: you can plan a nice walk during the day and enjoy the evening in one of several bars and restaurants situated in Duomo’s area.
What’s Near Trento
Nearby you can also visit the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto ( MART ) as well as several castles
Where to stay
- America Hotel is an elegant hotel near the center and close to the train station : Welcoming staff, good service, nice rooms, car parking arrangement
- Palace Bed & Breakfast is located near Piazza Duomo so you cannot reach it by car even if you need just to bring luggages. Throughout the day and night you can hear the tolling of the bells , there is no air conditioning and it can
happen (as happened to us) that they apply you an increased price compared to those on the website
So…My first impression about Muse? I love it!!!!
I like it because it erases the image of the museum I grew up with (a dark place, full of objects ” old and dusty “).
I like it because places like Muse are those that allow my daughter to get closer to the world of science in the best way: with lightness, wonder and joy linked to the discovery and learning !
I like it because their motto is “Natured curious”, that means that you can easily appreciate the museum if you find inside yourself some curiosity about nature and science …. and in this the children are definitely the best!
[text and photos milena marchioni]
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