Built with government investment, the new China Science and Technology Museum (herein after referred to as “the New Museum” where appropriate) is a large scale venue for popular science education projected for the 11th Five Year Plan period (2006-2010). It is located inside the National Olympic Green, bordering on the Yayun (Asian Games) residential area in the east and the Olympic water system in the west; to its south is the centerpiece National Stadium (nicknamed “Bird’s Nest”) and to its north the Forest Park.
Occupying a land area of 48,000 square meters and with a construction floor space of 102,000 square meters, the New Museum is one of the auxiliary facilities of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and constitutes an important component of the concept of “green, people-oriented and high tech Olympics”.
The architecture of the New Museum was jointly designed by the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design and the US-based RTKL International Inc. Its main structure is in the shape of a single gigantic cube which combines the scientific thinking of the ancient Chinese with the features of a modern science and technology museum, and the entire structure is divided into a number of building blocks that occlude each other like toy bricks, making it appear like a huge cubic jigsaw puzzle. Such a structure is the embodiment of the intrinsic correlations between man and nature as well as science and technology; it is also symbolic of the fact that science has no absolute boundaries and that different disciplines intermingle and promote each other.
While the architectural construction of the New Museum is scheduled to be completed before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the content development of the New Museum is in progress in parallel with the construction engineering work. After the conclusion of the Olympics in Beijing, the installation of exhibits will be carried out inside the New Museum in a concentrated way. It can be expected that in the year 2009, a whole new China Science and Technology Museum with distinctive themes, complete functions and international advancedness will present itself in front of the public.
The conception of the New Museum is “to experience science and inspire innovations; to serve the general public and promote harmony”. As the most prominent education vehicle for the New Museum, the permanent exhibitions will be organized in line with the thematic ideas of “innovation and harmony” and under six themes of display, namely “Children’s Science Paradise”, “the Glory of China”, “Exploration and Discovery”, “Science, Technology and Life”, “the Challenges and the Future” and “the Beautifulness of Science”, covering a total exhibition floorage of approximately 30,000 square meters. The New Museum will also feature such educational functions as short-term exhibitions, “News of the Day exhibitions”, training and experiments, scientific and cultural exchanges, special-effect film and television, digitalized and cyber science and technology museum; such service functions as visitors’ comprehensive services and services for science and technology museums nationwide; and such supporting functions as operation and evaluation, the development of exhibition education resources, and theoretical study and research.
An “all-out opening”working approach—with due accentuation on the opening of organization, process and results—will be adopted throughout the construction of the New Museum. In this connection, China Science and Technology Museum has set up a Chinese Experts Committee consisting of eminent experts respectively from the scientific, educational and cultural circles; an International Scientific Advisory Committee (ISAC) composed of world-renowned experts from the international community of science and technology museums/centers; and a Domestic Counterparts Committee made up of professionals from various science and technology museums in China. From their different perspectives, these committees offer their advices and consultations on the New Museum’s conceptual studies and content development in order to ensure their soundness.
The construction of the New Museum is yet another milestone in the development process of China Science and Technology Museum, as well as an important event in the cause of popularization of science and technology in China; it will undoubtedly have positive implications on China’s endeavors to build up its science popularization capabilities, enhance its citizens’ scientific literacy, implement the national strategies of “revitalizing China through science, technology and education”and “strengthening China through talents”, promote the outlook of scientific development, and, above all, construct a socialist harmonious society. At the same time, the new China Science and Technology Museum, when completed for official opening to the society, is set to serve as a role model for and a driving force behind the construction of science and technology museums throughout the entire country.