Blossoming of the Technical Museum in Times of Transition –
Utopia or Reality?
Davor Fulanović, Technical Museum, Zagreb, Croatia
The Republic of Croatia is, like other transition countries whose social system changes towards market economy, experiencing times of big, eventful and sometimes even uncontrolled processes. Failing to adapt to a new and harsher reality, cultural institutions are reduced to mere subsistence the rigid museum structures often being the first to oppose new circumstances. To what extent are museums, and particularly science and technology museums, truly able to seize better social positions in such conditions and by using what parameters?
During its fifty years of existence, the Technical Museum from Zagreb has, unlike other Croatian museums, in addition to classic collection, analysis and presentation of exhibits, dedicated a major part of its work to popularisation and education of visitors. Implementing, often unconsciously, methodology used by scientific centres in making popularisation of science and technology and educational role the focus of its interest, the Technical Museum has successfully carried out its task, which is also witnessed by the large number of visitors, unattainable to other museums in the region. How should these positive trends be kept or even improved in the increasingly challenging and aggravated external conditions in the future?
The Technical Museum's strategy of long-term development is markedly oriented towards opening the institution to global social changes. Demands for adoption of new original and unique programmes of recognisable national and local identity, which will offer a product interesting to both domestic and foreign visitors, have been defined. To achieve this, the Museum must thoroughly change its permanent exhibition structure and address the sensibility of new generations of visitors continuously offering various programmes like current topics exhibitions, educational interactive exhibitions (characteristic for science centres), science festivals and other special events and activities.