Neutral, balanced or controversial: an overview and some remarks on how technoscientific issues are treated in museum exhibitions

ANASTASIA FILIPPOUPOLITI

Abstract

In the last two decades museum exhibitions that deal with the representation of technoscientific issues and their impact to society have gradually gained the attention of researchers in Museology, Science Education, Science and Technology Studies (STS) as well as the field of Science Communication. Older exhibition tactics on such topics presented a neutral or balanced narrative to visitors more or less descriptive in its content. Yet, from the end of the 1990s, bibliography particularly on Scientific Museology refers to examples of exhibition experiments which propose innovative ways of representation and visualization. Creating an exhibition narrative that could hopefully inform citizens on science and technology issues, provoke their minds and support critical thinking is a stimulating task for museum professionals considering the fluidity and unpredictability of the nature of scientific practice. Among the broad repertoire of technoscientific themes treated occasionally in exhibitions, science controversies and science issues that may create a controversy to the public are of particular interest. The article attempts to investigate the repertoire of technoscience as a theme in museum exhibitions, uncover the communication frames that underpin their presentation and gives particular emphasis on the concept of controversy as a promising framework that enable visitors’ understanding of the impact of Science in everyday life.  

Keywords

Science exhibitions, technoscientific issues, practice and process, communicating controversy in science, critical viewer, negotiation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.26220/rev.3982

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