Developing successful museums and science centres

Best practices to develop and operate educational programmes, science centres and museums relating to our natural and cultural heritage

26 - 30 September 2016, Adriatico Guesthouse, ICTP (Trieste) 



Introduction to the course

Science museums and science centres play an important role in the public engagement with science and technology, involving millions of visitors every day all around the world. Many new science museums and science centres have been built in recent years, especially in countries in Eastern Europe, Middle East, Asia or Latin America that are experiencing a strong growth. More and more science exhibitions are used by research institutes and universities, but also by private companies or foundations, as a main tool to communicate their research to lay public. Visitor centres are also crucial to help citizens to know and engage with natural and historical heritage.
The course will help participants who are already, or plan to be, involved in such projects to set their goals, to choose among current opportunities, to build up teams, to develop a master-plan, to choose a marketing and branding strategy, etc.

The course will last 5 days and include theoretical presentations, practical workshops and the presentation of international best practices. Course leaders and facilitators are professionals with an international experience in the field and in training. Keynote speakers will be leading professionals in the industry and Directors of museums. Peer-to-peer learning will also be facilitated since it is expected attendees will come from different parts of the world and have interesting and varied profiles.

Scientists and managers of cultural institutions and public administrations who want to be empowered to promote and lead projects such as science centres, visitors centres, collections displays, etc.

The course is organised in collaboration with the Association of Architects and Engineers of Trieste and entitles Italian architects to credits as in-service training.

Course overview

Day 1 - Course introduction
The role of museums and science centres in the dialogue between science and society
Understanding organisations
Valuing assets (locations, collections, etc.)

Day 2 - Understanding visitors
Who is your wider audience?
The diversity of museums and science centres
How to project your organization, its mission and its values?

Day 3 - Facilitating visitor experience
Planning a visitor journey
Public and private spaces
Working on a case study: visit to a museum in town

Day 4 - Diversity of projects, diversity of studies: interpretative, feasibility, business plan etc.
Phases of project
The Masterplan project document

Day 5 - From the study to the opening
The design development
Budget planning and budget opportunities
Listening visitor voice: the evaluation cycle
1-1 problem solving
Course evaluation


Sharon Ament, Director Museum of London, London (United Kingdom)
Matteo Merzagora, Traces, Paris (France)
Gordon Rankmore, Museum and Heritage Consultant, London (United Kingdom)
Paola Rodari, Project Manager, SISSA Medialab, Trieste (Italy)
Phillip Tefft, Director The London Studio - Ralph Appelbaum Associates, London (United Kingdom)


Paola Rodari, JCOM Masterclasses Coordinator 
Gordon Rankmore, JCOM Masterclasses Programme Advisor