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Informal Education

Education is one of the main purposes of a museum and it has been a fundamental objective at the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci since it was founded.

Italy’s largest technical-scientific Museum is also a unique resource for everyone. The Education Department staff works with the aim of making the Museum a place for discovery , experience, understanding and inspiration accessible to all.

Our programs valorise the methods of informal education and they are based on three fundamental resources: what is there at the Museum (themes, stories, people, phenomena, concepts interpreted through historical sections and interactive labs), the ‘wealth’ that visitors themselves bring with them, and the staff’s professional competence.

Educational activities addressed to schools, families, young people, adults and many other types of public are designed with the aim of encouraging people to interpret first-hand scientific and technological phenomena, to understand the impact of science and technology on their lives and to build their own scientific culture. In the specific instance, each activity is designed to put the focus of the learning experience on the visitor through:

  1. A direct engagement on the physical, cognitive and emotional level, through a path that devotes a great deal of attention to each person’s experience;
  2. The valorisation of visitors’ skills, dialogue, exchange and negotiation;
  3. Freedom of choice for the personal construction of visitors’ knowledge.

Crucial tools for this job are our interactive labs and museum objects (placed in a historical-social-cultural narrative context) that invite visitors to create a link with science and technology and to improve one’s own “scientific vision of the world”.
Exploration, testing, observation, formulating questions and hypothesis, handling mistakes and cooperative work become methods of our educational work. In this way we foster active participation for every visitor, taking into account his or her own intellectual and emotional needs.

Our objectives go beyond the duration of the visit: the Museum becomes a tool for developing an identity and values: it helps construct skills and knowledge useful to feel involved, competent and aware, with respect to scientific and technological topics; it creates the conditions to make the scientific method a way of thinking and a way of life.

This approach is to be placed in the context of a wider mission, one of the main challenges that our contemporary democracy is faced with: having involved and informed citizens who can be active members of society. Scientific education can play a key role in this. The ways with which we encourage the knowledge flow between individuals can strongly influence the development of our society and of democracy.
This philosophy permeates each of our interactions with the public and – thanks to CREI (Center of Research in Informal Education) – it specifically translates for schools into a series of actions addressed to teachers and students.

The Museum

Museo Nazionale della Scienza
e della Tecnologia
"Leonardo da Vinci"
Via S. Vittore 21
20123 Milano

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