A radical new masterplan
How do you transform a Soviet era institution into one of the most forward-thinking centres of excellence in the world? How do you catapult it into the 21st century? And how do you make it not only relevant to Russian society today, but a catalyst for Russia’s future? These were just some of the questions we answered when working with the Polytechnic Museum, Russia’s national science and technology museum. The museum is one of the oldest of its kind in the world. Its collections are truly jaw-dropping. They document Russia’s remarkable scientific achievements from space exploration to oil refining, nano-technology to experimental music. We worked with the museum team to create a radical new masterplan for their flagship building in the heart of central Moscow and a new satellite museum linked to Moscow State University.
Raising the next generation of STEM thinkers
Our masterplan is a roadmap of recommendations in operations, collection development and interpretation that will reassert the museum’s place on the world stage. The flagship building will be improved with world-class public spaces, extended permanent galleries and refreshed temporary exhibitions. The new university site will target students as tomorrow’s innovators. Event spaces and creative laboratories will sit under the same roof as its permanent galleries. Importantly, the museum, as a whole, will have an enriched learning and digital outreach offer that creates a virtuous circle between its virtual and physical spaces and transforms it into a 21st-century museum.
The newly proposed museum moves away from a traditional top-down documentation of Russia’s national scientific achievement. Instead, it puts people at the centre – it becomes a story about human endeavour, our endless pursuit of knowledge and extraordinary achievement against all odds. Displays tell stories about the very real human drive to make sense of our universe and objects are explored through the people who invented and developed them. Scientists become role models and their stories and extraordinary skill ignite inspiration.
A new model for Russian museums
If visitors have only one takeaway from the museum, it is that scientists and their STEM skills have catalysed our understanding of the modern world and are the key to continuing our pursuit of knowledge. The newly proposed museum’s lasting legacy will be to inspire visitors to become STEM thinkers and help raise the next generation of scientists.
The Polytechnic promises to set a new standard for Russian museums, pioneering a visitor-centred approach and becoming the nation’s shining example of a 21st-century museum.
Moscow State University