MUSE: The new science museum in Trento
MUSE was built in order to revitalise a former industrial site and attract more tourists to the region.
Replacing the city’s traditional natural history museum, MUSE opened to the public in July 2013 as a state-of-the-art science museum in the immediate outskirts of town. It was relocated as part of an urban regeneration project at a former industrial site, which once held a Michelin factory that closed down in the 1980s.
The museum building was designed by architect Renzo Piano and based on a concept put forward by museum staff. The architecture is closely related to the location and the exhibits; inclined façades reflect the exhibitions
and act as a metaphor for the region’s mountain slopes.
Across five floors, visitors can find collections, multimedia, interactive exhibits and hands-on stations. These
are intertwined with research and education labs, a “Fab-Lab” devoted to digital fabrication, a space for small children, and a living mountain rainforest in a greenhouse.
The museum aims to create a dialogue between the local alpine environment and global issues, connecting
them through concepts of sustainability and global awareness as defined by the phrase “think globally, act
locally”. This is in line with the museum’s mission statement to shape the consciousness of the future.
Alongside its commitment to the tourist economy, the museum’s public programmes also serve the local community, with specific activities for citizens of all ages. The museum is a public organisation belonging to the Provincia Autonoma di Trento (the autonomous province of Trento), and 40% of its income is supported by ticketing.
The museum was an immediate success with the public. In 2014, visitor numbers reached 540,000. More
than 70% of visitors are tourists from a three-hour catchment area. Evaluations of the local economy demonstrate that MUSE, as a permanent feature in the cultural landscape of Trento, continues to have a positive impact on the tourist economy of the city.
Additionally, the Martineum Roman Catholic Foundation of Szombathely developed educational materials, and the Zala County Association for Folk Art in Zalaegerszeg organised training programmes and travelling exhibitons.
Article about the project (in Hungarian)
The Academy of Craft is one example that highlights the economic value of museums, you can find it among other examples in NEMO's publication "Museums' 4 Values - Values 4 Museums"!