Science and Technology Museums Meet STS. Going Beyond the Galleries and Into the Practices

Roberta Spada


Abstract: Science and technology museums and centres are usually conceived as settings for science communication. In the STS tradition of Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST), galleries and exhibitions represent the museum side most exposed to research. However, these museums are complex organisations where artefacts are not only exhibited but also collected, stored, studied, and preserved because they make the technoscientific heritage of a place. In this Scenario, I review the literature in PCST/STS and Museum Studies to show how the PCST approach is insufficient to study science and technology museums because issues about the private side and heritage are not addressed. I argue for the need for STS to enter the private sides of science museums and study them as places of technoscientific knowledge production. The Scenario suggests an STS approach situated in sociomaterial ecologies to study museum practices which, as discussed by Museum Studies, are the sites where narratives about science and technology arise.

Keywords: science and technology museums; museum artefacts; heritage; sociomaterial ecologies; museum practices; narratives.

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