Review: Norwegian Museum of Science, Technology and Medicine

A few weeks ago, I was on a short trip in Oslo with my wife and kids. I was determined to visit a child-friendly museum of some sort. I surfed the net and the first interesting hit was Norsk Tryllemuseum (Norwegian Magic Museum) but looking at their homepage (http://www.tryllemuseet.no/) made me chance my mind quickly! (no offence, but look at the gallery…!!)

So my attention was directed towards Norwegian Museum of Science, Technology and Medicine.

The museum is placed 20 mins. by bus from Oslo center (Kjelsås station). The first thing you see before entering, is two huge water turbines, one dissected for people to se the inside of it…it looks just like an old-fashion watermill…only made from steel. Going inside the museum, there is three floors containing different parts of the science fields exhibited: Industry, medicine and all sorts of science and technology (music, telecommunication, energy, astronomy, data, oil, plastic, the body and much more).
On the upper deck large flying machines are exhibited. You can for instance see the real and spectacular Loening aircraft “Leiv Eiriksson”, the first aircraft to cross the atlantic. (read more about it here: http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thor_Solberg )

On the ground floor, one thing that fascinated me, was the display inviting children to create their own music using punch cards and game tins! This is brilliant for teaching children about basic mechanics. The game tin was transparent so you could see and hear the holes you made in the punch card making a tone! I want one of these at home !-)

Have you ever wondered what Germanium looks like? A huge copy of the periodic table containing all the elements in physical form – except those who cannot exist of cause – made quite a big impact on me. I was surprised how many elements we actually was able to form. Oh and by the way: Germanium is silver/white.

But the most fascinating part of this museum is definitely in the basement. This is where the visitors gets to experience science with their own hands. There is no question that Learning by Doing (John Dewey) has a greater impact on children than learning-by-looking or reading.

This department contained all sorts of experiments of which many was turned into competitions, eg. pumping water into a water tank to see who will get the watermill to run longest or roll a ball around a table curved with two “black holes” and avoid getting “sucked” into them. You could make a real tornado using a crank and some arm muscles.

My feeling is that the museum changes their exhibitions quite often (to judge from their homepage http://www.tekniskmuseum.no/ ) and to call it a museum, is in my opinion misleading. A museum is something you see, but not this! Norwegian Museum of Science, Technology and Medicine is something you experience…like the Experimentarium in Copenhagen, Denmark…only better!

The museum shop contained a lot of creative games and construction kits that you don’t see in everyday toy shops. Unfortunately the prices were high, if not, I would have bought a large rollercoaster, maze or something, to construct with my kids.

We spent around five hours on the museum, most of them in the experimental department. We never saw all the activities, for that we needed more time. We had to get back to the boat.

Stars: 6/6 – absolutely worth the visit!!

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