FOR A NEW SCIENCE MUSEUM IN BRUSSELS
A success story !
Scientastic is a private museum created in 1994 by Baudouin Hubert who funded it out off its personal savings. Between 1994 et 2012, Scientastic museum welcomed more than 500.000 visitors in a 1.000 m2 site located in the Bourse tram station, 2 minutes away from the Grand Place. In the last few years, it welcomed 50.000 visitors per year and was growing fast.
Visitors were the primary income source, accounting for more than 95% of its budget. Scientastic showed that it was possible for such a museum not to rely on government subsidies which accounted for less than 3% of its budget.
It was a top 10 tourist attractions in Brussels; #1 for primary school field trips. 50% of visitors were pupils or students. The museum thrived due to its service quality, particularly the quality of its participatory guided tours and workshops for schools. It had a very good visitor satisfaction rating. It participated annually in science workshop programs for schools in collaboration with Belgian Universities (ULB and UCL). Selected 6 times to organize a science show for Belgian National Day, and invited to showcase at the “Fête des Sciences” in Lavillette, Paris in 2007 and 2008. The museum featured in the “Palais de la Découverte” magazine in Paris (2012).
A tragic event !
Unfortunately, this beautiful story ended suddenly when, on the 1st of september 2012, while there were court proceedings to examine whether Scientastic was entitled to renew its lease with the Stib (the company operating the Metro in Brussels), that company decided not to wait for the court judgement and expelled Scientastic, in its absence, at night, on a WE, and without court order. That night, it also decided to entirely destroy its exhibition. There is nothing left of its more than 100 interactive experiments. The court has ordered that STIB compensates Scientastic for the destruction of its exhibition
An opportunity to move forward !
Dramatic as this event is, it is however an opportunity to move forward and to build a much larger (4 times) and entirely new interactive science museum tailored to the size of the Brussels Region.
Goal : to contribute to convince our pupils and students aged 3-18 to experiment scientifically and study science and engineering. There is a strong forecasted deficit in the availability of scientists and engineers to serve our fast growing high tech companies. Such an interactive science center can contribute to reduce it. In order to achieve this goal, Scientastic will also aim at assisting teachers in schools.
Exhibitions : 3.000 m2 of interactive science exhibition, developed in 2 phases. The first will be to purchase and/or internally develop an exhibition similar to the one that existed which was focusing on physics, optics and illusions (see below). The second will be to expand into other themes to be specified during the completion of the first phase in collaboration with its partners.
Activities : the museum will focus, as in the past, on providing quality educational services, not only with guided tours but with services to help prepare and follow up the school visits and assist teachers in developing fruitful scientific projects with their class. It will also provide science workshops and shows on a selection of specific topics.
Number of visitors : 200.000 visitors per year. This is a realistic forecast given the need for new tourist attractions in Brussels and the school needs for field trips to such centers.
Building : a 4.000 m2 building would be an appropriate size for this new science center given the forecasted demand. The building on the picture does not exist and is a simulation.
Finance: As in the past, visitors should be the primary source of income to cover the operating expenses. The initial investment budget estimate ranges from Eur 4 to 10 millions. External source of financing, either private or public, will be needed to buy the premises. Scientastic is therefore looking for corporate partners. The operating budget estimate is Eur 1.2 millions per year.
Institutional setup : Scientastic will assess the need to set up a separate institution to better address the real estate issues and allow the corporate partners to invest more easily into the project.
Planning : Purchase of the building within 6 months. Purchase and/or internal development of Exhibitions within 1 year. Launching beginning of 2016.
Our expertise: We are the best institution to launch such a project because of our very good contacts with the schools, our proved capacity in setting up a museum 20 years ago, and our acquired expertise in running such centers sustainably and in assessing what should be developed.
Competition: Although there are large scales science museum in Wallonie and Vlanderen (which did not existed when Scientastic was founded), there is still scope for rebuilding and expanding Scientastic museum because of the need to develop other themes, to minimize the time and transport costs for school field trips, and to meet the needs of the tourism sector.
Contact: Baudouin Hubert, administrateur délégué, fondateur. Address: Scientastic Museum, 23 rue de la Jonchaie, bte 43, 1040 Brussels, Belgium. Tel: 32-2-7321336. Mobile +32477424694. email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The first stage will be to rebuild and/or buy a new exhibition with the same experimental exhibits which we had till 2012 and which made us successful. Later, additional topics and exhibitions will be added.
Here is the description of that exhbition which made us succesful as it was posted on our webpages till september 2012.
yet true! An unforgettable experience. Using light, sound, smell and touch, come and discover 80
exciting and interactive hands-on experiments, based on the themes of
entertaining physics, illusions and the five senses. The experiments
are even more surprising that they use very simple tools from our daily
life. Definitely worth a visit. Right in the center of Brussels, just a two minutes walk away from
the Grand Place, in a surprising and magic underground area, between
the tramways, underneath, and the street, above.
Children and adults won't believe their senses. Don't be surprised by the look of the museum. We purposedly choose a colorful and simple decoration to avoid giving to the visiors the impression that science is for the experts only. Everyone can experiment and a lot can be done with simple daily life tools. The adults without children that are not convinced can ask to see our first illusion for free and, on the basis of that test, decide whether they want to visit our museum.
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