The Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin is devoted to merging art and science in order to get young people interested in both disciplines. Open since 2008, the Irish center just received a gift of 1 million Euro from Google.org, in order to help open similar galleries around the world.
The Dublin Science Gallery is unique in that each exhibit is a by-product of the collaboration between different artists and researchers. Twice a year a group of 50 scientists, artists, engineers, technologists, and entrepreneurs gather to brainstorm new themes and ideas for the exhibits. Past exhibits have included contagion, water, and the future of fashion, and have been successful in drawing over 800,000 visitors.
The gallery also strives to be open to the community: it hosts over 200 events each year, and is open from noon to 8pm almost every day. “They’ve done a terrific job of showcasing science to the public in a very accessible way,” says Desmond Fitzgerald, a professor of molecular medicine at University College Dublin. “Visitors can physically engage with exhibitions … so it is not separated from the sciences.”
The donation from Google is aimed at supporting a network of similar centers, and hopes to launch two centers by 2014, and a total of eight by 2020. London, Moscow, Singapore, and New York have all expressed interest in housing galleries, though much will depend on finding funding and an adequate location.
The founding director of the Dublin gallery, Michael Gorman, is excited about the expansion, but stresses that the new centers should follow a few main tenets of the original gallery: entrance should be free, the focus must be on 15 to 25-year-olds, and the centers should seek to bridge science, art, and design.