Important Day for Kaunas and Lithuania – Construction of the Only Science Museum in the Country has Started on the Nemunas Island

The construction of the first science and innovation dissemination center “Mokslo sala” (“Science Island” EN) in Lithuania was started on Thursday by symbolic burial of the capsule. The 11.5 thousand square meters museum with exclusive design will feature interactive permanent and changing expositions, a unique space of virtual projections, STEAM laboratories and cafes. The total value of the project is about 32 million EUR. The opening of the museum is planned on 2022.

Very good investment

“The future of our country cannot be imagined without science and innovation. Therefore, we hope that the “Mokslo sala” will become a unique national science popularization place, an interactive attraction center that stimulates interest in science and technology, a real science island that will contribute to future innovations. This is a very good investment, which will return as Lithuania’s success,” said Algirdas Monkevičius, Minister of Education, Science and Sports, at the capsule burial ceremony.

The Minister thanked Kaunas for the demonstrated leadership in “harmonizing Lithuania”. According to A. Monkevičius, on the Nemunas Island there can be clearly seen harmony between sports, health and science. The science dissemination center will be the pride of the whole Lithuania.

“It seems that 2022 will be a really special year for Kaunas. We will become the European Capital of Culture. We have worked long and consistently to implement these projects. One thing is clear that without a fruitful dialogue with Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis and strong support from the Government, we would not have achieved half of our goals,” said Kaunas City Mayor Visvaldas Matijošaitis about the positive changes in Kaunas.

Exceptional architectural solutions

Currently tens of heavy equipment are working on the Nemunas Island, which has turned into one large construction site. Excess soil is being transported from “Mokslo sala” construction site, piles are being drilled, and rainwater pipes will be soon laid.

Juozas Kriaučiūnas, the director of Autokausta, which is building a science museum, with the funds of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports and Kaunas City budget, assured that the construction of the facility will be completed on time. According to the contractors, the building of exceptional architecture will serve not only Kaunas, but also whole country for many years.

The A++ energy efficiency class building was designed by the Spanish and Australian architectural company “SMAR Architecture Studio”, and the technical part is being implemented by team led by architect Gintautas Natkevičius.

The outside of the building will be dominated by concrete and glass, but a large part of the museum’s roof will be planted, blending into the general relief of the Nemunas Island, and it will be possible to walk on it. The decoration of the building will be a “disc” about 30 meters in diameter, sloping above the entrance to the museum. This will probably be the most expensive part of the building.

“Metal beams will be specially made for this accent, as the base of the disc will be much heavier than the top to maintain weight balance. Another equally impressive part is the exhibition hall, which will surprise visitors with its space and volume,”said Vilius Šiliauskas, the Director of Kaunas Municipality Administration.

Preparing for the purchase of the exposition

Inside the science center, a space of virtual projections will stand out. Here, visualizations will be used to present various natural phenomena, such as a journey through the ocean floor, the jungle or even the human body.

“I guarantee you will forget your time when you come to this place. Usually, nothing can be touched in museums, but there will be opposite – visitors will be encouraged to touch and feel everything first, and only later, if they are interested, to read about the phenomenon or object,” said a member of Kaunas City Council Jonas Audėjaitis.

According to him, “Mokslo sala” will complete the urban formation of the Nemunas Island and will open the doors of science to both children and adults.

The purchase of a permanent exhibition will be announced at the beginning of next year. The winner of the competition will have to design and install an exposition of 7 themes. Most of the spaces in the Science Museum will be for children aged 7-14, but adults will not be disappointed either. The exhibition, which has more than 150 exhibits, is designed in such a way that complex phenomena and scientific achievements can be understood simply by testing them for yourself.

The theme of sustainable development will dominate

The theme of the Science Center will cover three thematic axes: “Man” (development and achievements of life sciences), “Machine” (development and achievements of technology), “Ecology and nature” (earth, air, space, water, fire, animal). Based on the concept of sustainable development, the exposition will cover seven topics.

Visitors will be able to learn how the human body works, what health challenges we face, and how a variety of technologies are used to live longer. The exposition will touch on many topics relevant to humanity, where and how food gets on our table, what we will eat in the future. Visitors to the museum will be acquainted with the natural phenomena that affect our lives. Another important topic is how the habits of the earth’s population affect the environment, what visible and invisible pollution surrounds us, and how they can be avoided.

“In the energy exposition, we will not only learn from what different sources and how electricity is generated, how it is transmitted and stored, but we will also do it ourselves in practice, looking for the most efficient ways of energy generation,” said J. Audėjaitis.

Another part of the exhibition will be dedicated to transport. Why planes fly, balloons take off, machines move forward, and ships don’t sink. At the museum, visitors will learn about the laws of science that govern movement around the world, while looking for ways to move more harmoniously. No less important is the movement not only by means of transport but also by invisible communication, so there will be an opportunity to learn how information transmission systems such as the Internet work.

The youngest visitors of the center, who cannot yet read or count, but are especially curious, will not be forgotten at the “Mokslo sala”. In the specially adapted part of the exposition, scientific phenomena will be presented in colors, sounds and adventures.

STEAM laboratories

Another unique highlight that will characterize “Mokslo sala” is the so-called STEAM laboratories. They will be able to take part in formal education lessons, as well as various clubs and other extracurricular activities.

“In the laboratories of Biology-chemistry, Physics-engineering, IT-robotics and Smart city, students will be able to apply theoretical knowledge in practice, all equipment and the program will be coordinated with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports. These laboratories will operate in the common system of Lithuanian STEAM centers, coordinating activities in 10 Lithuanian regions,” J. Audėjaitis emphasized.

The museum “Mokslo sala”, which will become an undoubted center of attraction for Kaunas residents and tourists, is expected to attract about 300 thousand visitors per year.