When entering Miraikan in Tokyo, The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, we are struck by all the activity. But unlike many other science centres there is no “running around”. Everywhere we look there is an air of concentration. Visitors, children and adults, are focused, interacting with the exhibits and discussing with each other. Together with all these engaged visitors we spent an afternoon exploring and looking for inspiration.
Miraikan is an extensive Science Museum with topics ranging from simple everyday problems to the Earth's environment and space. The ambition is high. Through science and technology they want us to better understand our relationship with the planet. They want us to discover new approaches to better living.
One of the main attractions is the impressive Geo-Cosmos, a huge globe display that floats in mid air, visible from almost anywhere in the building. The idea is to show us the world as seen from space. The globe is covered with around 1 million LEDs and constantly updated with satellite data used to illustrate various images of the world; cloud movements, the sea surface temperature, atmospheric pollution and a projection of simulated future global warming. It is stunning.
So-called Science Communicators were all around Miraikan, always ready to support us in our visit, to discuss or to provide explanations of exhibits. These are personnel specially trained to act as a bridge between the general public and the scientists and engineers.
Walking out we feel we have had too little time in the museum. There are so many levels and so much to see. With tired legs we sit down on a bench outside, looking up on the massive building glowing in the sun, already looking forward to coming back.