A naturum is a centre for visitors to a place of outstanding beauty or scientific interest, often a national park or a nature reserve. The naturum architecture is considered a big part of this experience. But we would also like to pay attention to the exhibitions inside. The naturums of Sweden has got quite a lot of attention this year, both with articles in magazines and by the newly published book “Sveriges naturum – Naturum Visitor Centres in Sweden”. The book is published by the Environmental Protection Agency and Arkitektur Förlag and highlights 13 instances of good architecture characterised by a high environmental profile and good accessibility. It's a book filled with passion, beautiful pictures and fun facts.
Creating a spectacular architecture does for sure attract interest to the site. But when the experience inside these buildings, the learning exhibitions, is made second or even third in rank we really feel that someone has missed the point. We strongly believe that the architecture and the exhibition content have to work together to create an interesting learning arena for the visitor. Just placing content into a ready-made display space is not a desirable way to work in these kinds of arenas. When possible, we argue that the architecture and the experiential learning design should go hand in hand.
Expology have created permanent exhibitions for two naturum in the last two years. The first one located in the beautiful surroundings of Söderåsen national park. This exhibition highlights the rich nature of Söderåsen with focus on water, mountains, forests and culture. While the previous exhibition had walls covering the windows facing the beautiful view outside, we strived to create a learning exhibition working with the original architecture, steering the visitors towards the view and making the exhibition become a path to nature.
In the newly opened naturum exhibition at the bird reserve Getterön we again started out with removing elements blocking the fantastic view. We changed interior materials and colours to better cooperate with the experience and learning design we developed for the exhibition. We also made sure to take advantage of the wonderful ceiling height.
Naturum should be a rich source of information for the visitors. The exhibition together with the knowledgeable and inspiring guides is what secures this. We want to encourage a closer cooperation between the different parties involved, and we are hoping that more attention and acknowledgement will soon be given to the learning experience within these fantastic buildings.
Never visited a naturum? At the moment there is 30 naturum around Sweden to explore!