Located on the King Edward Pier in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the Montreal Science Centre is the second-largest museum of its kind in Canada, dedicated to science and technology with a focus on accessible, interactive education. Since its opening in 2000, it has attracted more than 700,000 annual visitors and has provided educational resources to more than two million children in Montreal schools.
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The museum was opened on May 1, 2000, under the name Centre iSci, which was revised the following year to its current name. It is owned and managed by the Old Port of Montreal Corporation, a crown corporation of the Canadian government. The museum has received a number of awards for its unique exhibits, including the Cascade Award from the Canadian Association of Science Centres and Excellence Prizes from the Canadian Museums Association and la Société des musées québécois for its permanent exhibitions.
Five permanent exhibits are featured, along with rotating special exhibitions.
Fabrik Creative Factory: Inside this unique workshop space, children are encouraged to hone their invention and assembly skills. An extensive library of tools and creative supplies are provided for use in free creation of small projects such as parachutes, catapults, and derby cars, encouraging technological and engineering creativity and problem-solving skills. Visitors are encouraged to work in teams to experiment and construct their unique projects.
Human: The museum’s newest permanent exhibition focuses on human biology and evolution. Two distinct zones of learning engage visitors in hands-on physical activities and demonstrations, teaching about human anatomy and physiology, showing genetic similarities and differences between humans and neighboring species, and offering a glimpse at the possible future of human evolution.
Science 26: This exhibit uses an alphabet theme to structure 26 unique scientific “islands” of learning, each dedicated to a concept starting with each letter. The playful environment encourages kinetic learning and movement as children explore a variety of hands-on activities.
Clic! The Zone for Curious Young Minds: A discovery space dedicated to the museum’s youngest visitors, children ages four to seven can engage their imaginations through safe free-play activities in a colorful interactive environment. A small model house and an interactive ball rollercoaster are highlights of the zone, full of materials that serve as building blocks to create art projects, color forms, and other structures.
The Windmills of the Imagination: Created for the center’s inauguration in 2000, this innovative exhibit by artist and inventor Florent Veilleux features uniquely rendered electricity-to-water and water-to-wind “transformers.” Though the science behind the installations is imaginary, the exhibit encourages children to expand their creative and inventive horizons in dreaming up tomorrow’s engineering and conservation solutions.
In addition to the exhibits, a seven-story IMAX theater, the IMAX TELUS, shows the latest science and nature-themed offerings for an additional fee.
Traveling Exhibitions and Ongoing Programs
Since 2005, the center has been producing and touring traveling exhibitions throughout the Montreal area. Two former museum installations are currently available for rental for school groups and other organizations.
The groundbreaking Sex: A Tell-All Exhibition exhibit was the recipient of numerous national awards during its original museum tenure, offering a positive, informed look at human sexuality for teenagers ages 12 and older. The exhibit explores human sexuality from conception through adult attraction, aiming to promote healthy outlooks on the body and provide rational, scientifically supported sex education for Montreal teens. Five zones of activities pose over 100 questions about sexuality, encouraging students to form their own personal answers to open-ended questions. The biological, social, cultural, and ethical aspects of sexuality are considered, with displays meant to foster open dialogue about sexual behaviors and orientation.
Originally featured at the museum from 2012 to 2013, Musik: From Sound to Emotion is a collaboration with Montreal pop-punk band Simple Plan. The exhibit draws from research by world-renowned laboratories to explore the links between neurology and psychology in the ways we interpret music, allowing participants to engage in video “conferences” with music researchers. Seven unique composition zones guide students through the creation of their own musical works, allowing each participant to choose their own mood, style, tempo, and instrumentation. Each zone explains linked scientific concepts or encourages reflection on the emotions the sounds evoke.
The museum also offers curriculum-integrated school tour programs for elementary ages, which feature guided exploration of the museum’s exhibits and an opportunity to see an IMAX film. During the summer, a month-long French-language day camp is presented, with weekly themes focusing on a variety of science and nature topics. Additionally, a daycare program as well as birthday party packages are offered.
2 de la Commune St W, Montreal, QC H2X 4B2, Canada