It required clever science and technology to tear down the old Science and Technology Museum of Canada and replacing it with a new $81 million museum – without ever moving its most popular artifacts.
It was mid November 1967 when Canada’s largest steam locomotives rolled into an abandoned bread factory in an Ottawa suburb. They were the first exhibits in what would become the Science & Technology Museum of Canada.
50 years later, almost to the day, a modern version of the science and technology museum opened on the site of the old suburban bread factory.
Before designing the new museum a panel of 800 influencers and museum friends was asked what should be retained from the old structure. The giant steam locomotives got top billing.
So too did the Crazy Kitchen. It was always a hit.
The old-fashion country kitchen was built to confuse the senses. Its floor is on a 12-degree slant and that makes your body and inner ear think one way, but the straight lines in the decor made your eyes say …
“No, everything looks normal.”
Thus the eyes and the body’s balance mechanisms fight it out for dominance as you progress trough the kitchen. Fortunately there’s a railing to grab. When you get outside you’ll learn other people have been laughing at your clumsy confusion by watching you on closed circuit TV.
The designers of the new museum kept the 1940s look of the Crazy Kitchen.
The new museum helps visitors stay abreast of the ever-changing world of high tech creations and inventions in Canada, plus their heritage – where and how the concept was first applied.
A 400-year-old telescope from Galileo ’s days in Florence sits in a protected glass display case. Saturn’s rings were discovered by a similar device. This long, elaborate telescope is on loan from the Galileo Museum in Florence.
Peering through it got Galileo in hot water with the Vatican when he suggested maybe, just maybe, the earth isn’t the centre of the universe and it actually orbits the sun with other planets as opposed to those solar bodies orbiting the earth.
Sitting next to it is a Canadian-made telescope that required some pretty clever mathematics to operate. The scope is designed to follow a planet or star, or even a meteorite through the night sky, but there is no computer attached to work out the complicated logistics. Somebody had to determine the proper amount of lead weights to hang from a chain to move the mechanized telescope at the same pace as the heavenly body it was following through the sky.
The new museum will be hard to miss for those driving along St. Laurent Blvd. in Ottawa – particularly after sunset. The long white exterior front wall comes alive with a wide variety of photos and videos depicting Canada’s nature from our blue oceans to our vast green forests and the rolling golden fields of wheat on the prairies.
The museum possesses a lot more artifacts than can be displayed – although the new museum has twice as many on display as did the old museum. But most of the goods are in storage waiting their turn on stage. The large new storage building is under construction beside the new museum to open in June, 2018, and it too will offer some public viewing.
Many of the items in the new storage building will also be on public display.