The Museum Of Tomorrow Asks ‘How Can We Protect The Future Of Our Planet?’
The Museo Do Amanha (Museum of Tomorrow) is well worth a visit, especially if you find yourself at a loose end in Rio on a not so sunny day.
The museum opened in December 2015 and has been a hit with the public, drawing large crowds daily. Make sure you arrive early to beat the lines or you will be in for a long wait to get a ticket and to see the first exhibit once inside.
This is a museum of big ideas. It raises the importance of our need to take responsibility for our impact on the planet and to focus on a sustainable, coexistent future. Curated by physicist and cosmologist Luiz Alberto Oliveira and designed by Ralph Appelbaum, with the artistic direction of Andres Clerici the museum is an engaging mashup of Science and Art. It uses digital and video installations to tell its story and is divided into a series of highly visual spaces designed to take you on a thought provoking journey, from the origin of the universe to the construction of possible futures for the planet.
Inside the museum the first experience is a powerful and poetic 360 degree video projected onto the inside of large dome co-directed by City of God director Fernando Meirelles. It beautifully envisions the creation of the universe and of life itself. As you move further through the exhibition we are shown the impact of our advances in technology, increased consumption patterns and our rapid population growth on the planet. We are asked to imagine how we and the planet will cope in a world with more people, with increased life expectancies living in culturally diverse cities that are expanding with much social inequality, with climate change and with changing biodiversity. Finally we are asked to act now as individuals and as a collective to leave a positive legacy for future generations.
Architecturally the building is a triumph. It was commissioned by Rio’s city government and designed by Santiago Calatrava as part of a regeneration plan for the port, which ten years ago was one of the city’s poorest and crime-ridden areas. To reflect the message of the museum’s permanent exhibition it was also built with sustainability at the core. Designers say it uses 40% less energy compared with conventional buildings and 9% of its power is harnessed from the sun Its roof is a giant skeleton, like that of a great blue whale, made of solar panel wings which adjust their angle over the course of the day to collect solar energy for the building. When the sun is shining its light dances on the large pool of water beneath the imposing structure which is pumped in from the surrounding harbour to regulate the temperature of the building. The building also bears the likeness to the hull of a great ship, a nod to its location on the edge of Guanabara Bay and next to the city’s naval base. Visitors are invited to circumnavigate the museum, perched on the edge of a pier, to take in the impressive views of Guanabara Bay, the Sao Bento Monastery and the Niteroi Bridge.
Costing $59m and reliant on sponsor funding from British Gas, Santander Bank and the Roberto Marinho Foundation (part of the Globo media group) and it is at the forefront of a development that has forced many poor people from their homes some might question the ethics of the museum. But it unquestionably does a good job highlighting the environmental challenges of our generation and I’m sure it will continue to shock and inspire its visitors.