Since 2002, the exhibition ship “MS Wissenschaft” is on tour for several months a year. Presenting science in new and playful ways, including through hands-on exhibits.
Usually, the ship’s main exhibition theme matches the current Science Year’s topic, which is being proclaimed annually by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany and Wissenschaft im Dialog. With the objective of presenting how science, research and technology are contributing to the discovery and the utilization of Seas and Oceans, this i where both the Science Year 2016*17 and ‘MS Wissenschaft’ were focusing on.
Within four areas, the exhibition concentrated on the topics coast, high sea, polar sea, and deep sea. At the hands-on display items developed specially for the exhibition, visitors could dive through a coral reef or cause submarine earthquakes. The exhibits were provided by the institutes of Fraunhofer, Helmhotz Association, Max Planck Society, DFG-funded projects, universities and other partners. The Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, along with the state governments of Upper Austria and Lower Austria, made the tour in Austria possible.
After eight months, 75 cities and 5,340 km the exhibition ship MS Wissenschaft finished its tour through Germany and Austria in October 2017. But the record breaking statistic is the number of visitors: over 210,000 people boarded the ship as part of the Science Year 2016-17 – Seas and Oceans. In 2017 alone there were 128,000 visitors – more than ever before.
School students were particularly fascinated by these questions, as the 1,000 school classes that visited the converted freighter in the double science year demonstrated.
Various events and workshops were organized in addition to the exhibition. For instance, in workshops students demonstrated their fantasy and creativity by imagining the future of the oceans. The result is the comic book “Stories from the future”.
Interested visitors gain the possibility of meeting the scientists behind the exhibition pieces personally. Another series of events, ‘Dialog an Deck’, allowed a narrowly focused discussion round between experts on particular scientific issues in front of a lay audience, which was requested to be part of the dialog.
Programmers, designers, scientists and other ocean lovers had their chance to work on solutions for the future of the oceans at the Ozeanwerkstatt – a workshop for hackers and makers. The diversity of on-board events drew a very diverse group of visitors of all ages to the MS Wissenschaft.
The next exhibition “Working Life of the Future” will start its tour in mid-May 2018 and is planning to set off from Berlin. Current information about the tour plans is regularly published on this website and Facebook page.