The appliance of science

Simon Stephens, 09.10.2014
Behind the scenes at Techniquest
Getting to the behind-the-scenes tours at the Museums Association (MA) conference is always a bit of a challenge but I did manage to make to Techniquest, the science centre in Cardiff Bay. The 7.30am start was made less painful by the fantastically welcoming staff and a hot drink.

Sciences centres are challenging places to run and some have hit financial trouble in recent years. They have to make their subject fun, accessible and educational, while at the same time keeping pace with scientific advancements and developing new exhibits, which can be costly.

Behind the scenes at Techniquest

Techniquest, which opened in 1986 and is the oldest purpose-built science centre in the UK, is constantly having to adapt and change, both in terms of how it operates and what it offers.

It has been doing more outreach work recently in response to schools finding it more difficult to fund outside trips, for example. And the centre is planning a redevelopment that will create a new entrance on the bay side of the building and a smaller cafĂ© but a larger shop.

The Welsh Government provides about one third of its funding, but the centre also makes money by developing and selling programmes and exhibits to science centres all over the world.

If MA conference delegates want hear more about its work (and see a fantastic film in its planetarium) it's open again tomorrow morning. Meanwhile tomorrow I'll be going to try and make to the other breakfast tour at Cardiff Castle.