Citta della Scienza Fire – Hope of future Science Tourism

Before the fire
Before the fire

Instead of your regular Science Tourist post, here’s some bad news about one particular destination which nobody can visit at the moment.

Last week, on the evening of March 4th, a fire started in the Città della Scienza in Naples. It quickly spread throughout most of the museum, and by Tuesday morning the entire building was destroyed. The cause of the fire is not known yet, but Neapolitans suspect a case of arson.

Before the fire, the museum attracted 350,000 visitors per year. School children would go here to play with the interactive exhibits and use the associated educational facility to learn about science the same way other kids around the world do in their local science centres. The museum was built in a former industrial area, and was widely used as an example of the transformation and modernization of Naples. On a global scale, the museum is small – smaller than the ones I’ve written about here before – but for the city of Naples this is an enormous loss.

The Italian minister of Education announced on Thursday that the complex will be open again in 18 months. It’s an ambitious goal to rebuild the entire complex in such a short time, but they’re getting lots of support.

The Città della Scienza has publicized their bank details, which can be used to make international donations. There’s a cost associated with international bank transfer, so this would be most useful for larger amounts. There is also a crowdfunding campaign where you can donate smaller amounts. That has currently raised over 40,000 euros already. Finally, they’re recruiting donations in the form of professional help from experts and companies who want to offer their skills in rebuilding the museum.

On Sunday, March 10, local children and adults organized a flashmob in support of the museum. You can see all the photos of the event, “Napoli è Nostra”, in their Flickr set. It looks absolutely massive! More than 14,000 people RSVPed on their Facebook event page, but I’m not sure how many were actually there.

Flashmob in support of the museum.

With so much community support, I’m hopeful that they’ll rebuild the museum om schedule, and I hope to visit it if I’m ever in the area!

First photo from Wikimedia Commons. Second photo from Città della Scienza’s Twitter account.

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