Controversy in Science Museums focuses on exhibitions that approach sensitive or controversial topics. With a keen sense of past and current practices, Pedretti and Navas Iannini examine and re-imagine how museums and science centres can create exhibitions that embrace criticality and visitor agency.

Drawing on international case studies and voices from visitors and museum professionals, as well as theoretical insights about scientific literacy and science communication, the authors explore the textured notion of controversy and the challenges and opportunities practitioners may encounter as they plan for and develop controversial science exhibitions. They assert that science museums can no longer serve as mere repositories for objects or sites for transmitting facts, but that they should also become spaces for conversations that are inclusive, critical, and socially responsible.

Controversy in Science Museums provides an invaluable resource for museum professionals who are interested in creating and hosting controversial exhibitions, and for scholars and students working in the fields of museum studies, science communication, and social studies of science. Anyone wishing to engage in an examination and critique of the changing roles of science museums will find this book relevant, timely, and thought provoking.

chapter |10 pages


part Part 1|75 pages

Articulating theoretical landscapes

chapter 3|18 pages

Generations of science museums

Changing roles, changing goals

chapter 4|20 pages

Engaging controversy

part Part 2|77 pages

Tales from the field

chapter 5|17 pages

Deconstructing science

A Question of Truth

chapter 6|17 pages

Growing concerns

Preventing Youth Pregnancy

chapter 7|18 pages

Under the skin

Body Worlds

chapter 8|23 pages

Breaking taboos

Mental Health: Mind Matters

part Part 3|79 pages

Revisiting science museums

chapter 9|23 pages

Visitor voices

chapter 10|19 pages

Institutional inspirations and inclinations

chapter 11|19 pages

Navigating controversy in science museums

chapter 12|16 pages

Science museums re-imagined