Fresh thinking needed to shape new future for Science Gallery

Facility seems certain to close after Bias exhibition ends – but Coalition throws lifeline

Bias exhibition at Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin. The gallery appears set to close when the run ends. File photograph: The Irish Times

Bias exhibition at Science Gallery, Trinity College Dublin. The gallery appears set to close when the run ends. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

There continues to be uncertainty around the future of the Science Gallery in Trinity College.

In the short term it seems certain to close when the current Bias exhibition reaches the end of its run, with 16 staff set to lose their jobs. But the Government has signalled that it is prepared to offer funding if a new model for the popular but loss making gallery can be agreed.

“Trinity College Dublin needs to do work to develop what a new vision and a sustainable financial model for the long-term future of the Science Gallery is. The Department of Further and Higher Education is awaiting a submission from them on those issues,” Taoiseach Micheál Martin told the Dáil this week.

The curious aspect of this is that Trinity has been asked to come up with this new vision – the same organisation that only three months ago decided there was no future for the gallery. Even the brilliant minds of Trinity would find it a mental leap to envision a new future for a gallery that it decided only a short time ago (after careful deliberations we assume) had none.

Latest accounts show that losses recorded by the Science Gallery more than doubled to €568,924 in 2020, while its income declined by 22 per cent to €1.17 million. It was loss making before the pandemic, with accumulated losses of €965,301 at the end of September 2020. It has withered under the stewardship of Trinity.

Grave and gripping

Science played a crucial role in the pandemic and the possibilities for innovation in this digital age have never seemed greater. The challenges posed by climate change to our planet are both grave and gripping.

And the State is home to some of the world’s biggest technology and pharmaceutical companies, who are shaping this brave new world.

So there should be plenty of interest here in a science gallery or museum that presents cutting-edge exhibitions that spark our imaginations and promotes itself on social media with edgy marketing campaigns. The possibilities should be infinite.

Some fresh thinking is definitely required to shape a new future for the gallery.

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