Museum of Tomorrow – Rio looks to the future

I had to visit the Olympic Boulevard – there was so much talk about it! I hurried my pace across the 'Avenidas' as I heard the sounds of Felipe Cordeiro and his band and sure enough, he was wowing the crowds!

But wait, I mustn't be held back by this scintillating music – I was aiming for the big white building taking up much of the Boulevard – the Museum of Tomorrow, a new icon of the renewal of Rio de Janeiro's port area, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava who said he was inspired by the bromeliads (flowering plants) of Rio's botanical gardens. It's a science museum with a difference promoting exploration, reflection and planning of possibilities for the future.

I jumped the long queue, as journalists are officially allowed to do, and was led firstly into Brazil's notion of Creation – folk were lying on the ground and looking to the heavens as life developed around them.

The Museum examines the past, considers current trends and explores future scenarios for the next 50 years, approached from a perspective of sustainability and coexistence..

The interactive Museum poses questions such as, 'where do we come from?', 'who are we?', 'where are we?' and 'where are we going?', without giving answers. Six major trends of the next half century are explored: climate change, change in bio-diversity, growing population and increased life span, greater cultural integration & differentiation, advances in technology and expanded knowledge.

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The intention of the museum was to create something that would move visitors to understand our times in which we're living. Each section requires deep contemplation and if one's ideas of the future hadn't been challenged before the end section, then the ultimate outlook over the 'reflecting pool' with the star in the centre and the views of ships in the Guanabara Bay, mountains beyond and the vast span of the Niteroi bridge must bring the question to mind – What of our future? Does God feature in it? He can do!

By Norman Brierley