THE BIOTOPIA VISION

BIOTOPIA's mission is to explore, question and reconfigure the relationships between humans and other living beings.


BIOTOPIA will take a unique approach focusing on behaviours, activities and processes, featuring topics like "Eat", "Sleep" and "Reproduce"; themes that connect humans with other species.
Current status of the exhibition development
Currently, BIOTOPIA's curation team is developing a thematic and spatial exhibition concept that is based on the future museum's Masterplan. The work of BIOTOPIA's curators is supported by numerous local and international experts, for instance by the scientists of the Bavarian Natural History Collections.

Open labs enable visitors to actively participate and to engage with researchers, artists and scientists. Observatories introduce local and global bio- and ecosystems. In the children's museum, children up to six years old experience the perspectives of various animals. Temporary exhibitions will occupy a dedicated space in the lower level.
BIOTOPIA VALUES
Curiosity:
Igniting curiosity for nature and science.


BIOTOPIA CORE VALUES

EMPATHY:
SEEING THE WORLD FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF OTHER LIVING BEINGS.


BIOTOPIA CORE VALUES

AGENCY:
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FUTURE OF THE ENVIRONMENT.


A MUSEUM FOR EVERYBODY
BIOTOPIA is a museum for everybody: A platform for discussion and communication about the latest research, an interactive learning venue with public labs and varied programmes, an interdisciplinary space that bridges nature, culture, art and design. In doing so, the future museum can draw on the excellent resources of the Bavarian Natural History Collections – it contains, for example, the world’s largest butterfly collection, with 11 million species.
VOICES: VISION
  • Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman
    BIOTOPIA Founding Director
  • Prof. Dr. Benedikt Grothe
    Chairman of the BIOTOPIA Advisory Board
    Chair of Neurobiology, LMU Munich
  • Prof. Dr. Gerhard Haszprunar
    Member of the BIOTOPIA Advisory Board
    Member of the BIOTOPIA Advisory Board
  • Ranga Yogeshwar
    Science Journalist and TV-Host
  • PD Dr. Bettina Bölter
    Research Fellow and Research Group Leader, LMU Munich
    MILESTONES
    • THE MUSEUM MAN AND NATURE

      1990

      The current Museum Man and Nature opens. It is a makeshift solution: From the start, the museum struggles with significant challenges as many necessary infrastructural requirements do not exist. There is neither room for important touring exhibitions nor to explore vital questions regarding the future and our environment in the permanent exhibition.

      Nevertheless, the museum enjoys great popularity. With almost 200,000 visitors annually, it is one of Germany's most visited natural history museums.
    • THE EXPANSION

      2008

      The area that previously belonged to Munich's Ludwig-Maximilians-University and is situated in the northern wing of Nymphenburg Palace becomes available. Dating back to the 60s, it is not protected as a historic monument and lies right next to the existing Museum Man and Nature. By expanding and reconfiguring the current space, it is hence available for creating a new museum for the life sciences with international relevance.
    • THE FÖRDERKREIS

      2012

      On the initiative of S.K.H. Franz Herzog von Bayern and at the suggestions of the Bavarian State Ministry for Science and Art, an organisation comes into being that supports the realisation of the entreprise: Förderkreis BIOTOPIA - Naturkundemuseum Bayern e.V. It is officially founded on January 26th, 2012 during a launching ceremony. Ornithologist Dr. Auguste von Bayern becomes its chairwoman.

      In the same year, the Förderkreis manages to collect the seed capital of 1 million euros thanks to the active support of the Bavarian population. Consequently, the Bavarian Parliament approves planning costs in the amount of 2.6 million euros.
    • The ARCHITECTURAL COMPETITION

      2013

      The Bavarian government invites tenders for an international architectural competition. The process is conducted in close collaboration with Bavaria's capital Munich and the responsible district committee. The Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments and the Bavarian Palace Department closely monitor requirements regarding monument protection.

      The new building replaces the former LMU-institute, which is not suited to host a museum. The section of the palace which accommodates the current Museum Man and Nature will be renovated according to monument protection regulations.
    • THE WINNING DESIGN

      2014

      The award winner of the architectural competition is the prestigious Berlin-based agency Staab Architekten whose design complies best with the regulations of monument protection and the local architectural situation.

      From there, the competition design is further developed to meet the requirements of the future museum as well as the historic area in the best possible way.
    • THE FOUNDING DIRECTOR

      2015

      With Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman, a prestigious and visionary founding director joins the project.

      Prior to his position in Munich, Prof. Gorman founded Science Gallery Dublin and Science Gallery International. Their goal is to ignite creativity and discovery where science and art collide and to create a global university-linked network dedicated to public engagement with science and art. Prior to founding Science Gallery, Prof. Gorman was a lecturer in Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University and has held postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard University, Stanford University and MIT.
    • THE CONCEPT

      2016

      Together with the international agencies Lord Culture and Ralph Applebaum Associates and supported by local and international experts, Prof. Gorman develops a groundbreaking Masterplan, which defines the vision, mission and framework for the future museum.

      Furthermore, the founding director sets up the project delivery team, the core office for planning the future museum.
    • BIOTOPIA IN THE PUBLIC

      2017

      In the presence of more than 400 guests the founding director introduces the new concept to the public.

      Shortly after, the development of the exhibition designs begins and the architectural plans reach a new development state. During the ongoing development Staab Architekten have, among other things, worked on the segmentation and rhythm as well as the materiality and colours of the facade in close consultation with the Bavarian State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments.

      During an information event in September 2017 the new plans are presented to the public. More information events will take place further along in the planning process.
    • #HAUTNAHFEST

      2018

      HAUTNAH started off a series of annual festivals which will explore the central themes of the future museum.

      Which fabric is our future made of? The first BIOTOPIA Fest "HAUTNAH" (Skin Close) is dedicated to biosciences and material sciences in the context of fashion and design: From participative labs and workshops, to a children's programmes and exhibitions, panels and a fashion show.
    • Horst Seehofer
      BIOTOPIA LAB - A TASTE OF BIOTOPIA

      2019-2025

      During the development and construction phase, the BIOTOPIA LAB offers a first look into the future museum. Beyond that, BIOTOPIA will organise activities, events and an annual festival to stay in touch with its audience - and bring the BIOTOPIA vision to life long before its opening. Working with network partners BIOTOPIA will also launch mobile programmes throughout Bavaria.
    • BIOTOPIA LAB AND MUSEUM MAN AND NATURE CLOSING

      2020

      Even prior to its opening, BIOTOPIA seeks to inspire curiosity for biology, environment and food. Consequently, the BIOTOPIA LAB will open its doors as an interim exhibition and programming space in the Botanic Garden Munich-Nymphenburg in 2020. <br/ ><br/ > Furthermore, the Museum Man and Nature is to be closed in 2020. The BIOTOPIA LAB therefore offers a venue for the public until the museum reopens as BIOTOPIA.

      The start of construction is currently planned for 2021.

    • REOPENING AS BIOTOPIA

      2027/28

      BIOTOPIA currently plans to open in 2027/28 - when, finally, the vision of BIOTOPIA will be realized, as we welcome our first visitors.

    INTERNATIONAL VOICES FROM OTHER MUSEUMS
    • Alexandre Fernandes, Co-founding Director at Museum of Tomorrow, Rio de Janeiro, Founding Director at MOTI, Amsterdam

      “In times of great ecological breakdowns, BIOTOPIA has the potential to become a global leading voice that will inspire whole generations to forge a more balanced relationship and tuning in with our living planet. Its vision is the most beautiful vision of any museum that I have ever seen.”
    • Tom Rockwell, Creative Director Exploratorium, San Francisco

      “BIOTOPIA is one of the most watched experiments in the field right now, but calling it an experiment implies that there is more risk than I think is really there. This is the way of the future and I only hope it won't take the rest of us too long to catch up. “
    • Clare Matterson, CBE Executive Director, Engagement Natural History Museum London

      “Biotopia’s bold new approach to connecting people with the natural world is more important than ever. We are using the planet’s natural resources at unsustainable rates, polluting our natural environment, driving species to extinction and changing our climate and weather systems – and now is the moment when bold approaches are needed.
      This is the direction that we are also taking at Natural History Museum, London and we look forward to working with Biotopia and other major natural history institutions to make a difference for people and planet.”
    • Prof. Dr. Johannes Vogel, Director of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, Leibniz-Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity

      "In summary, I can only confirm that the vision for the BIOTOPIA Natural History Museum of Bavaria is truly exciting and groundbreaking in our field. Under the direction of Professor Gorman, this museum has the opportunity to play a pioneering role in the public debate on the life sciences and biodiversity.
      The interdisciplinary approach, which makes it internationally relevant, comes at a time when many natural history museums are trying to redefine themselves in order to face the most important planetary challenges. We look forward to working closely with BIOTOPIA in implementing our own ambitious plans to expand and develop the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin.
      There is a lot of common ground regarding our common goal to redefine the Museum of Natural History for the biological 21st century and to create a public platform where politics, science, culture and society can come together to face our ecological challenges and to inspire society and young scientists.”
    • Michael J. Novacek, PhD Curator and Provost of Science, American Museum of Natural History New York, USA

      "BIOTOPIA is an expansive new vision aimed at attracting the kind of engagement from visitors and constituents of all ages and background that is critically needed if we are to understand our natural world better and provide the stewardship needed for our current and future generations.
      The ideas that embrace synthetic exhibition and programmatic themes and the melding of art and science are fresh, bold and beautiful! BIOTOPIA promises to be a new, powerful, and internationally acclaimed center for nature, science, and art.”
    • Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Volker Mosbrugger, Director Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung

      “I am really impressed by the vision of the BIOTOPIA Natural History Museum Bavaria under the direction of Prof. Michael John Gorman. This vision proposes a new approach for the development of a museum for life sciences and environment, which has the potential to become a beacon in the German landscape as well as internationally. At a time of increasing public concern about the collapse of biodiversity and revolutionary developments in the life sciences, BIOTOPIA is proactively and demand-driven focusing on understanding the relationship between humans and other species in terms of behaviors, activities and processes that connect us. Particularly innovative is the interdisciplinary approach of combining life sciences with art and design. This offers the opportunity to reach a new audience and connect them emotionally with science. As we continue to develop and expand the public offering of Senckenberg, as Germany's leading research institute for biodiversity and earth system research, I am convinced that we will have ample opportunity to work with BIOTOPIA - Natural History Museum of Bavaria to provide a public platform for natural and life science research."
    • Dr. Eric Dorfman Daniel G. and Carole L. Kamin, Director Carnegie Museum of Natural History Pittsburgh, USA

      "As the planet as a whole continues to lose ground in critical areas such as climate change and pollution, the bold new vision for Biotopia is at the forefront of connecting the roles of “effect” (arcane knowledge) with “affect” (emotions) in a way seldom seen in natural history museums, but vitally needed. This vision is truly forward- facing and will ensure the relevance of Biotopia for decades to come. I commend Dr. Gorman and his colleagues for a brave perspective that will go even further in putting Bavaria on the world stage for these important issues."
      BIOTOPIA –
      Naturkundemuseum Bayern
      Botanisches Institut
      Menzinger Str. 67
      80638 München, Germany

      Phone: +49 (0)89 178 61-422
      Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

      © BIOTOPIA - Naturkundemuseum Bayern 2019

      BIOTOPIA Newsletter

      News

      We proudly announce that BIOTOPIA – Naturkundemuseum Bayern is joining the Global Coalition for Biodiversity,  as the first official member from Germany. The Global Coalition calls for strong mobilisation of all national parks, research centers, science and natural history museums, botanic gardens, zoos, aquariums, and beyond to unite forces and make their voices heard about the nature crisis ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in 2021. After the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, BIOTOPIA also becomes the 2nd Natural History Museum worldwide to join the Coalition.

      Download Press Release 2019

       

      In June 2020, the Museum Mensch und Natur celebrated its 30th anniversary - unfortunately, due to the Corona Pandemic, however, without a celebration or other public event. Since the museum has become very popular with many visitors over the past 30 years, this anniversary is now being honored with a launch in Google Arts & Culture.

      Use the search function to select the Museum Mensch und Natur and get the opportunity to explore selected stories and objects. In addition, you can even visit our museum virtually via various museum views. Take your time to look at some of the most popular objects and maybe you will feel like visiting the museum live again.

      Google Arts & Culture

      A provocative call for the transformation of science museums into "idea colliders" that spark creative collaborations and connections. Gorman focuses on the dialogue between scientists and artists, designers, policymakers, and the public and considers the questions, ideas and experiences of each visitor as an important resource for a new kind of museum experience. The book can be ordered online in English and provides exciting insights into the planned BIOTOPIA – Naturkundemuseum Bayern in Munich and giving forward-looking models of science engagement around the world.

      The BIOTOPIA annual review 2019 is now available for download! It includes exciting insights behind the scenes, an interview with Dr. Auguste von Bayern, a review of the EAT festival and much more! So it's worth a glance and whoever is enthusiastic about BIOTOPIA's vision is welcome to donate and become a sponsor.

      Download Annual Report 2019

       

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      Do you have questions or need further information? Do not hesitate to get in touch with the BIOTOPIA team and the Förderkreis BIOTOPIA.

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