At the 6th Science Centre World Congress, leaders of science centres and museums worldwide resolve to:

4-8 September, 2011 • Cape Town • South Africa


At the 6 Science Centre World Congress convened in Cape Town, South Africa, from 4-8 September 2011, 416 delegates from 56 countries assessed the impact of science centres worldwide and formulated plans that will ensure that they continue to play a constructive role in addressing global issues at the interface between science and society. The Congress continued the dialogue from previous world gatherings in Finland (1996), India (1999), Australia (2002), Brazil (2005) and Canada (2008).

Globally, science centres and interactive museums have taken the lead in hands-on, inquiry-based learning, and have achieved a high trust rate for the accuracy of the information that they communicate. They focus on promoting dialogue and debate while learning, and on deriving explanations, rather than just providing answers, for important scientific discoveries and phenomena. They endeavour to promote social engagement across generations and cultures as well as an ethos of lifelong learning.

Each year, over 310 million people actively participate in the in-house and outreach science engagement programmes organized by over 2 500 science centres in more than 90 countries and administrative regions. These science centres recognize that the three pillars of interactive science engagement are science knowledge, hands-on interaction, and dialogue and the co-creation of experiences with scientists and the public.

Science centres also recognize that ‘smart play’ is one of the most effective ways of learning for people of all ages. Their role is to reach beyond the provision of information into the development of understanding and wisdom. This wisdom brings about changed mindsets and behaviours that lead to the development of more sustainable life styles. Science centres help people, and therefore societies, to maximize their potential.

Science centres are places where construction of meaning takes place, and scientific and technological advances are understood in their appropriate contexts. Although trust in scientists remains high, science centre audiences do not automatically accept that all scientific advances mean progress for everyone. They want to engage with scientists and to understand the long term implications of their research. There is thus a need for improved dialogue between scientists and the public during the course of the scientific process that leads to societal change.

This Declaration is consistent with the core contributions made by science centres worldwide and outlined in the Toronto Declaration of 2008. This Cape Town Declaration of 2011 notes that, over the past three years, science centres have especially:

Plans to achieve these resolutions will be developed, as appropriate, at institutional, national and international levels. At the 2014 Science Centre World Summit, to be held at Technopolis in Mechelen, Belgium, in 2014, science centres and museums shall assess the extent to which they have, as individual institutions and collectively, achieved the goals set out here.


8 September, 2011


ASPAC - Asia Pacific Network of Science and Technology Centres                                                         ASTC - Association of Science-Technology Centers

ECSITE - European Network of Science Centres and Museums                                                                NAMES - North African and Mediterranean Network of Science Centers

NCSM - National Council of Science Museums, India                                                                                 RedPOP - Network for the Popularization of Science and Technology in Latin America and the Caribbean

SAASTEC - Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centres

The Mechelen Declaration  (SCWS 2014)
Cape Town Declaration  (SCWC 2011)
Toronto Declaration
Kuala Lumpur Resolution  

Home About Us Members Conferences News Links Resources Vacancies