Changes in the On the move gallery

In 2015, five years after the start of the Copernicus Science Centre, the time came to make some changes, i.e. extensive Modernisation works inspired by your expectations and our desire to improve. On the Move, which was among the most frequently visited exhibitions in our centre, was also the first exhibition to undergo refinement. The new On the Move exhibition in its modernised form has been open since March 2016.

Excellent precision, optimal conditions for experimentation

The interactive exhibits that you will see in the new On the Move exhibition will amaze you with their precision and give you the opportunity to experiment more freely. Some of them were built independently in our workshop. Certain existing exhibits were refurbished and brought up-to-date. Others were bought from the best designers in the world. The new On the Move exhibits are easier to use and more intuitive. 

The new gallery provides more opportunities for visitors to conduct hands-on experiments and draw their own conclusions – perhaps even discovering more than the designers have anticipated. We created a space where everyone can make discoveries. We kept the use of multimedia to a minimum,

since we feel that constant exposure to electronic stimuli is causing people to start to miss real experiences. It is rare that we stop to admire the beauty of nature and ponder the workings of natural phenomena. Our exhibits speak for themselves. They allow our visitors to search, scrutinise and sometimes make mistakes – and genuinely experience the principles of the natural world.

Grouped exhibits

We are striving to improve not just individual exhibits but also the logical structure of the entire space. The new On the Move area was divided into three thematic groups. They gather exhibits that present a given phenomenon from many sides, which helps combine various themes and is conducive to better remembering and understanding complex phenomena. For example, finding common denominator for water waves, sound waves, light waves and even Mexican waves (created by audiences at sports events) is not easy. However, by conducting dozens of experiments, you can see different examples and begin to understand the phenomenon on a more complex level – something which is impossible to achieve by simply reading textbook definitions.

“We are not fond of traditional divisions into maths, physics, the humanities and so on. While many people learn quickly by repetition, we do get very bored when, for instance, we have to write out the same thing a hundred times. Each of our exhibits provides new stimuli while also invoking things visitors learned at an earlier experimental station,” says Anna Lipińska, Director of Exhibitions. “And we don’t think it’s possible to highlight each and every aspect of a specific phenomenon in a single exhibit.”

The method of grouping exhibits will be implemented gradually for all our exhibitions.

Simplified aesthetics

Previously, the exhibits were more massive and brightly coloured; now they are all lighter and encased in plywood with elements of steel, glass and Plexiglas. The author of the concept is Emilia Walędzik, designer of the entire gallery. “We wanted the exhibition to calm down so that the visitors can focus on the content, rather than form, of the exhibit. Hence the minimum number of materials. Those materials we did use are familiar and tactile, rather than modern and surprising. There are already enough stimuli.” explains the designer. “We didn’t want the exhibition to look like a playground or a school physics lab.”

All levers and buttons are now yellow, making it easier to navigate each exhibit. The instructions were also updated to be more transparent, they start with an illustrated guide, followed by a description of each phenomenon.

Some exhibits are the same as in the previous exhibition, simply with a new casing – e.g. “Fountains in Glass”, which demonstrates acoustic vibrations, used to be bright green. Some had to be separated (e.g. Light and Sound and Mouth Radio, which were previously placed too close and interfered with one another). Others required technical modifications.


Much of the Copernicus building is light and airy. This means that galleries are very bright in spring and summer. However, certain exhibits need to be presented in the dark. Now, at the centre of the gallery, there is a blue pavilion resembling the distinctive shape of the Heavens of Copernicus Planetarium. The interior is shrouded in dusk and holds exhibits which need to be operated in darkness, such as the fog chamber, which is most striking when viewed in the dark.

“Before, when the gallery was filled with dazzling colours, it was difficult for visitors to work out which part of the exhibition they were at.” says Anna Lipińska, Director of Exhibitions. “The blue structure serves as an orientation point.”

Resting zones to help visitors recuperate

We created a resting zone in the exhibition space, where visitors can stop and take a break before carrying on. “We have been observing our guests and drawing conclusions.” stresses Anna Lipińska. “We noticed that visitors, especially younger children, like gathering in a designated space. Now they can sit down on benches or carpets in different shades of blue. They can take a breather or have a look at books from the library.”

First stage of the modernisation of the entire Copernicus exhibition space

We started the evolution of our exhibitions by modernising the new On the Move exhibition in 2015-2016. As a result of the changes carried out in 2018, the whole floor will be a single visually and thematically cohesive space devoted to man and nature.