The Welios in Wels is a Science Center with a special theme: “Sustainabilty” or better said “Energy” and it’s minimalization of use. Actually a good idea, but unfortunately it still lacks in visitor numbers almost one year after its opening in April 2011. I couldn’t really find out what the reason is, but I will tell you my opinion about this Science Center.
First of all it really is a nice new building with spacious light flooded rooms. Even though there are many reasons to build a Science Center or an exhibition into a “black box”, I think in this case it really is an advantage for the overall setting to have natural light. Second I really like the storytelling approach. The the visitor is introduced to the inventor Joulie and his family he can explore their living environment. From the kitchen to the bathroom, the personal rooms, the surrounding mountains up the garage or the garden.
All the scenes and their specific topics are supported with lots of interactive exhibits. Many of them I already know from other Science Centers and a certain amount was developed especially for the Welios. I also like the design of the different scenes, the sketch like graphics and the use of renewable materials like wood. But then it comes to the critical point: In my opinion the curators haven’t taken enough care about the actual content. Many of the exhibits are put into a context, that the visitor can’t comprehend instantly. For example a classical exhibit which makes you experience the forces of an electrical gyroscope engine, which is hidden in a suitcase. I you lift it, and swing it around you can feel the force effecting your body. A really nice exhibit. But due to its appearance of a suitcase it is located in the mothers room with other empty suitcases, because she is travelling a lot. Of course the visitor is surpised by the behavior of the special suitcase but then the explanation in the text in my opinion is too poor. Of course is this Science Center different to Technorama for example, that has the space to display at least 7 gyroscope exhibits, but that is not my point. I would have loved to learn a bit more about the phenomenon itself and its relation to energy saving. Well… just my opinion.
So if you want to make up your own opinion and find your favorite exhibits in the Welios, plan your trip to Austria. It’s worth it! And a beautiful country anyway. And if you’d like to know more about the shown exhibits below and how they can be used, feel free to ask me. (image source)
No. 10 > Fotopoint
No. 9 > Car Repair Shop with Engine to disassemble
No. 8 > Foam Wind Engine as Giant Jigsaw
No. 7 > Velcro Kitchen Wordplay
No. 6 > Giant Kitchen Table with Digital Plate Games
No 5. > Photobooth with Printout and Mail Function
No. 4 > Echo Tube
No. 3 > Wiring Station
No. 2 > Hydrogene Rocket
No. 1 > Energy Generating Rocking Chair