Where will it be located?
Several different locations could potentially host the Bridge Museum, particularly areas of strong trans-border cooperation. After discussions with several regions, as well as the “fit” with the Museum’s ethos, we are pursuing the Bay Area in California as the location for the proof of concept exhibition.
Will there be permanent collection?
The approach is to concentrate on a temporary exhibition only, which is easier to mount, costs significantly less, as well as reduce need for storage space.
What will be in the Museum?
The Museum will host a number of temporary exhibitions, which will have a range of media, including photographs, blueprints, video, sculpture, models and games.
What is the Museum’s approach?
The Museum will be a science and technology centre and focus a great deal on the engineering aspects of bridges, with a high degree of interactivity. Its target audience will be school-aged children, but be accessible to both a technical and non-technical audience, young and old. Less Museum and more Experience.
What is the Dialogue Center?
The Bridge Museum intends to create a Dialogue Center to host diplomats, government, the private sector and the general public in conflict management and promote non-violent ways to reduce conflict. The scope will be targeted – large scale on an international basis, or more concentrating on bridge building within the community.
The Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue, active in the Balkans and the Middle East and a proponent of shared socieities, has agreed to run the Dialogue Center. Dr. Steinar Bryn of the Nansen Center is a member of the Bridge Museum’s Advisory Council and advising on the realisation of the Dialogue Center.
Does the world need a Bridge Museum that looks at both structural and conceptual bridges?
Yes. The concept of the Bridge is one of the most overreaching and permanent concepts in our world today. It covers not only the structures that people cross on a daily basis, but also to important concepts like social cohesion in an increasingly globalizing world. While there are several exhibitions around bridges in the world today, none looks at bridges in their entirety, from the technical to their socio-economic impact.
Won’t it be difficult to unite both structural and conceptual?
Many in the engineering field underestimate the impact that they have on uniting people through structural bridges. It is also important that these social aspects of bridge building are examined. In addition, with the increasing demand for technical jobs in the future, the Bridge Museum will hopefully appeal to and inspire the next generation of structural engineers. Conceptual bridges are increasingly being discussed, mostly through social cohesion issues – integrating minorities in countries or considering post-conflict approaches towards peace and reconciliation.
Why the current strategy of a proof of concept?
Many museums are simply founded, hire an architect and filled with a collection. Many of these projects are not economic and soon run into significant financial difficulties. The chosen path of a proof of concept is to test the model to understand if there is sufficient interest and community demand. We hope that the six-month proof of concept (3,000-4,000 square feet) will lead to the extension, expansion and potential scaling up of the Bridge Museum to other cities, where historical bridges sit astride divided communities.
What support do you have ?
The Bridge Museum has an Advisory Council made up of leading bridge building experts, including:
- Dr. Steinar Bryn - Senior Advisor of the Norwegian-based Nansen Centre for Peace and Dialogue, multiple nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.
- Dr. Fania Davis - Executive Director, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth
- TY Lin International – Bay Area-based global bridge engineering firm
- Donald MacDonald - architect of the Bay Bridge’s New East Span, responsible for significant upgrades at the Golden Gate Bridge and an extensive US portfolio
- Secretary Norman Mineta – former Secretary of Transport and a WWII Japanese American “internee”
- Luis Rodriguez - writer and poet laureate of Los Angeles, recognised for his activism in social justice
In addition, the Bridge Museum has engaged extensively in the Bay Area with the private sector, community based organizations and local government officials. The Museum’s governing body is the Board, which includes
- Jamey Gottlieb, Senior Director, Strategic Business Development, Sony
- Khuram Hussain, CEO, Fileboard
- Ami Tseng, former Director of Marketing and Brand, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
- Richard Dion, Executive Director