The Confederation Bridge, Canada

The Confederation Bridge, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Canada

“Of all the things that man in his drive for life erects and builds, nothing is, to my mind, better or more valuable than bridges.” – Ivo Andrić

Our mission is to share bridge building techniques that promote tolerance and understanding in our society.

Our vision is a more tolerant society in which difference is respected, diversity is embraced, and polarizing division is overcome.

The Bridge Museum

Bridges have meant development, trade, mobility, exchange, communication and growth for thousands of years.

The Bridge Museum’s vision rests partly with the above Andric quote as one of the most important things that man creates. With increasing frequency, bridge construction projects are stretching the rules of engineering and flexing their architectural and design muscle. These construction projects are not only connecting people, goods and services but also directly contributing to a closer understanding and better relationship with “the other side”. Equally important to the structural bridges is the increasing attention that governments and society at large are paying to building conceptual bridges within societies. The issue of peace and reconciliation, as well as that of social cohesion within countries, is receiving significant attention among policymakers. The Bridge Museum hopes to bridge the structural and the conceptual, acting as a focus to better understand “the other” in our daily lives.

Why?

The last several years has brought significant policy debate surrounding “bridge building” among societies. While these initiatives should be lauded, many are headline grabbing and focus too little on the concept of building lasting bridges within societies.

Where?

A number of cities and locations could possibly host the Bridge Museum, ranging from the world class to melting pots, those rebuilt, and those to have been occupied or governed by multiple countries.

What’s in it?

The Museum’s contents could range from models, photos, blueprints, drawings, journal entries and video archives for structural bridges. Exhibitions around conceptual bridges (using peace and reconciliation in South Africa as an example) could have a number of interviews, historical clips and various other graphics to map out that process in Post-Apartheid South Africa. A strong aspect of interactivity and creativity (including a children’s area) would be available to better understand both structural and conceptual bridges.

Museum or “Erlebnis”?

The term “museum” brings up connotations of permanent collections, large storage spaces (usually under 5% of a museum’s pieces are on display) and millions of whatever currency. The Bridge Museum’s approach is half art, half pop, devised for couples, families, in short anyone from young to old. The better term for it is probably the German “Erlebnis” – Experience, where one can experience the structural and the conceptual. As it does have a strong engineering and technical angle, the Museum would likely be classed as a science and technology centre. Indeed, not many museums have the arts, politics, geography, engineering, history and sociology under one roof.