My short answer is a resounding YES! Looking at all of the structural bridges being built around the world, the structural seems more than possible. Several museums exist that cover bridges, treating only one bridge or cover bridges in a small way. While these are good and educational, they can be too narrow in their approach. With The Bridge Museum, I would like to take bridges to the masses, to make them accessible. Of course, they would not exist without the science behind them whether it is an Incan rope bridge or a cable-stayed bridge. However, I would like to describe in a way that is not only technical, but also brings it down a level to explain to the average visitor, so that they can really appreciate the role that bridges play in our daily lives.
Equally so, I would like to provoke within the structural engineering community thought about their own role. Yes, the structures that they build are fantastic, but the point I believe is far larger than that. They connect people, enable the exchange of ideas and goods and services and most importantly they allow an understanding of the other. That is the ethos of the Bridge Museum – to understand the “other” in our daily lives.
I could talk ad nauseam about the approach, but mostly I want to lay the foundation for the next generation of not only structural engineers, but also social scientists, politicians and community leaders and others who will be working on one of the 21st century’s most crucial issues – social cohesion.