The "Museum of Tomorrow": A place that makes you think about your own ecological footprint



The Museum of Tomorrow is a museum built in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The building, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was built next to Praça Mauá, in the modern port area of the city. It has received about 25 thousand visitors in its first weekend of operation. The museum is a postmodern, organic and sustainable construction that is currently an icon of the local and cultural identity of Rio de Janeiro. The institution's proposal is to be a museum of arts and sciences, in addition to having exhibitions that warn of the dangers of climate change, environmental degradation and social collapse.

The building has solar bones that move along the skylight, designed to adapt to changing environmental conditions. The main exhibition is mostly digital and focuses on ideas rather than objects. The museum has partnerships with important Brazilian universities and global scientific institutions and collects real-time data on climate and population from space agencies and the United Nations. The institution also has consultants from various fields, such as astronauts, social scientists and climatologists. On the roof of the building, large steel structures, which move like wings, serve as the basis for solar energy capture plates. With this, the Museum of Tomorrow seeks the “Leed”-certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Project), granted by the “Green Building Council” (USGBC).


We act - the planet reacts

The intention of the Museum of Tomorrow is to inaugurate a new generation of science museums in the world, being considered "third generation". The "first generation" of museums is focused on the vestiges of the past, such as natural history museums. The "second generation" seeks to disseminate evidence of the present, such as science and technology museums. The "third generation" is intended to expose the changes, questions and exploration of future possibilities for humanity. The visitor should become aware of his contribution to the construction of the future. It is a sensory experience, made through interactive technologies.


Five narratives lead you through the exhibition

The main exhibition was designed of Luiz Alberto Oliveira, in partnership with a team of specialized consultants. The exhibition invites the visitor to experience five great narratives: “Cosmos”, “Earth”, “Anthropocene”, “Tomorrow” and “Us”. They bring the experience of life on earth with distinct angles and temporal clippings.


  • The Cosmos shows the visitor an audiovisual work in 360 degrees. It approaches the vision that we are made of the same material as the stars, connecting with the universe and our origins.

  • The Earth-section investigates the three dimensions of existence: Matter, Life and Thought. It has the objective of making the visitor ask about the question "Who are we?".



Science tells us about trends that will shape the next decades


Anthropocene deals with how the action of man has changed the geology of the planet Earth, tracing a current panorama and bringing data on the environmental and social impacts of this clash between humans and the planet. It addresses the understanding that human activity has become a geological force: We are transforming the composition of the atmosphere, changing the climate, changing biodiversity, changing the course of rivers. All life on Earth will have to adapt to these new times full of uncertainties - and opportunities. The name "anthropocene" was taken from a term invented by Paul Crutzen, winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. The Greek prefix “anthropo” is related to the human being; and the suffix “ceno” recalls the geological eras.­







The river of time runs into a delta of possible Tomorrows

The Tomorrow-part focuses on major global trends. We are more and more people in the world, living much longer. We have giant cities and hyper-connectivity. We will live on a planet with intense changes in climate and biodiversity. We will continue to expand the frontiers of knowledge and improve technologies. How and where will we live? Visitors are invited to think about the issues of sustainability and coexistence and to interact with games, i.e. make the participants manage the resources of the planet for the next 50 years, in order to ensure the preservation of humanity.




In the ecological footprint game visitors learn what pressure personal choices cause on natural resources. The way we consume has impact on the environment. Depending on the country we live, the impact can be even greater. 





The Museum of Tomorrow - Churinga



The last section is the "Us" pavilion, where you can locate a “churinga” (a holy and meaningful tool for Aboriginal tribes), where the visitor enters a kind of hollow, or house of the indigenous peoples of Brazil, which is set with a lighting that simulates the birth and sunset of the sun. The purpose of this clipping of the exhibition is to make the visitor reflect on himself, and how his actions impact society and the planet. It proposes the engagement of the visitor in the idea that Tomorrow begins now, with the choices we make. Today is the place for action.