Behind the scenes of the exhibition 'Made in Space'

In February 2018 the Tycho Brahe Planetarium in Copenhagen opened the new exhibition Made in Space. Made in Space is an exhibition about astrophysics and is situated in the central part of the exhibition area. The exhibition was funded by a donation from the A.P. Møller Foundation.


A key element of the exhibition design has been inclusion, and through the entire development process, PhD student Line Nicolaisen with supervisor Dr. Marianne Achiam from Institute of Science Didactics, Copenhagen University, worked with non-users of the Tycho Brahe Planetarium in order to create a more inclusive exhibition. This approach is apparent in both the science, the design and the story.





By working with researchers, it was possible to stay updated on the most current topics. A number of researchers from Danish and International universities provided scientific content, helped proofread texts, and were part of workshops throughout the entire exhibition development. Early on in the process it was decided that the exhibition would contain current research and topics, and that astrophysics would be treated as natural phenomena and not through the eyes of space technology which is often the case.


From Big Bang to humans, ended up being a working title. And the narrative focused on how all elements that make up the human body originally formed in space - some shortly after Big Bang, some inside stars and the heaviest in supernova and kilonova explosions.


In all installations real, scientific data has been used, and real scientific simulations have been incorporated in the films and interactives. So, everything the audience meet in the exhibition is based on the newest research done from national and international research institutions.


The exhibition has been designed in collaboration with London-based company 59-productions. In the design, an emphasis was made on overwhelming aesthetics to appeal to emotions and visual senses. Using impressive projections and interactives that involve the audience in the story, became a key part in the finished design, which are an integrated part of the architecture.


All installations have been designed specifically to this exhibition.





When the visitor enters the exhibition, they are met by an introduction area, here they engage with a Kinect installation telling the overall story – that they are made by elements from the Universe. Five elements are used to describe different aspects of a human body, these are Hydrogen, Carbon, Oxygen, Iron and Zinc. These five elements are linked to specific functions in eg cells, blood or DNA.


When exiting the introduction area, visitors enter the central hall where the they can revisit the elements and see where the elements originally formed. Here they can dive into stories about Big Bang, Dark Matter, Galaxies, Star formation, Stellar evolution, Supernovae, Black holes and more. 


The last part of the exhibition is focused on what life is and needs to thrive. Here we talk about the diversity of life, our own planet and exoplanets. 




In June 2018 the Tycho Brahe Planetarium received the Mariano Gago Ecsite Award for Sustainable Success at the annual Ecsite conference. The award were given due to the inclusion work, that has been a big part of the design of the exhibition. The head of the Jury Sharon Ament, Director of Museum of London said that: "The Planetarium and its team went out of their comfort zone in choosing a non-traditional, personal angle for a permanent astronomy exhibition and in working with external designers with little science communication experience - but a great sense of aesthetics and emotional design.".