Micropia, a museum of microbes located in the heart of Amsterdam, uses art to address the big knowledge gap between science and the general public.
Microbiology originated just a few kilometers from Amsterdam when Antoni van Leeuwenhoek built one of the first microscopes and discovered that everyday objects, as well as himself, were teeming with minuscule forms of life.
More than 200 years after Leeuwenhoek observed microorganisms for the first time, Micropia was opened in 2014 with the aim of erasing the negative view most people have on microbes. To do so, it features art installations that reveal the most amazing facts about these tiny creatures, still unknown and feared by many.
Professor Remco Kort from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam works in collaboration with the museum and is behind exhibits like the kiss-o-meter, which shows visitors how many bacteria are exchanged during a kiss and the many benefits it can have.
This piece is part of an exhibition titled ‘Rise and shine with microbes‘, which explores the role of microorganisms in our everyday lives. Did you know that microbes living in you and on you weigh 1.5kg? That they protect your skin and teeth? That they’re necessary to make most of the ingredients in your breakfast?
With living pieces and plenty of interactive installations, these are the kind of questions that the museum answers to curious visitors of all ages.
Micropia also highlights how “microbiology can help solve global problems, from water purification to developing new ways to cure infectious diseases. Microbes can produce energy, food and bio-plastics. There is no end to their uses.”
Despite the overwhelming numbers of microorganisms that exist, this artistic space has somehow managed to include info and fun facts about all types of microbes, from bacteria and algae to the popular tardigrades or water bears: cute superhero organisms that can even survive in space.
In addition to all this, a temporary exhibition, ‘Route of extremes‘, is currently exploring extremophiles, those organisms that can live in extreme temperatures, pH or radiation. You can visit it until the 8th of January!
All media from Micropia