Innovative Torun ‘Centre for Modernity’ promotes science as an interactive educational project

Exhibitions with more than 70 showpieces, the longest Foucault’s pendulum in Poland and science labs open for everyone – this is the offer of newly created Torun ‘Centre for Modernity’ based in a fully renovated 19th century mill.

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Since its opening in November 2013 the centre has already been visited by almost 100 000 people. © Centrum Nowoczesności Młyn Wiedzy (Torun Centre for Modernity) Since its opening in November 2013 the centre has already been visited by almost 100 000 people. © Centrum Nowoczesności Młyn Wiedzy (Torun Centre for Modernity)

" The Centre for Modernity is a unique place which combines education and training with a start-up atmosphere. In addition to exhibition space, Torun Technological Incubator was also created to stimulate the level of innovation among small and medium businesses based in the area. All these initiatives increase the attractiveness of the area and stimulate the local job market, serving long-term development. "

Magdalena Dzierżak, main specialist in the Department of Development and European Funds in Torun Municipal Office

The EU co-funded project not only gives a unique opportunity for education and training in an exceptional old cereal silo, but also improves the attractiveness of the historical part of Torun city centre.

Stimuli for development

Until recently, the 19th century city mills based in the ‘old’ side of town were completely destroyed. The project has given them ‘new shine’ and purpose. An old industrial complex has been beautifully renovated and turned into a multimedia science centre - “The mill of knowledge” – a temple of innovation, modernity and technology.

The main goal of the project conducted by local authorities was to bring a big part of the historical city centre back to life. Reports showed that the amount of buildings requiring renovation was much higher than in other parts of the city, and inhabitants were more threatened by social exclusion.

By performing the hardest part of revitalisation with the use of EU funding, local authorities have managed to create a stimuli for further development in this area.

Education first

The creation of innovative, educational space through “The mill of knowledge” was meant to add an interactive and empirical dimension to education provided in local schools. This was an answer to a low quality of technical education in the region and a low percentage of youth choosing engineering and science studies.

The goal of the centre is also to popularise modern forms of learning among teachers. Kids or youth who visits the centre not only explore exhibitions but can also take part in interactive workshops and conduct their own experiments to learn about science, technology, society and culture in a more engaging way.

The centre is based in two 7-floor former grain silos and a former rye mill. Altogether the centre has more than 5 000 square meters – five science labs, three exhibition premises, conference room and offices. A big parking with spots for coach busses was also built around the buildings.

Good practices

Since its opening in November 2013, the centre has had almost 100 000 visitors. Every year around 1 000 events take place there. Twenty-five permanent jobs have been created as a result of the project.

The revitalisation was conducted under the supervision of the Historic Buildings Conservator. In May 2013 the project was picked as an example of good practices in the “Evaluation of the impact of revitalization projects conducted within Operational Programme Kujawsko-Pomorskie on the improvement of social and economical living conditions of local communities”.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Torun Centre for Modernity” is 20 666 188 PLN (approximately EUR 4 900 000), of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing 13 433 011 PLN (approximately EUR 3 199 000) from the Operational Programme “Kujawsko-Pomorskie” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date