C. Cumino, M.L. Spreafico, U. Zich

Politecnico di Torino (ITALY)
In the last decades, the role of museums has changed: today's consumers are more demanding and informed and no longer have, with regard to cultural consumption, the passive and deferent attitude of the past; they are increasingly interested in new, creative and involving experiences.

As a consequence, we assist to a progressive development of educational and didactic activities, spread of reception services and renewal of exhibition and communication forms, with the aim of transforming the visitor from a simple viewer of content into a creator of meaning.

This is particularly evident in science and history museums, mainly because most of them allow visitors to touch science and uncover history through interactive games and attractions (see e.g. Science museum MUSE, Trento; mathematics museum "il giardino di Archimede", Firenze).

Starting from these considerations, we expose a project of interdisciplinary dissemination of scientific culture, addressed both to general public and to schools.

Our project “The King and the Origami” is the result of an experimentation conducted at the Venaria Royal Residence (Torino, Italy) from december 2014 to december 2015. During this period a set of various activities was planned and tested on numerous classes from kindergarten up to high school and also on the general public. Experimentation has therefore allowed us to share with the direct users (teachers and students) the evolution of the educational project, in order to define what we propose today to schools.

Our activities take place in parallel with the normal guided tours of the Royal Residence: local guides take care of logistics operations, introduction, historical remarks, while visitors are guided by properly trained tutors, which are students of architecture, design and visual communication, mathematics. As in the Italian schools the Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) methodology has been introduced, the visits can be also delivered on request in a foreign language.

The halls of the royal residence become classrooms, where visitors discover architectural shapes and understand their geometry; a great part of mathematical and architectural contents are conveyed through various origami modeling activities and gaming, rigorously supported by mathematics.

This way of introducing architectural elements, figures and geometric properties is intuitive, practical and unconventional and presents advantages even for people with disability (for example, visually impaired persons): visitors can produce by origami technique and touch with their hands the shapes just observed, in the spirit of "learn by doing".

The purposes of our project are not accomplished with the end of the visit: in fact schools receive educational materials to continue in their classroom the work begun at the Royal Residence and visitors of all ages get off, holding in hand not just something concrete, but also tools to look with new eyes the reality that surrounds them.

Since last year, it is possible to book this type of tours at the Royal Residence of Venaria Reale for almost all school level and general public.

Results confirm the general appreciation toward this kind of interactive visits: e. g. between March and May 2017, 29 classes participated in the visits, 14 from the first level primary school, 11 from the second level primary school and 4 from the secondary level secondary school, for a total of about 600 students.