Old photos of various people in suits standing beside one another at the opening of a building. Text reads Questacon-Japan Relationship 1988.

2014 Science Circus Tour of Japan

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Logo: 2014 Science Circus Tour Japan

The 2014 Science Circus Tour of Japan is an exciting opportunity for the people of Japan to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Questacon, Australia's National Science and Technology Centre.

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre of Australia, in partnership with The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) and supported by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australia-Japan Foundation, is touring science shows and a travelling exhibition through Japan in April and May 2014.

  • Tokyo: 24 – 27 April
  • Minamisanriku, Miyagi: 30 April – 4 May
  • Morioka, Iwate: 7 – 11 May
  • Kuji, Iwate: 14 – 18 May
  • Misawa, Aomori: 21 – 25 May

The tour is an expression of friendship and gratitude for Japan’s role in Questacon’s establishment and commemorates Questacon’s 25th Anniversary year.  The tour also recognises Japanese contributions towards the establishment of Questacon and strengthens ongoing collaborative involvement with a number of science centres across Japan.

Science communicators from Questacon, Miraikan and Scitech (Perth) are delivering science shows developed for the tour in Japanese schools and communities in the Tōhoku region of north-eastern Japan.

The tour also includes an engaging and free public exhibition. With over 30 hands-on science exhibits this exhibition accommodates all ages and interests and will appear at the following venues:

At the conclusion of the tour the exhibition will be gifted to participating venues and communities in legacy of Questacon’s lasting gratitude and relationship with the Government of Japan, Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) and people of Tōhoku.

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre

Two men in suits shaking hands and standing in front of three vertical banner signs that are headed 2014 Science Circus Tour and Australian Government.

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre is Australia’s largest interactive science centre and an international contributor fostering public engagement with science, technology and innovation.

Questacon’s science communication model is based on the proven educational value of hands-on activities supported by face-to-face science demonstrations. Questacon creates and fosters informal learning environments that underpin more structured learning environments in schools.


In September 1980, Questacon began as a project of the Australian National University (ANU), in an unused space at Ainslie Public School, Canberra. The name ‘Questacon’ combines two words—‘quest’ meaning ‘to discover’ and ‘con’ meaning ‘to study’. Staffed by volunteers, Questacon first opened with 15 exhibits.

A group of men all in suits standing in front of a wall with information on it and the sign Questacon at the top.

By the mid-1980s Questacon evolved to achieve national recognition. Today Questacon is Australia’s largest science centre and is prominent among the world’s leading science centres.

Currently, over 9 million people have visited Questacon in Canberra. Another 18 million people have been inspired by engaging with travelling exhibitions, outreach and other national and international programmes.

Over the past 25 years Questacon has welcomed many eminent and distinguished guests – notably Their Imperial Highnesses of Japan Crown Prince of Japan Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako who visited Questacon in 2002.

On 23 November 2013 Questacon celebrated 25 years as Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre.

Japan’s 1988 Bicentennial Gift

Two men and a woman standing at a building entrance and performing to a group of seated school childeren.

Questacon’s rise to its current position of national and international prominence as a leading science centre is founded on the legacy and generosity of the Government of Japan and Keidanren.

The Government of Japan and the Keidanren gifted Australia half the cost of establishing The National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra. This gift for the Government and people of Australia recognised Australia’s 1988 Bicentennial Anniversary. This year signifies the 25th Anniversary of this legacy.

Over the past 25years Questacon has developed relationships with several Japanese science centres. Notably, since first signing a Friendship Agreement in 2000, Questacon has been closely associated with the National Museum of Science and Nature. Likewise, since 2002 Questacon has worked on a number of international projects with The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan). Questacon has also collaborated with a number of Japanese science centres and institutions to deliver projects to help further engage the people of Australia and Japan in science activities. The 2014 Science Circus Tour of Japan is the latest milestone in Questacon’s collaboration with Japanese science centres.

Media Launch

Two men in dark suits standing and smiling in front of a sign that says 'Marquetry No. 744 - Virtual Curves by Michael D Retter OAM'

On Wednesday 19 March the Science Circus Tour of Japan was launched at Questacon. Chair of the Australia–Japan Foundation, and Former Australian Ambassador to Japan, Mr Murray McLean AO, spoke at the launch  of the importance of the Australia–Japan relationship and Questacon’s contribution to international science diplomacy between Australia and Japan.

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