A science museum or a science centre is a museum devoted primarily to science. Older science museums tended to concentrate on static displays of objects related to natural history, paleontology, geology, industry and industrial machinery, etc. Modern trends in museology have broadened the range of subject matter and introduced many interactive exhibits. Many if not most modern science museums - which increasingly refer to themselves as 'science centres' or 'discovery centres' - also put much weight on technology. One main aspect of science ignored in most museums is the history of the discipline. The search for knowledge is full of trials and errors but science museums hardly ever acknowledge that human frailty and mistakes go along with a history that has lasted centuries.
"...The public museum as understood today is a collection of specimens and other objects of interest to the scholar, the man of science as well as the more casual visitor, arranged and displayed in accordance with the scientific method. In its original sense, the term 'museum' meant a spot dedicated to the muses - 'a place where man's mind could attain a mood of aloofness above everyday affairs.'" — Museum of Jurassic Technology, Introduction & Background, p. 2
As early as the Renaissance, many aristocrats collected curiosities for display to their friends. Universities and particularly medical schools also maintained study collections of specimens for their students. Scientists and collectors displayed their finds in private cabinets of curiosities. Such collections were the predecessors of modern natural history museums. The Utrecht University Museum, among others, still displays an extensive collection of 18th-century animal and human "rarities" in its original setting.
Wikipedia entry on Science Museums