MUMA is the Museum of Mathematics – which is currently a Virtual Museum residing on this web site. However, we have plans for this to become a physical museum when the time is right.
The Mission of MUMA
Our mission is to create and sustain an enduring legacy of mathematical knowledge and objects to provide an authentic source for the benefit of learners, teachers, researchers, and the general public.
Our work is structured into the following key programmes, each of which has the purpose of accumulating physical items and knowledge. Our initial focus is on providing a resource for school-level mathematics, and over time this will extend to include the more specialised and advanced domains of mathematics.
- Calculating equipment : equipment which has the purpose of performing calculations, such as slide rules, mechanical calculators, electronic calculators, and computers
- Measuring equipment : equipment which has the purpose of determining some measurement of units, such as rulers, scales, sextants, etc…
- Educational materials : materials and equipment which is used for mathematics education, such as blocks, posters, sticks, …
- Mathematics in nature : specific natural specimens which show mathematical properties, such as can be found in geology and biology.
- Textbooks : a collection of textbooks as used throughout history, from the original mathematical textbook (Euclid’s Elements) up to the modern day. This will also include born-digital texts.
- General mathematical library: a library of non-textbook mathematical texts including both published works, articles, and reviews.
- Repository of examination papers : a repository of historical examination papers from various examination authorities.
- Repository of mathematical problems: a repository of mathematical problems which have been used in the past for various assessment purposes such as summative, baseline, formative, and diagnostic.
- Repository of curriculum statements : a historical repository of curriculum statements, showing the differences between them as curriculum policy changes.
- Repository of mathematical images: a collection of digital/digitised images which illustrate mathematical content.
- Thesaurus of mathematical terms and notations : the purpose of this programme is to provide a reference point for all words and notations used in mathematical descriptions, and to support discourse on definitions and meanings.
- Famous mathematical expressions and equations : theorems form an important core of mathematics and some theorems such as Pythagoras’ theorem are well known by everything who studies mathematics.
- Biographies and collections of South African mathematicians : building up biogaphical information on local mathematicians, and seeking donations from mathematicians and from their estates.
- Mathematical jokes : which often highlight deep mathematical principles.
- Mathematics in the media: in which mathematics is used as the basis for specific media such as movies (such as Sneakers, in which the code-breaking pursuits of the “ethical hackers” was introduced).
- Mathematics in industry: how mathematics is used throughout the various industries and the role that mathematics plays. This includes secrecy in digital communications (code-making and code-breaking), finance, engineering, space travel, natural sciences, architecture, design, and almost every industrial sector and discipline of knowledge.
The previous two programme structures are focused on collecting of physical and knowledge items.
There are other programmes which are focused on activities which are needed to maintain the collections and to make these available.
- Physical Home: conceptualising, designing, and developing a permanent home for the physical Museum of Mathematics
- Physical Exhibitions: creating physical exhibitions, including both permanent and temporary exhibitions.
- Mobile Exhibitions: creating exhibitions which can move from place to place, such as to schools and communities, to provide access to the collections
- Virtual Exhibitions: creating online exhibitions which are accessible over the Internet
- Storage and Conservation: ensuring best-practice storage and ongoing conservation of the physical items
- Digital Repository: ensuring that all of the digital content is maintained in
- Events: events which are related to commemorations, and to significant world events, in which mathematics plays a part. For example, the role that mathematics played in the ending of the Second World War, which has just had its 70th anniversary.
- Educational Support: specific support for the educators, learners, and schools, in using the collections to enhance teaching and learning and mathematical appreciation and literacy.
- Relationships: building up relationships with all other institutions and individuals who are working towards the vision of a more mathematically-literate society.
MUMA provides support to various types of users:
- School-level learners: provide a source of information to help with mathematics research, and access to useful resources.
- School mathematics teachers: providing access to sources of educational materials for re-use as well as past examination papers.
- Researchers in mathematics education: access to a large repository of authentic and trusted information.
- Curriculum developers / policy makers: providing access to information to assist with the development of curricula and policy for mathematics education.
- Assessors / examiners: providing access to useful resources of prior examinations and questions to assist with creating valid and reliable assessments.