Over a five-year period, from the academic years 1997 to 2001, the National Museum of Nature and Science conducted a study called Research on the Evaluation, Preservation and Publication of Materials on Industrial Technology. The survey was conducted under the auspices of the Industrial Technology Historical Survey Committee (chaired by Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, President of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology), drawing on contributions from private industry, academia and the public sector.
The purpose of the survey was threefold. First, it aimed to create a database of materials illustrating the development of industrial technology in Japan, including where and in what state they are housed. Second, the survey sought to organize technologies systematically and register materials, so that materials relevant to the history of industrial technology could be made available over a network. Ultimately, the survey aimed to contribute to the formation of a new academic field focused on technological innovation.
The results of this survey convinced the Industrial Technology Historical Survey Committee of the need to create a central source of information on the history of industrial technology and its future application. The Committee produced a report to this effect in August 2001 and, in June 2002, the National Museum of Nature and Science launched the Center of the History of Japanese Industrial Technology. The Center, in Tokyo's Nihombashi district, opened its doors to the public in June 2003.