More than 1,800 science center professionals from 31 countries gathered in Philadelphia, October 18–21, for the 2008 ASTC Annual Conference. Over 140 conference sessions challenged participants to explore their responsibility to both their scientific and public constituencies. Keynote speaker Steven Berlin Johnson, a journalist, cultural critic, and web developer, encouraged science centers to become places where new ideas can develop. Joe Palca, science correspondent for National Public Radio, moderated a plenary session, “The Global Discussion on Global Sustainability: Where Do Science Centers Fit In?” with panelists Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change; Lynne Cherry, author of numerous science books for young readers; and Philip C. Myrick, vice president of the New York–based Project for Public Spaces.
Dennis Wint, president and CEO of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, received the ASTC Fellow Award for Outstanding Contribution, ASTC’s highest honor. Six Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards were presented at the conference: the Award for Business Practice to the Saint Louis Science Center, Missouri; the Award for Visitor Experience, Small Science Center, to the National Canal Museum, Easton, Pennsylvania; two Awards for Visitor Experience, Large Science Center, to the Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, and the Virginia Living Museum, Newport News; the Award for New Leadership in the Field to Cynthia Graville-Smith of the Saint Louis Science Center; and the Award for Experienced Leadership in the Field to Ingit Mukhopadhyay of the National Council of Science Museums, India.
Audio recordings of most sessions can be purchased on CD from Convention Recordings International.
About the image: Conference attendees gather in the ASTC Resource Center between sessions. Photo by Christine Ruffo