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2014 Leading Edge Award Recipients

Two ASTC-member science museums and three science center leaders received Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards on October 18, during ASTC’s Annual Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience
Awarded to the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois, for Future Energy Chicago, a unique, participatory experience designed to deepen guests’ understanding of how energy works in the real world. The centerpiece is a multi-player simulation game in which teams collaborate and compete to create an energy-efficient future for the city of Chicago. Future Energy Chicago is centered on the social experience; engaging, inspiring, and sparking dialogue amongst users while reflecting the idea that addressing our energy challenges requires our collective effort.

Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience
Awarded to Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre, Vantaa, for Heureka Goes Crazy, the first interactive science centre exhibition about mental health. The exhibition aims to decrease the stigma connected to mental health problems and to encourage visitors to take care of their own mental health. It was developed together with scientists and professionals, as well as with peer experts. The approach is multidisciplinary, and art has been widely used as a means to offer multiple entry points to the topic. The marketing campaign, where Heureka’s own staff pose with the “crazy goggles,” adds another layer to the experience, dealing with a taboo topic in an encouraging way.

Leading Edge Award for Experienced Leadership in the Field (Non-CEO)
Awarded to Dr. Judy Brown, senior vice president, education, Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, Miami, Florida, who has made major contributions to the field through development and evaluation of innovative educational programming, and plays a leadership role nationally in bringing resources of the informal science education community to the K-12 educational reform movement. Her recent work in gender equity in STEM builds on her 25 years at the Museum, where she has built a continually evolving education department focused on in-depth, multi-year programming that strengthens the workforce by providing equitable access to new technologies, implementing strategies to engage girls in STEM, developing early childhood science curriculum, and building capacity of informal and formal educators.

Leading Edge Award for Experienced Leadership in the Field (Non-CEO)
Awarded to Eric Siegel, director and chief content officer, New York Hall of Science, Queens, who was president of the National Association of Museum Exhibitions and is on the graduate faculty at New York University in the Museum Studies and ITP program. He has developed exhibitions and programs like Human + and False Conviction that connect science to humanitarian social goals. He leads a large and diverse team of researchers, designers, and educators to create large-scale exhibition and digital experiences. He also has led the integration of the maker movement with the ISE community, and published and spoken widely on a broad range of ISE topics.

Leading Edge Award for Experienced Leadership in the Field (CEO)
Awarded to Erik Jacquemyn, chief executive officer, Technopolis, the Flemish Science Centre, Mechelen, Belgium, who brought the international science centre field together in the high-level Science Centre World Summit 2014, an achievement of global impact. While the long term effects of the World Summit will be measured in the next three years, some outcomes are already known that point to the impact of his leadership in engaging the world science centre organizations and his staff and volunteers to bring this new vision of a world meeting to fruition. In total, 464 participants—no less than 38 percent came from outside the science centre field—attended the Summit, bringing together the leadership of the science centre field with leaders of international science and governmental organizations, scientists, astronauts, Nobel laureates, even the King of Belgium. Jacquemyn has been called a leader with a sense of perfection, a person who is passionate and creative and committed to advance the field globally.