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A Worldwide Celebration: International Science Center and Science Museum Day

From Dimensions
2016 Year in Review

ISCSMD_2016_MapOn November 10, 2016, the world celebrated the first International Science Center and Science Museum Day (ISCSMD). More than 300 institutions in 58 countries on six continents used it as an opportunity to recognize and support the critically important global UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the world’s nations in 2015.

A small sample of activities at institutions around the world includes

  • science shows and experiments at the Hefei Science and Technology Museum in Hefei, China (supporting SDG #4, Quality Education)
  • popular science talks and contests on health and hygiene at the District Science Centre in Tirunelveli, India (supporting SDG #3, Good Health and Well-Being)
  • animal talks on the Cape vulture and the African savanna elephant at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, South Africa (supporting SDG #15, Life on Land)
  • a fair with sessions, demonstrations, exhibitors, and workshops focused on clean energy resources at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s Planetarium Science Center in Alexandria, Egypt (supporting SDG #7, Affordable and Clean Energy)
  • exhibitions, debates, and events reflecting on sustainable, smart cities at the Pavilion of Knowledge–Ciência Viva in Lisbon, Portugal (supporting SDG #11, Sustainable Cities and Communities)
  • an ecosystem ecologist headlining events at the Exploration Place in Prince George, British Columbia, Canada (supporting SDG #14, Life Below Water)
  • design challenges, fiber arts activities, and more at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, North Carolina (supporting SDG #9, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure)
  • a conference of young people committed to the environment at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Buenos Aires, Argentina (supporting SDG #13, Climate Action)
  • a new exhibition about the Sustainable Development Goals themselves, highlighting their relevance to individuals’ daily lives, at Questacon—The National Science and Technology Centre in Canberra, Australia.

(Read more about science centers’ work to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals.)

ISCSMD also included a high-level forum of science center leaders and experts from outside the field at the Paris headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between UNESCO and ASTC by ASTC Board Chair Linda Conlon and UNESCO Director of Science Policy and Capacity Building Romain Murenzi. Outcomes of this forum will form an important part of the Science Centre World Summit 2017, to be hosted by the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) in Tokyo, November 15–17.

The day also saw the unveiling of the ISCSMD Global Experiment, a worldwide citizen science project that enlisted the help of science center and science museum visitors around the world in capturing images of clouds from the ground. With partners from the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program and NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio, participating institutions and their patrons helped collect and visualize cloud data that climate scientists can use to help understand images taken by satellites above in outer space.

You can watch videos of ISCSMD events at Csopa Science Center in Budapest, Hungary; the Mind Museum, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines; Palais des Sciences de Monastir in Tunisia; Petrosains, the Discovery Centre, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and TELUS World of Science Edmonton in Alberta, Canada. Follow the day’s events on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using #ISCSMD.

ISCSMD was a collaboration among UNESCO, the International Council of Museums (ICOM), and these global and regional networks of science engagement institutions: Asia Pacific Network of Science and Technology Centres (ASPAC), ASTC, European Network of Science Centres and Museums (Ecsite), North Africa and Middle East Science centers network (NAMES), India’s National Council of Science Museums (NCSM), Red de Popularización de la Ciencia y la Tecnología en América Latina y el Caribe (RedPOP), and Southern African Association of Science and Technology Centres (SAASTEC).

ISCSMD 2017 will take place on Friday, November 10.