Performing Science: The Once and Future Science Show

ASTC Dimensions CoverMarch/April 2007

Historically, showmanship and science have been a popular combination in science centers. More than 91 percent of ASTC-member museums feature “classes and demonstrations” in their programming, and some of the larger museums also support a science theater program. But do these events make a lasting impression on visitors? Which techniques are most effective? How is the classic science show changing (or needing to change) to teach today’s audiences? What can science centers do to refresh their live science programs? In this issue, we look back to roots of science performance, share some research findings, and examine how some ASTC members are reinventing the science show.

• Science Demonstrations: Hot or Cool?, by Eddie Goldstein
• Performing Science: A Demo and Drama Sampler, compiled by Carolyn Sutterfield
• Agreeing on Truth: The Continuum of Science Demonstration, by Richard Toon
• Shockin’ at The Bakken, by David J. Rhees
People Presence: Why Live Demonstration Matters, by Dante Centuori
• Valued by Visitors, by Dawnne LePretre
• The Impact of Science Shows: A Research Study, by Wendy Sadler
• Animal Archive: A BIG Collaboration, by David Price
• Presenter’s Practicum: A Science Shows Workshop, by Walter Ginckels and Harri Montonen
• Staging Science: The Case for Theater in Museums, by Catherine Hughes
• Theater at the New York Hall of Science, by Marcos Stafne

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