Environmental Awareness: What Can Science Centers Do?

November 15th, 2003 - Posted in 2003, Dimensions by Christina Jones

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November/December 2003

In a 2004 report, Complex Environmental Systems: Synthesis for Earth, Life, and Society in the 21st Century, the National Science Foundation identifies understanding of the relationships among people, ecosystems, and the biosphere as key to meeting environmental challenges. We cannot begin to solve problems like climate change, degradation of freshwater resources, loss of biodiversity, and the globalization of disease, the report says, until we become aware of the “footprint of human activity.” Efforts by science centers and museums to help visitors (and their own staffs) see that footprint more clearly are the subject of this issue.

• A Sustainable Strategy: Tracking the Triple Bottom Line, by Nancy Stueber
• A Children’s Museum Goes Green: The Path to LEED Certification, by Paul Pearson
• Walking the walk: Conservation Practices at an Environmental Science Center, by Sally Anne Giedrys and Janet Sefton
• Sustainable Development at NMSI, by Scott Butler
Environmental Guidelines for Exhibit Design, by Kathleen McLean
• What’s Reasonable to Expect? Gauging Visitors’ Grasp of Conservation Messages, by Jeff Hayward
• Changing Minds: Learning Outcomes in Environmental Education, by Kirsten Ellenbogen, Martin Storksdieck and Joe Heimlich
• Activing Locally: Community-Based Conservation Programming, by Donna Murray, Cheryl D. McCallum and Joaquin Fargas

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Why Staff Development Matters

September 15th, 2003 - Posted in 2003, Dimensions by Christina Jones

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September/October 2003

In these challenging times, when some ASTC members are revising old strategic plans and others are formulating new ones, it’s important to remember the one great resource that all science centers—large or small, new or established—have in common: our people. The success of any plans we make depend on how well we nurture the skills, look for the potential, and engage the creative power of everyone who works in our institutions. In this issue, we look at how some science centers are doing just that.

• It’s All in Their Heads: Capturing and Building Intellectual Capital, by Lynn Row
• Growing Our Own: The Science Center Ladder, by Preeti Gupta
• Staff Training at Maloka, by Elizabeth Hoyos
• Best People, Best Practices: A Development Strategy for Success, by Geoffrey Snowdon and Harison Yusoff
Advancing Each Other: Lessons from the ASTC RAPs, by Carolyn Sutterfield and Sally Middlebrooks
• Outside the Box: Staff Redeployment as a Strategic Tool, by Larry Bell
• Learning to Speak ‘School’: A Part-Time Program for Museum Educators, by Bronwyn Bevan
• Learning on the Job, by Carolyn Sutterfield

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Lifelong Learners: Reaching Adult Audiences

July 15th, 2003 - Posted in 2003, Dimensions by Christina Jones

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July/August 2003

Are science centers just for kids? If that’s the perception our visitors have, we may be missing out on an important audience: adult learners. With populations in many countries aging as well as diversifying, and with funders increasingly emphasizing “lifelong learning” in their grant criteria, the opportunity is obvious. In this issue, we look at some existing programs and exhibitions and consider the elements of successful adult programming.

• What About the Grown-Ups? The Changing Landscape of Science Center Programming, by Laura Sturmfels and Carey Tisdal
Coffee and Conversation: Building Relationships through Adult Programming, by Joan L. Parrett
• Senior Afternoons at GLSC, by Carolyn Sutterfield
• Adult Museum Programs: A Taxonomy of Learning Outcomes, by Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer and Robert A. Fellenz
• A “Lifelong Learning” Reading List
• Hot Topics: Planning a Successful Lecture Program, by Carol Cochran
• Starstruck: Lifelong Learning and the Carnegie Science Center, by John G. Radzilowicz
• Lifelong Learners: A Global Phenomenon
• Sharing “Secrets”: Creating Exhibition Content for Adults, by Christine Reich

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A Matter of Scale: Fitting a Science Center to Its Community

May 15th, 2003 - Posted in 2003, Dimensions by Christina Jones

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May/June 2003

Is bigger always better? Is smaller smarter? Or is size merely one aspect of a larger strategic question: How can we best scale our science center to its community and resources? In this issue we examine the implications of expansion, and learn how different science centers have overcome a variety of constraints—a small staff, limited space, outdated exhibits, a tight budget, a depressed local economy—to establish a significant presence for their institutions.

• If We Build It, Will They Come? A Study of Attendance Change after Expansion, by Amy Gilligan and Jan Allen
• To Expand or Not to Expand: Addressing the Question, by Charlie Trautmann
Economies of Scale: Lessons from Successful Small Museums, by Mark Sinclair
• The Little Science Center That Could: A Tale of Appropriate Growth, by Gail R. Becker
• TEAMing Up: Collaborating for Leveraged Success in Exhibitions, by Kate Bennett and Debra A. Jacobson
• Science in an Urban Enterprise Zone: Bringing New Opportunities to Naples, by Luigi Amodio

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Sun, Wind, & Water: The Promise of Science Parks

March 15th, 2003 - Posted in 2003, Dimensions by Christina Jones

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March/April 2003

What began in India as a “curtain raiser” for a new science center has taken on a life of its own. Around the world, ASTC members are discovering the attractions of science parks—those carefully designed outdoor exhibit areas that combine whole-body play with informal science learning. What makes them so popular? How do you go about designing one? What codes and standards apply? How does outdoor learning differ from what goes on inside the science center? What is the next step in outdoor facilities? These questions and more guide this issue on the “promise of science parks.”

Natural Attractions: Implementing Your Science Park, by Ronen Mir
• Roofed by Sky: How Settings Shape Science Parks, by Saroj Ghose, Roni Ashkenazi, Judy Malkosh and Mikko Myllykoski
• Outdoor Exhibits: Thinking Outside the Fence, by Stephen Pizzey
• Landscape as Exhibit: The Science Park at Montshire Museum, by David Goudy
• Resources for Science Parks
• Mind, Body, and Spirit: The Benefits of Outdoor Learning, by Eugene G. Maurakis
• Design for Playing: Safety and Substance in Outdoor Exhibit Areas, by Joan Krevlin
• Open to Everyone: Making BioQuest Accessible, by Roy Griffiths
• Freedom and Ownership: The Berkeley Adventure Playground, by Katherine Ziff

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