OMSI wins 2007 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

November 13th, 2007 - Posted in Member News by Wendy Pollock

Students explore OMSI's USS Blueback Submarine

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has received a 2007 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the highest honor awarded by the U.S. federal government for the extraordinary public service provided by museums and libraries.

In announcing the awards on November 6, Anne-Imelda M. Radice, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), said that the award recognizes that the recipients, five museums and five libraries, “provide ground-breaking programs that respond to community challenges, serve as models for the nation’s museums and libraries, and most of all make a difference in people’s lives.” They will be honored in a special ceremony in Washington, D.C., and each will receive a $10,000 award.


“I am pleased that the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has been awarded this prestigious prize and is getting the recognition it deserves,” said U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

“For decades OMSI has been instrumental in inspiring kids and adults alike to learn about science, technology and the environment around them. Oregon has always recognized OMSI as a cultural icon, and it’s great to see it now being recognized nationally.”

“This recognition by the Institute of Museum and Library Services is confirmation of what generations of Oregon families have known for some time—that OMSI is a true national treasure,” said U.S. Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR).

IMLS is the primary source of U.S. federal funding for museums and libraries.

More about the awards

Lesley Lewis elected ASTC president

November 9th, 2007 - Posted in ASTC News, Annual Conference, Member News by Wendy Pollock

Lesley Lewis (left) takes over ASTC presidency from Wit Ostrenko

Lesley Lewis, CEO of the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, was elected president of ASTC in October during the 2007 ASTC Annual Conference in Los Angeles. The first Canadian to serve in this role, Lewis succeeds Wit Ostrenko, president of the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa, Florida.

Lewis was named CEO of the Ontario Science Centre in 1998. Under her leadership, the ambitious Agents of Change initiative has transformed the center’s public spaces and begun to extend its reach and relevance beyond its traditional audience of families and children to include teens and adults.


“The Ontario Science Centre was a founding member of ASTC in 1973 and has been an active participant ever since,” Lewis said. “ASTC is a vibrant association whose members from around the world offer rich resources for lifelong learning. Science centers provide meeting places for citizens and the research community, support schools, inspire youth, and contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of their communities. I look forward to working with, and learning from, ASTC member science centers and museums during my term as president.”In addition to her role with ASTC, Ms. Lewis chairs the International Programme Committee for the 5th Science Centre World Congress, which will be hosted by the Ontario Science Centre, June 15–19, 2008. At the invitation of the China Association for Science and Technology, she serves as a member of the International Advisory Committee for a new science and technology museum in Beijing.

Photo by Christine Ruffo

Per-Edvin Persson receives ASTC’s highest award

October 26th, 2007 - Posted in ASTC News, Annual Conference by Wendy Pollock

Pelle Persson receives the ASTC Fellow Award

ASTC presented its highest award October 13 to Per-Edvin “Pelle” Persson, director of Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre, Vantaa, Finland. A limnologist and former director of the Federation of Finnish Scientific Societies, Persson moved to the science center field in 1987 as Heureka’s director of science. Since 1991, he has served as the center’s director. Persson was recognized for his global vision and the inspiration he has offered to science center colleagues worldwide. Under his leadership, Heureka hosted the First Science Centre World Congress, in 1996. Persson also served as ASTC president from 2004 to 2005 and earlier served as president of Ecsite, the European science center network.

In accepting the ASTC Fellow Award for Outstanding Contribution, Persson spoke of science centers’ capacity to touch minds and inspire learning. Scientific knowledge is needed, he said, to help build a better world: “We need to spread the voice of reason—to advance knowledge for the good of humankind, for a healthier planet, for a more prosperous future for our children…. Only by working together can we succeed.”


Chemistry Week at the Science Museum of Virginia

October 24th, 2007 - Posted in Member News by Wendy Pollock

Celebrating Chemistry Week at the Science Museum of Virginia

On October 20, the Science Museum of Virginia welcomed hundreds of visitors to a “Science Saturday” program celebrating National Chemistry Week. Staff challenged visitors to find out why a penny shatters when it is dipped into liquid nitrogen. Volunteers helped visitors make soap and test the pH level of common household substances like baking soda and vinegar, coffee and juice. Other stations offered opportunities to analyze fingerprints, create a chromotography “butterfly,” and find out whether the smell of vanilla or mint can be detected through a balloon. Throughout the week, students and faculty from John Tyler Community College, Virginia Commonwealth University, J. Sargent Reynolds Community College, Virginia Union University, and Longwood University are participating in other chemistry programs with science museum gallery educators.


National Chemistry Week, October 2127, is an annual event coordinated in the United States by the American Chemical Society. Among the many science centers participating this year are the Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas; the Museum of Science, Boston; the New York Hall of Science, Queens; and Explora, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Photo courtesy Science Museum of Virginia

Polar scientists hit the road

October 19th, 2007 - Posted in Annual Conference, Member News by Wendy Pollock

POLAR-PALOOZA at ASTC 2007, (c) Lee Salem Photography

POLAR-PALOOZA: Stories from a Changing Planet made a preview appearance October 13 during the 2007 ASTC Annual Conference in Los Angeles. This multimedia presentation by people who know the poles best—ice researchers, geologists, oceanographers, climate scientists, biologists, and Arctic residents—will be traveling to 25 science centers and natural history museums across the United States during International Polar Year (IPY) (2007–2009). The initiative is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Presenters use high-definition video and authentic props, like a piece of ice core 2,000 years old, to bring polar research to life. During 3-day visits to each city, they will offer school programs, workshops for K-12 educators and museum volunteers, and briefings for local news media and business leaders. The NASA Museum Alliance is collaborating with POLAR-PALOOZA by extending resources like teleconferences with NASA researchers to museums not hosting the traveling show.


Science centers and museums hosting POLAR-PALOOZA during 2007:

October 19–21, 2007
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, and other locations
San Diego, California

October 22–24, 2007
New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
Albuquerque, New Mexico

October 26–28, 2007
Chabot Space and Science Center
Oakland, California

October 26–28, 2007
Lawrence Hall of Science
Berkeley, California

November 8–10, 2007
Museum of Science and Industry
Tampa, Florida

November 11–13, 2007
Fernbank Science Center
Atlanta, Georgia

November 15–17, 2007
LSU Museum of Natural Science
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

More information about POLAR-PALOOZA

Photograph copyright Lee Salem Photography

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