Working Across Worldviews: Traditional Knowledge and Western Science

November 29th, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions by Emily Schuster

November/December 2011 DimensionsIN THIS ISSUE
November/December 2011

At the 6th Science Centre World Congress in September, science center and museum leaders from 56 countries resolved through the Cape Town Declaration to promote awareness of the value of Indigenous knowledge. In this issue, we examine how science centers and traditional and Indigenous communities are exploring commonalities and differences between traditional knowledge and Western science, building mutually respectful partnerships, and creating content that resonates with and empowers diverse communities. By championing science literacy while embracing differing worldviews, they are working toward a vision of science centers and museums as places where all voices can be heard.


Shifting Paradigms: Embracing Multiple Worldviews in Science Centers, by Laura Huerta Migus
• Collaborating with Integrity: Reflections from Cosmic Serpent, by Nancy C. Maryboy, David Begay, Laura Peticolas, Jill Stein, and Shelly Valdez
• Many Voices, One Exhibition, by Anton van Helden
Using Known Villains to Introduce Unknown Heroes, by Ramdas Iyer
• Can Indigenous Knowledge Help Communicate Science? by Mdumiseni Nxumalo
• Promoting an Understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine, by Hongzhou Wu
• Native Science Field Centers: Integrating Traditional Knowledge, Native Language, and Science, by Helen Augare and Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer

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Shifting Paradigms: Embracing Multiple Worldviews in Science Centers

November 29th, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions by Emily Schuster

By Laura Huerta Migus
From Dimensions
November/December 2011

Science centers and museums fill a unique community role as centers of learning, research, entertainment, and community congregation. Beyond teaching scientific concepts, the underlying motivation for all science center activities is promoting the value of science and scientific thinking to the general public. Science centers and museums face a number of challenges in fulfilling this mission, not the least of which is working to achieve this goal across cultures and worldviews.

Using Known Villains to Introduce Unknown Heroes

November 29th, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions by Emily Schuster

By Ramdas Iyer
From Dimensions
November/December 2011

In India, immunization against infectious diseases has been practiced, knowingly or unknowingly, for at least 4,000 years. Every village in ancient India had a temple to a certain goddess—for example, in southern India, the temple was to Mariamma, the epidemic goddess, while in northern India, the temple was to Sheetla Devi, the cool goddess who counteracted the wrath of hot-headed gods believed to cause smallpox. The temple was usually outside the village limits, possibly to limit infection, and was open air, exposing it to the harsh sun and rains.

Engaging the Public Across Worldviews

November 28th, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions, From the CEO by Anthony (Bud) Rock

In September, I was privileged to be among the more than 400 delegates from 56 countries who attended the 6th Science Centre World Congress (6SCWC) in Cape Town, South Africa. I want to express ASTC’s appreciation to all who organized and participated in this inspiring and highly enjoyable event. It was a learning experience for all, producing a Cape Town Declaration that commits our field to addressing global challenges through science learning.

Three ASTC members receive IMLS/MacArthur Learning Labs grants, four more to partner with awarded libraries

November 21st, 2011 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced yesterday that three ASTC-member institutions—the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Portland; New York Hall of Science, Queens; and the Da Vinci Discovery Center of Science and Technology, Allentown, Pennsylvania—were among the first 12 winners of a national competition to build 21st Century learning labs in museums and libraries around the country.

The winners—four museums and eight libraries—will receive a total of $1.2 million in grants to plan and design the labs. Inspired by YOUMedia, a new teen space at the Chicago Public Library, and innovations in science and technology centers, these labs will help young people move beyond consuming content to making and creating it.

In addition to the three ASTC members that received Learning Labs grants, four additional ASTC members—California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; COSI, Columbus, Ohio; Institute for Learning Innovation, Edgewater, Maryland; and Science City at Union Station, Kansas City, Missouri—will partner with awarded libraries in their communities.

The learning labs will be based on new research about how young people learn today. Teens will use both digital and traditional media that promote creativity, critical thinking, and hands-on learning. The labs will connect teens to mentors and peers, as well as anytime, anywhere access to information through online social networks so that they can pursue their interests more deeply. The winning institutions will match the funds from the competition and partner with local educational, cultural, and civic organizations to build a network of learning opportunities for young people.

ASTC CEO Anthony (Bud) Rock remarked, “Science centers and museums nurture the innovative spirit so crucially needed for success in today’s world, and using digital media to further ignite the excitement of our nation’s youth about lifelong STEM learning will ensure that future generations cultivate the skills they need, such as problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. The fact that three of the four museums named as grant recipients are science centers is an exciting testament to the strength of our field as incubators of innovation in our communities.”

The 12 recipients of this round of grants were selected out of a pool of 98 applicants from 32 states. Applications were evaluated by professionals with relevant expertise in digital media and learning and museum and library management. Winners will participate—in-person and online—in a community of practice that will provide technical assistance, networking, and cross-project learning. In addition to the Da Vinci Center, New York Hall of Science, and OMSI, those institutions selected as grant recipients include: San Francisco Public Library, California; Rangeview Library District and Anythink Libraries, Thornton, Colorado; Howard County Public Library, Columbia, Maryland; St. Paul Public Library, Minnesota; Kansas City Public Library, Missouri; Columbus Metropolitan Library, Ohio; Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, Pennsylvania; Nashville Public Library Foundation, Tennessee; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas.

For information on those museums and libraries chosen as Learning Labs grant recipients, visit Application materials for a second round of grants will be available in spring 2012. More information is available at

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