Wild Music: Making the Most of Sound in an Exhibition

August 3rd, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Wendy Pollock

Touchable SoundBy Wendy Pollock and J. Shipley Newlin

Sound in an exhibition? Most of the time, exhibition planners think of sound as something to be dampened, controlled, or contained. The very term “sound bleed” suggests exhibits battling for attention in an atmosphere of cacophony.

In planning Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life, the exhibition team—an unusual partnership among ASTC, the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM), and the Music Research Institute at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro—decided to approach sound from an alternative perspective. We would treat it as an element to be tuned and composed, as well as an opportunity to enrich the experience for visitors who are blind or have low vision. Funding from the National Science Foundation, Harman International, and NEC Foundation of America ensured that the team was well positioned for this task.


The New Face of Teacher Education

May 19th, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Christine Ruffo

Image Description
May/June 2007

ASTC Dimensions last took an in-depth look at teacher education programs in science centers and museums in 2002. Since then, the No Child Left Behind legislation has altered the formal education landscape in the United States, and formal-informal collaborations have changed elsewhere as well. We asked museum educators to tell us how their professional development programs for teachers have changed and how science centers are maintaining the commitment to inquiry-based education in the face of the new expectations from public funders. This issues represents a sampling of their responses.


    When Schools Meet Museums: Finding a Third Way, by Bronwyn Bevan
    • Leave No Teacher Behind, by Linda Shore
    • Partners for a New Era: The Challenge of the NCLB Funding, by Coleen Pelak
    • Building Teacher Leaders: The Da Vinci Fellows Program, by Dave Smith and Tara Broczkowski
    • What Teachers Told Us: Implementing Inquiry Learning for Schools, by Mary Ann Wojton
    • Experience, Confidence, and Tools: The Grounding in Botany Program, by Martha Kirouac
    • Field Trips for Teachers, by Christine Lewis
    • Promoting Technology Literacy in Schools: A Museum of Science Initiative, by Cary Sneider
    • Leveraging Training through Networks, by Eva Jonsson
    • Learning Before 4: Science for Early Childhood Educators, by Cindy Detuelo
    • Looking Beyond NCLB: Alternative Audiences for Teacher Education, by Pete Yancone
    • Supporting Xciters: A PENCIL Project Program, Sheena Laursen

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When Schools Meet Museums: Finding a Third Way

May 17th, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Admin

By Bronwyn Bevan

Let’s assume that you, the reader, already believe that informal science institutions (ISIs) can be powerful centers of science learning expertise, resources, and experience in their communities. You know that visitors to science museums, zoos, aquariums, and the like can see, touch, explore, and imagine aspects of the natural world that often remain invisible, unnoticed, or inaccessible in people’s everyday lives. You know that ISIs draw on their spatial, temporal, textural, and material qualities to build a visitor’s sense of the connectedness, historicity, relevance, and salience of science, in ways that many other learning settings cannot.


Performing Science: The Once and Future Science Show

March 17th, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Christine Ruffo

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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Fifty Plus: Engaging Today’s Active Older Adults

January 15th, 2007 - Posted in 2007, Dimensions by Christine Ruffo

Dimensions coverJanuary/February 2007

Call it the Age Wave, the Silver Tsunami, the Longevity Revolution. It’s the demographic shift we’re seeing as the “baby boom” generation, people born between 1946 and 1964, turns 50, 60, and more. According to ASTC’s 2006 General Member Survey, 33 percent of ASTC museums already offer programs “targeting senior citizens,” but it will require increasing levels of sophistication to address the needs and aspirations of the active, aging boomers. In June 2006, representatives of 25 U.S. science centers and museums met for three days in Washington, D.C., with representatives of organizations that serve older Americans at the local, state, and national level. The conference was organized by the SPRY Foundation, ASTC, and other sponsors, as well as being funded by the National Science Foundation. In this issue, we share insights, outcomes, and resources from that event and describe how some science centers are reaching out to 50+ audiences.

• The Longevity Revolution: Challenge and Opportunity, by Russell Morgan
• Museums and Older Adults: A Senior Perspective, by Lynn Simmons
Aging Reinvented: A View from the ‘Oldest’ State, by Gillian Thomas
• A Field Guide to the U.S. Aging Community, by Richard Adler
• In Their Own Right: Adult Learning at Explora, by Kristin Leigh
• Curious Scientific Investigators: A Cross-Generational Program, by Rick Crosslin
• Aging Resources
• What’s In It for Me? Attracting Older Adults to Museums, by Douglas Wagner
• Staying Sharp: A Partnership for Brain Health, by Michael Patterson
• What Research Says about Learning and the Aging Brain
• Mutual Benefit: Partnering for Learning in Tampa, by Terrie Nolinske and Ara Rogers
• Promoting Healthy Aging: The MetLife Grants, by Carolyn Sutterfield
• Aging for All Ages: A ‘Lifelong Learning’ Exhibition, by Paul Siboroski

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