Q&A with Nicole Lazzaro

August 22nd, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions, Q&A by Emily Schuster

Interviewed by Joelle Seligson

This interview appeared in the September/October 2012 issue of Dimensions magazine.

The Greek philosopher Plato is quoted as saying that you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. It’s a philosophy Nicole Lazzaro—president of XEODesign, Inc., the world’s first Player Experience Design consulting company—subscribes to today. Players’ emotions are at the core of gaming, says Lazzaro, and they are the reason why games can be so compelling. She chatted with Dimensions in anticipation of the 2012 ASTC Annual Conference this October in Columbus, Ohio, where she’ll share how science centers and museums can implement the power of play.

Read the full transcript, or listen to the podcast.

On the Horizon: Current and Future Trends in the Science Center Field

August 17th, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions by Alejandro Asin

July/August 2012

As a key part of our commitment to our members, ASTC is dedicated to providing vision and direction by anticipating trends and helping our member institutions to prepare for new opportunities and challenges. In this issue, we look at a selection of current and future trends that shape and influence the science center and museum field. This brief, and by no means exhaustive, survey of trends includes new exhibit innovations, the Maker Movement, crowdsourcing, informal science learning outside the classroom, and crowdfunding. Have thoughts on these or other important trends on the horizon? Send us a letter to the editor.


The Future of Exhibits: Where Are We Headed?, by Julie Bowen
• Museums and the Maker Movement, by Eric Siegel
• Harnessing the Crowd, by Elizabeth E. Merritt and Philip M. Katz
• STEM Learning in Afterschool: Ready to Soar, by Anita Krishnamurthi and Ramya Sankar
• Crowdfunding: Money from the Masses?, by Larry H. Hoffer

Download the full issue.

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The Future of Exhibits: Where Are We Headed?

August 17th, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions by Alejandro Asin

By Julie Bowen
From Dimensions
July/August 2012

I have been wondering for a while why recent ASTC annual conferences have had fewer sessions about exhibits than they did five or 10 years ago. Have exhibits reached a point of perfection and become a craft needing only minor tweaking around the edges? Have museums run out of new things to talk about in exhibits? Are exhibit developers too busy or too few, or is exhibit development being outsourced? Is our modality of interactive, hands-on physical exhibits at the end of the evolutionary road? Or, is there an inflection point where exhibits transform into something new? I was caught musing out loud about these questions and asked if I would speculate on the future direction of exhibits.

Remembering F. Sherwood Rowland

August 16th, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions, From the CEO by Anthony (Bud) Rock

I would like to take this opportunity to comment on something both personal and professional. We recently lost a champion of scientific research, and for me a good friend, in F. Sherwood Rowland, Nobel Laureate, who, along with his colleagues Mario Molina and Paul Crutzen, showed us how chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, damage the Earth’s protective ozone layer. This is not a commentary, however, on the magnitude of Sherry Rowland’s work (though monumental it was, indeed). Rather, I reflect on the courage of those scientists who are prepared to jettison conventional wisdom, swim upstream, challenge notions—and bear the scars of that effort wherever it may lead.

Sherry once said that, for nearly a decade after undertaking his groundbreaking research, he could not get invited into a college classroom to lecture, much less excel among his peers. He was challenged at every turn. And yet, through scientific rigor and sheer perseverance, his work was translated from the laboratory into policy in one of the most progressive international measures ever envisioned: the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

Do you think “deal of the day” services like Groupon and LivingSocial help or hurt museums?

June 26th, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions, Viewpoints by Emily Schuster

This is an extended discussion of the question that appeared in the Viewpoints department of the July/August 2012 issue of Dimensions magazine.

Groupon and LivingSocial are neither good nor bad for museums. However, they are a tool that must be used with great care. As museum professionals, we must ask: What is the value to the museum for each patron generated by a deal of the day promotion over the life of that patron’s relationship with the museum? Will the patron spend money on food and retail? Will they become members and renew? Will they return for more visits once they have experienced our offerings? Will they send their children to summer camps? Will they make philanthropic gifts to the museum? Ultimately, these services deliver new patrons to our doors. We must be prepared to deepen the relationship once they arrive. If we can do that effectively, these services are a boon. Otherwise, we’ve just had a deeply discounted transaction with a one-time visitor, and that is a bust.

Jeff Hill, director of external relations, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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