Humphrey becomes ASTC Board Chair

October 22nd, 2013 - Posted in ASTC News, Annual Conference, Member News by Larry Hoffer

During ASTC’s Annual Business Meeting on October 21, 2013, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, ASTC President R. Bryce Seidl, president and CEO, Pacific Science Center, Seattle, WA, passed the gavel to a new Board Chair—Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO, Arizona Science Center, Phoenix. Humphrey, who most recently served as ASTC’s secretary/treasurer, joined ASTC’s Board of Directors in 2005, and also served as vice-president from 2009-2011. (Officer titles changed from president to chair, vice-president to chair-elect, and immediate past president to immediate past chair this year as the result of bylaws changes approved by the Association’s Board of Directors in August.)

Joining Humphrey on ASTC’s Executive Committee are Chair-Elect: Linda Conlon, chief executive, International Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; Secretary: Joanna Haas, executive director, Kentucky Science Center, Louisville; Treasurer: David Chesebrough, CEO, COSI, Columbus, Ohio; and Members-at-Large: Guy Labine, CEO, Science North, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada; and Alexander Zwissler, executive director and CEO, Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, CA. (Seidl will serve as immediate past chair.)

As a result of the bylaws revisions, the maximum size of the Board of Directors was increased from 18 to 24 members. This year, seven new Board members were elected by the Association’s governing members, and one member was re-elected. The new Board members are: Kate Bennett, president, Rochester Museum & Science Center, NY; Blair Collis, president and CEO, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI; Kirsten Ellenbogen, president and CEO, Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland, OH; Matt Fleury, president and CEO, Connecticut Science Center, Hartford; Asger Høeg, executive director, Experimentarium, Hellerup, Denmark; Tim Ritchie, president, The Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, CA; and Silvia Singer, general director and CEO, MIDE, Mexico, D.F., Mexico. Ronen Mir, director of science learning centers, Levinson Visitors Center, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel, was re-elected to a second three-year term.

Those directors continuing their Board terms are: Dennis Bartels, executive director, Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA; Ann Fumarolo, president and CEO, Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center, Shreveport; Nohora Elizabeth Hoyos, director, Maloka, Bogota, Colombia; Tit Meng Lim, chief executive, Singapore Science Centre, Singapore; David Mosena, president and CEO, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL; Neville Petrie, CEO, Science Alive! The New Zealand Science Centre, Christchurch; Stephanie Ratcliffe, executive director, The Wild Center, Tupper Lake, NY; and Barry Van Deman, president and CEO, Museum of Life and Science, Durham, NC.

During the Business Meeting, Seidl recognized two outgoing Board members for their service—Carol Valenta, formerly of the Saint Louis Science Center, and Nancy Stueber, president and CEO, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, who has served as immediate past president for the last two years. “The Association and our field owe a great deal of gratitude to Nancy Stueber for her service and leadership,” Seidl remarked.

For further information about Humphrey, read her interview in the September/October issue of Dimensions magazine, at www.astc.org/blog/2013/08/25/qa-with-chevy-humphrey/.

ASTC recognizes award winners

October 20th, 2013 - Posted in ASTC News, Annual Conference, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

 During the first annual Leadership and Awards Luncheon (sponsored by Blackbaud) on October 19, ASTC presented its Fellow Award, the Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards, and a special resolution from the Association’s Board of Directors, recognizing an individual for lifetime achievement and significant contributions to the public understanding of science.

The annual Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Awards (sponsored by Hands On! Inc.) were presented to two institutions and one individual. Sciencenter, Ithaca, New York, was honored in the Business Practice Category; Science Alive! The New Zealand Science Centre, Christchurch, was recognized in the Visitor Experience Category; and Asger Høeg, executive director of Experimentarium in Hellerup, Denmark, received the award for Experienced Leadership in the Field. Read more about this year’s recipients at www.astc.org/blog/2013/07/15/astc-announces-2013-roy-l-shafer-leading-edge-award-recipients/.

ASTC’s Board of Directors voted earlier this year to recognize Dr. Gunther von Hagens for lifetime achievement and significant contributions to the public understanding of science. Through the technique of Plastination, and the BODY WORLDS exhibitions, von Hagens has revealed the intricate architecture and systems of the human body and allowed us to see that our bodies are at least as beautiful under the surface as they are from outside. In the tradition of the great anatomists, he made the study of the human body accessible to the public audience, without requiring medical training. Throughout the world, millions of science center visitors have viewed these exhibitions and been inspired, curious, touched, and forever changed.

The ASTC Fellow Award, the Association’s highest honor, was presented to Jeffrey N. Rudolph, president and CEO of the California Science Center. The text of Rudolph’s Fellow Award read:

For not only transforming the California Science Center into a premier institution, but for providing exemplary leadership to ASTC as President, developing a strategic planning process to help guide the Association’s future. During his years of service, Jeff has exemplified collaboration and displayed a good-natured collegiality and willingness to serve not just his science center, but the entire field. His impact on ASTC and STEM education has been profound.

An interview with Rudolph appears in the November/December issue of ASTC’s Dimensions magazine. Visit www.astc.org/blog/2013/10/19/qa-with-jeffrey-rudolph/ for more information.

ASTC congratulates all of these worthy award winners, and acknowledges the work of the Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award Jury, as well as ASTC’s Nominating Committee, for identifying these honorees.

NCSE Executive Director Eugenie Scott opens ASTC 2013

October 20th, 2013 - Posted in ASTC News, Annual Conference, Featured by Larry Hoffer

ASTC’s 2013 Annual Conference officially began Saturday, October 19. The executive directors of the three host institutions—Jim Walther, National Museum of Nuclear Science and History; Joe Hastings, Explora; and Charlie Walter, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, greeted attendees and shared that this first-ever collaboration among three museums to host ASTC’s conference promised “three times the welcome, three times the learning, and three times the fun.”

Following welcomes from New Mexico Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez and Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), delivered the opening keynote address. She quickly won over the audience by proclaiming, “I am a sucker for science centers and museums.” (She later admitted to being a member of every science center in the San Francisco Bay Area.)

Scott discussed the NCSE’s battle against those entities which challenge the teaching of evolution and climate change by museums and other institutions, saying, “Science literacy is at risk.”

She shared the NCSE’s “Pillars of Creationism,” three tenets around which the battles against evolution and climate change are founded:

  • Evolution is a “theory in crisis,” the argument that scientists no longer believe in evolution
  • Evolution and faith are incompatible
  • To be “fair,” teachers should teach both evolution and creationism, thus avoiding critical thinking and dogma

Scott advised audience members that theories of creationism and intelligent design haven’t earned the right to be presented in science centers and museums. “Your job is to present and interpret science, not to produce science.” She said that the burden of proof is on those espousing creationism, not those teaching the scientifically reinforced theory of evolution.

“Science is not a democratic procedure. We don’t vote on how the natural world operates.” She concluded by saying that if the consensus of scientists eventually disprove evolution, then and only then should museums teach creationism. But until then, she reminded the audience that, “Science isn’t an aspect of listening to all views; we listen to those that work.”

Welcome to Albuquerque!

October 19th, 2013 - Posted in ASTC News, Annual Conference, Featured by Larry Hoffer

 More than 1,600 attendees (with more to come) representing 43 countries across the globe have gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the start of the 2013 ASTC Annual Conference, hosted by Explora, the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

With over 100 sessions and workshops; and keynote presentations featuring Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education (on Saturday), Ramu Damodaran, deputy director for partnerships and public engagement for the United Nations’ Outreach Division (on Sunday), and a conversation with best-selling author Neal Stephenson, Ed Finn, director of Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, and Alexander Zwissler, executive director and CEO of Chabot Space and Science Center; as well as numerous networking opportunities, ASTC 2013 promises to be an exceptional professional development opportunity for the global science center community.

Whether on-site or from afar, ASTC invites you to follow the 2013 Annual Conference online. Follow us on Twitter (@sciencecenters), and join in the conversation using hashtag #astc2013. Photos and videos will also be posted on Instagram (follow @sciencecenters and post your own using #astc2013), and on our ASTCvideos YouTube channel. The ASTC Conference Blog will also be updated Saturday through Tuesday.

ASTC Announces 2013 Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award Recipients

July 15th, 2013 - Posted in ASTC News by Mary Mathias

ASTC applauds the 2013 Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award recipients announced this week. Presented annually, the awards recognize extraordinary accomplishments in Business Practice, Visitor Experience, and Leadership in the Field during the last three years.

The ten-member Leading Edge jury chose to honor Sciencenter, Ithaca, New York, in the Business Practice category, for MuseumTools.org: A High-Impact HR Toolkit for Science Museums. The recipient of the Leading Edge Award for Visitor Experience is Science Alive! The New Zealand Science Centre, Christchurch, for A Science Centre Without Walls. Asger Høeg, executive director of Experimentarium in Hellerup, Denmark, is the recipient of the 2013 Leading Edge Award for Experienced Leadership in the Field.

The awards will be presented during the Leadership and Awards Luncheon, Saturday, October 19, at the ASTC Annual Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information about the Leading Edge Awards, visit www.astc.org/about/awards/leading_edge.htm.

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