Help Us Make ASTC’s New Website Beautiful

August 12th, 2014 - Posted in ASTC News by Mary Mathias

ASTC will be launching a new website at the 2014 annual conference, and we’d like your help! We are interested in including photos throughout the site that show the wonderful range of experiences and programs ASTC members have to offer. A few things to note:

  • Photos should be at least 1,200 pixels on the smallest side.
  • Please do not send any photos of just the outside of your building. (It’s a great building, we’re sure, but we’re more interested in what people are doing in and around it.)
  • Offsite photos are great too! Wherever and whenever your institution conducts programming, we want to see it.
  • We’d like to show the diverse audiences that museums and science centers serve, so we welcome photos with visitors of all ages, not just children.
  • Please send your best photos. These images will be seen by the thousands of visitors to the ASTC site, and we want to show them the very best.

If you have photos that show your institution’s activities and audiences that ASTC could use on the new site, please send them to web@astc.org by Friday, August 29. If your photos are too large to email, or if you have any other questions, please let us know.

Lights On Afterschool Partnership Minigrant

July 29th, 2014 - Posted in ASTC News, Partners by Mary Mathias

ASTC and the Afterschool Alliance are pleased to announce the Lights On Afterschool Partnership Minigrant. This Noyce Foundation-funded program stems from the partnership formed between ASTC and the Afterschool Alliance as our Commitment to Action for the Clinton Global Initiative, an annual drive to find innovative solutions to promote economic recovery in the United States, including objectives in education and skill development. This minigrant program is designed to strengthen STEM learning partnerships between ASTC-member science centers in the United States and afterschool providers.

The 15th annual Lights On Afterschool celebration will be on October 23, 2014, with events taking place throughout October. Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families, and communities. Science centers are ideally placed to hold events as a part of Lights On Afterschool, and these grants will be used to support such events.

Eligibility requirements for the minigrant include:

  • Current membership in ASTC.
  • Science centers and museums must be based in the United States.
  • The identified afterschool partner must be a part of a larger afterschool program with multiple sites or be the statewide afterschool network.
  • Both partners should share an interest in developing or increasing their capacity for STEM programming for youth in out-of-school time programs.
  • Submission of a complete application that includes some basic demographic data about each partner organization, a narrative description of the proposed activity, an event date, and details about how the event will be promoted in the community.

View the recording of the informational webinar here to learn more about Lights On Afterschool and this minigrant opportunity.

For more information about the Lights On Afterschool Partnership Minigrants, check out the Request for Applications and the FAQ. The application deadline is 11:00 p.m. ET on Friday, August 22, 2014. Minigrant recipients will be announced in September 2014.

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.”

© Association of Science - Technology Centers Incorporated