ASTC Member Profile: The Science Zone – Casper, Wyoming

September 4th, 2014 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

Mission: “The Science Zone strives to be the premier science center in Central Wyoming by offering quality programming, educators, and exhibits. We provide high-interest, hands-on learning experiences for all ages, thereby making involvement in STEM an integral part of our patrons’ lives.”

The Science Zone in Casper, Wyoming is the only public science center in the state. The center is designed for children and families to explore science, technology, engineering, and math through hands-on activities and programs. The museum currently has six main exhibits, including the Reflection Zone, Zone Zoo, Engineering Zone, and Bubble Zone, as well as sections on electricity and nanotechnology. It also boasts a variety of after school science clubs, such as:

The Science Zone also hosts a home school science class, a pre-K and younger science program, a monthly Night at the Museum evening event, and also runs a high school explainer program.

For more information, visit

ASTC Member Profile: Museo de los Niños de Caracas – Caracas, Venezuela

September 4th, 2014 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

Mission: Helping children to “learn by playing” with the principles of science, technology, art, and the fundamental values of society.

The Museo de los Niños de Caracas opened after eight years of planning, on August 5, 1982, led by Alicia Pietri de Caldera, the First Lady of Venezuela from 1969-1974 and 1994-1999. Exhibits and experiences at the museum are designed for children ages 6 to 14 and focus on being the opposite of a traditional “do not touch” museum. Exhibits are divided into four core subjects:

  • Biology – The Biology area includes information on the human body and brain, genetics, health and nutrition, and microscopy. Many of the exhibits include three-dimensional models and other interactive elements.
  • Communication – The Communication area includes exhibits on language, telecommunication, television, photography, film, and computing.
  • Ecology – The Ecology area demonstrates the relationships between living things and their surroundings, including information on ecosystems, food chains, natural resources, alternative energies, and environmental protection.
  • Physics – The Physics area covers the foundations of mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity, optics, and more thorough hands-on activities.

Visitors can also participate in programs on space travel, color, and living a drug-free life, as well as visit the newest exhibit all about energy. The museum also has a planetarium and hosts programs for children during school breaks and corporate events.

The Museo de los Niños de Caracas is open daily. For more information, visit

ASTC Member Profile: Durango Discovery Museum – Durango, Colorado

August 1st, 2014 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

Mission: “To spark curiosity, ignite imagination, power exploration.”
The Durango Discovery Museum, or Powerhouse Science Center, opened in 2011. Located in the Durango Powerhouse building, one of the country’s first AC power plants, the Durango Discovery Museum grew out of the Children’s Museum of Durango, which purchased the Durango Powerhouse after outgrowing its original space. The museum is in the midst of a three-phase expansion and is currently fundraising for Phase III.

The Durango Discovery Museum has a wealth of programs and events that look at energy – fitting, given the museum’s location. These programs include:

  • Pub Science and Trivia Nights are adult-only evening events. Pub Science is a free, 21+, monthly lecture series paired with local craft beer.
  • Camp Discovery summer camps are week-long, themed youth summer camps, featuring topics like Cyclin’ Science, Mythbusters, and MacGyverology.
  • The Powerhouse Geek Squad travels to schools for educational assemblies.
  • The StudioLab: Art + Science Summer Collaborative invites an artist-scientist team in each summer to work on a project together at the museum.
  • Yes You Can is a three-day summer camp for elementary school teachers who want to improve their science teaching skills.

The museum also hosts afterschool programs and has a successful Science Career Ladder program, modeled after the program created by the New York Hall of Science.

The Durango Discovery Museum is open daily. Visit for more information.

ASTC Member Profile: Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre – Port Louis, Mauritius

August 1st, 2014 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

Mission: “To serve as a Centre for non-formal education and popularization of Science and Technology among the population through various media.”
The Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre (RGSC) opened in December 2004. Working with the support of the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology, RGSC aims to create awareness of science and technology, encourage creativity and innovation, especially in children, and educate about and enhance public understanding of science and technology.

RGSC celebrates and champions science in a wide variety of ways, including:

  • Science competitions like the Rodrigues Science Challenge and Science Adventure
  • Carvane de la Science, a science program that travels to schools, community centers, and other public spaces around Mauritius. Programs can include planetarium shows, interactive science demonstrations, film screenings, and more.
  • Science Fun Day, an event held in various public locations that includes demonstrations of science activities that can be done with readily available materials.
  • Science Park, an outdoor space with various science activities, such as swings to demonstrate pendulums, weights, pulleys, and inclined planes, and planet models.

The Centre also hosts Sky Observation nights, science film screenings, workshops, and lectures.

The Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit

The Noyce Foundation Announces Bright Lights Community Engagement Award Winners

June 17th, 2014 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

The Noyce Foundation has announced the winners of its Bright Lights Community Engagement Awards competition, which recognizes U.S. science centers, children’s museums, and natural history museums that have excelled in engaging their local communities, with a particular interest in science, technology, engineering, or math outreach. 94 applications were received from institutions across the country and, after three rounds of judging by an expert panel, seven winners were selected. All winners demonstrated their ability to reach sections of their communities that have needs not generally addressed by science centers, and to engage their communities in new and innovative ways. The winners are:

  • Explora in Albuquerque, NM
  • Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia, WA
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA
  • Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa, FL
  • Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul
  • The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA
  • The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA

Honorable mentions were given to the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, OH and the University of Montana SpectrUM Discovery Center in Missoula for new and very promising programs.

All award recipients are committed to sharing their insights and experiences with other interested organizations. Videos of each will be available in a few months, and their work will be highlighted at professional meetings and other venues.

Congratulations to all award recipients!

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