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.

Two ASTC members honored at White House as “Champions of Change”

June 14th, 2013 - Posted in Member News by Mary Mathias

On Tuesday, June 11, the White House honored 12 people as museum and library “Champions of Change.” The museum honorees are providing powerful learning experiences, reaching young children and their families with early learning opportunities and offering exciting experiences for teens to develop skills in science, technology, engineering, and math. Two ASTC members were among those honored.

Elizabeth Babcock is Chief Public Engagement Officer and Roberts Dean of Education at the California Academy of Sciences. She oversees the creation and implementation of the museum’s exhibits and education programs, including developmental resources and engagement opportunities for teachers, youth, families, and adults. She leads a team of dedicated educators, designers, and biologists who deliver a variety of programs aimed at increasing scientific literacy, developing digital skills, communicating critical science topics, and inspiring public engagement both at the museum and in the Bay Area. The California Academy of Sciences is a partner in the emerging network of sites that offers digital learning experiences for youth in the program Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Cheryl McCallum, Director of Education, Children’s Museum of Houston, is dedicated to bringing innovative high quality museum programs to all children, with a special emphasis on reaching children from low income neighborhoods. Her team of staff and volunteers engage children and their families in a “Playground for Your Mind,” which reaches 800,000 visitors annually who design rockets and cars, test their fitness, and conduct experiments. She also leads a team of educators that serves another 250,000 people through outreach programs with libraries, schools, and community centers. McCallum helps parents to engage in fun, high-quality museum learning activities that support their role as a child’s first teacher. As part of a decade-long collaboration with Houston Public Library, McCallum recently directed the development of Family Literacy Involvement Program (FLIPkits.org), which made 2,280 activity kits available for loan to families through 34 Library branches in Houston. The program has been replicated in many other cities around the U.S.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.

To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program and nominate a Champion, visit whitehouse.gov/champions.

Learning Labs team members attend White House Champions of Change award. Pictured from left to right are Jon Worona, Catherine Cormier, and Jennifer Collins, from the San Francisco Public Library, Carol Varney, Bay Area Video Coalition, and Elizabeth Babcock, California Academy of Sciences.

Space Science Institute Launches STAR_Net to Join Libraries with STEM Professionals

May 14th, 2013 - Posted in Member News, Resources by Mary Mathias


The National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado has launched a website to bring science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programming to public libraries. STAR_Net, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, aims to connect professionals in the STEM fields with library staff members in order to share resources, create partnerships, and develop programs for local communities.

The project also has two traveling exhibits called Discover Earth: A Century of Change and Discover Tech: Engineers Make a World of Difference, each with accompanying educational programs and activities, plus training programs from librarians.

Interested museums, libraries, and individual professionals can add their information to STAR_Net’s directory, participate in forum discussions, and browse activities, resources, and webinars. Visit www.community.starnetlibraries.org/ for more information.

Boston Children’s Museum, Discovery Science Center receive National Medal

May 3rd, 2013 - Posted in Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library ServiceWhen the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced the 10 recipients of this year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service, two ASTC-member institutions—Boston Children’s Museum, Massachusetts and Discovery Science Center, Santa Ana, California—were among those recognized.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor conferred on museums and libraries for service to the community, and celebrates institutions that make a difference for individuals, families, and communities. Medal winners were selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach.

Boston Children’s Museum is one of the oldest and largest children’s museums in the world, pioneering hands-on exhibitions and visitor-focused experiences that put children in charge of their own learning. It first opened its doors in 1913. Today, the museum is partnering across the community to address school achievement gaps that disproportionately affect Boston’s black and Hispanic children and strengthening science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programming. Boston Children’s Museum also proudly participates in the Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens Initiative.

“We are thrilled to receive the National Medal, and especially pleased to do so in our Centennial year. As the only Boston museum defined by its audience–children and families–our spaces connect the stories of parents and teachers, grandparents and teens, policymakers and innovators. For 100 years, we have advocated for the enduring value of play, and its link to the mental, physical, and emotional health of children,” said Carole Charnow, president & CEO of the Boston Children’s Museum. “Our multi-faceted exhibits and programs introduce children and families to transformational experiences and new ideas in science and technology, health and wellness, arts and humanities, and global cultures. We are grateful to the IMLS for this distinguished award and look forward to building upon our legacy by continuing to promote the health and education of all children so that they will reach their full potential and contribute to our collective wellbeing.”

Discovery Science Center (DSC) has brought science education to vast audiences over the last 25 years through its Santa Ana facility and a soon to open Los Angeles museum. With a dynamic outreach program and state-of-the-art exhibits, the DSC team has led the way in creating innovative museum exhibitions and classroom programs. By blending hands-on science activities, immersive environments, game design, and role playing, DSC is modernizing how educational content is delivered to families and students. The award-winning Eco Challenge exhibit at DSC utilizes these unique, immersive experiences to encourage environmentally responsible behavior among their community. DSC also proudly participates in the Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens initiative.

Patronage of DSC programs has more than tripled over the last decade and in the last year alone, programs impacted over 739,000 visitors and students throughout the Southern California region. Their outreach program in schools is among the largest in the nation. Its education initiatives are in 650 schools and 27 school districts across Southern California and include 71,000 field trip students who visit the Taco Bell Discovery Science Center every year.

“The National Medal shows that a museum’s impact can go beyond the walls of a single location and bring education to hundreds of thousands of students in classrooms along with satellite locations,” said Joe Adams, president of Discovery Science Center. “This Award celebrates and recognizes the hard work and dedication of our team and community leaders towards delivering a mission that is not measured in dollars, but measured in the hearts, minds, and actions of eager learners. We see this award as a challenge to continue to teach through innovation extending past museum norms, finding partners that align to our mission, and connecting to young minds.”

In addition to Boston Children’s Museum and the Discovery Science Center, this year’s National Medal recipients were: Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Delta Blues Museum, Clarksdale, Mississippi; Marshalltown Public Library, Iowa; National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Pierce County Library System, Tacoma, Washington; Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio; Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, California; Waukegan Public Library, Illinois.

The National Medal will be presented during a celebration in Washington, D.C. on May 8. For more information on the Medal and this year’s winners, visit www.imls.gov/imls_announces_recipients_of_2013_national_medal_for_museum_and_library_service.aspx, and to see a video about the winners produced by HISTORY for IMLS, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHYjZ4sIpUo.

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