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.

Pacific Science Center, Bootheel Youth Museum, Long Island Children’s Museum among 2012 National Medal recipients

November 14th, 2012 - Posted in Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

ASTC members Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington; Bootheel Youth Museum in Malden, Missouri; and Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City, New York, were among the 10 libraries and museums selected by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to receive the 2012 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries for extraordinary civic, educational, economic, environmental, and social contributions. Recipients must demonstrate innovative approaches to public service and community outreach.

“Museums and libraries serve as community anchors and this year’s winners—from urban North Miami to Naturita, Colorado, home to just 542 people—showcase the positive difference these institutions make for everyone. Innovative programs are teaching residents how to read late in life, inspiring children to dream, using technology to offer e-books on the go, and bridging cultural differences,” said Susan Hildreth, director, Institute of Museum and Library Services. “This year’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service recipients demonstrate the many ways libraries and museums build strong communities and provide opportunities for individual success.”

Pacific Science Center seeks to go beyond just teaching guests about science. In recognizing this institution, IMLS highlighted several programs and initiatives, including: the Portal to the Public program, which connects the public with cutting-edge science by training scientists to demonstrate and explain their research; Discovery Corps, which gets students excited about the world around them and teaches invaluable job and life skills; and Professor Wellbody’s Academy of Health & Science, which emphasizes not an accumulation of health facts but the impact of personal choices in building healthier lives.

The Bootheel Youth Museum (BYM) is located in a city with a population of 4,277, and has only three full-time and three part-time staff members, and some volunteers. Yet it entertains, educates, and inspires “insatiable curiosity” in 30,000 visitors each year. The museum combines sound science and a thirst for adventure with innovative exhibits like BYM Children’s Village, This Island Mars: A Space Adventure, and Making Tracks on the Lewis and Clark Trail.

The Long Island Children’s Museum delights more than 250,000 visitors annually with its hands-on exhibits and is a gathering place for the local community. It offers a wide range of programming to meet the needs of its diverse audience. Community focused initiatives provide kindergarten readiness programs to Spanish and Haitian Creole speaking immigrant families; share the Museum’s resources with teachers to engage their students in scientific inquiry; support families in crisis through strategies encouraging healthy parent and child interactions; and engage teens to teach “green” lessons to visitors in the Museum’s popular outdoor exhibit, Our Backyard.

The National Medal was created to celebrate the vital role museums and libraries play in American society, and is awarded to institutions that have developed innovative ways to serve their communities. In addition to the Pacific Science Center, Bootheel Youth Museum, and Long Island Children’s Museum, 2012 recipients included: Contra Costa County Library, Pleasant Hill, California; Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, North Carolina; Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago, Illinois; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, Florida; Naturita Community Library, Colorado; Park View High School Library Media Center, Sterling, Virginia; and Shaler North Hills Library, Glenshaw, Pennsylvania.

Medal winners are selected from nationwide nominations of institutions that demonstrate innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach. The National Medal will be presented during a celebration later today in Washington, D.C.

To learn more about this year’s winners, visit www.imls.gov/medals.

ASTC Update: Three ASTC members receive IMLS/MacArthur Learning Labs grant, four more to partner with awarded libraries

November 13th, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News, Professional Development by Larry Hoffer

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced November 8 that three ASTC-member institutions—the Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, California; Madison Children’s Museum, Wisconsin; and the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation, Richmond—were among the second round of winners of a U.S.-wide competition to design 21st Century learning labs in museums and libraries around the country.

The winners—five museums and seven libraries—will receive a total of $1.2 million in grants to plan and design the labs. Inspired by YOUMedia, a teen space at the Chicago Public Library, and innovations in science and technology centers, these labs will help young people move beyond consuming content to making and creating it.

In addition to the three ASTC members that received Learning Labs grants, four additional ASTC members—Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Las Vegas Natural History Museum, Nevada; Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, Las Vegas, Nevada; and Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, Texas—will partner with awarded libraries in their communities.

Each Learning Lab will be designed to facilitate a research-based education model known as connected learning–one that promotes discovery, creativity, critical thinking and real-world learning through activities and experiences that bring together academics and young people’s interests, often facilitated by digital and traditional media. The labs will connect teens to mentors and peers, as well as anytime, anywhere access to information through online social networks, so they can pursue their interests more deeply and connect these new skills to academics, career, and civic engagement.

ASTC CEO Anthony (Bud) Rock remarked, “We are very excited about the continued success of the Learning Labs program. Science centers and museums nurture the innovative spirit so crucially needed for success in today’s world, and using digital media to further ignite the excitement of our nation’s youth about lifelong STEM learning will ensure that future generations cultivate the skills they need, such as problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. The fact that three of the five museums named as grant recipients are science centers is an exciting testament to the strength of our field as an incubator of innovation in our communities.”

The 12 recipients of this round of grants were selected out of a pool of 105 applicants from 33 states. Applications were evaluated by professionals with relevant expertise in digital media and learning. Winners will participate—in-person and online—in a community of practice that will provide technical assistance, networking, and cross-project learning. In addition to the Lawrence Hall of Science, Madison Children’s Museum, and the Science Museum of Virginia Foundation, those institutions selected as grant recipients include: University of Alabama/Alabama Museum of Natural History, Tuscaloosa; Rochester Public Library, New York; City of Lynn, Massachusetts (Lynn Public Library); Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Nevada; Parmly Billings Library Foundation, Inc., Billings, Montana; Pima County Public Library, Tucson, Arizona; and Poughkeepsie Public Library District, New York.

These grantees join 12 other communities also planning new learning centers in libraries and museums as a part of the Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums project. The initiative was first announced in September 2010 in response to President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, an effort to foster cross-sector collaboration to improve America’s students’ participation and performance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Since then, MacArthur and IMLS have committed to invest $4 million to support knowledge-sharing activities for museums and libraries nationwide, and work together to create new Learning Labs across the nation.

For more information about the Learning Labs project, visit www.imls.gov or www.Youmedia.org.

New grants help museums and libraries connect youth with friends, learning, and mentors to link their passions to future success

November 8th, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News, Partners by Larry Hoffer

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today announced the second round of winners of a national competition to design 21st century Learning Labs in museums and libraries around the country. The 12 winners—five museums and seven libraries—will receive a total of $1.2 million in grants to plan and design the labs. Inspired by YOUmedia, a teen space at the Chicago Public Library, and innovations in science and technology centers, these labs will help young people move beyond consuming content to making and creating it.

Each Learning Lab will be designed to facilitate a research-based education model known as connected learning—one that promotes discovery, creativity, critical thinking, and real-world learning through activities and experiences that bring together academics and young people’s interests, often facilitated by digital and traditional media. The labs will connect teens to mentors and peers, as well as anytime, anywhere access to information through online social networks, so they can pursue their interests more deeply and connect these new skills to academics, career, and civic engagement.

“Digital media are revolutionizing the way young people learn, socialize, and engage in civic life,” said Julia Stasch, Vice President of U.S. Programs for the MacArthur Foundation. “These innovative labs are designed to provide today’s youth with the space, relationships, and resources to connect their social worlds and interests with academics, and to better prepare them for success in the 21st century.”

“Because of the expertise and content we have to offer, museums and libraries are uniquely positioned to offer young people meaningful learning experiences that link to science, art, and technology,” said Susan Hildreth, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. “With caring mentors and skilled professionals on staff to guide teens in their exploration, Learning Labs help youth express themselves and hone their skills in a safe environment.”

The new Learning Labs are planned for: Dallas, TX; Madison, WI; Rochester, NY; Oakland, CA; Billings, MT; Poughkeepsie, NY; Tucson, AZ; Richmond, VA; Tuscaloosa, AL; Pittsburgh, PA; Lynn, MA; and Las Vegas, NV. Each of the winning institutions will match funds from the competition and is developing partnerships with local educational, cultural, civic and business organizations to expand the resources available to build a network of learning opportunities for young people.

These grantees join 12 other communities also planning new learning centers in libraries and museums as a part of the Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums project. The initiative was first announced in September 2010 in response to President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign, an effort to foster cross-sector collaboration to improve America’s students’ participation and performance in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Since then, MacArthur and IMLS have committed to invest $4 million to support knowledge-sharing activities for museums and libraries nationwide, and work together to create new Learning Labs across the nation.

Urban Libraries Council (ULC) and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) will continue to manage and guide the Learning Lab grantee community to ensure that each new space embodies best practice principles, based on research and evidence in the field of youth digital learning, to help young people gain 21st century skills and an effective STEM education.

The 12 recipients of this round of grants were selected out of a pool of 105 applicants from 33 states and one territory. Applications were evaluated by professionals with relevant expertise in digital media and learning, as well as museum and library management. Winners will participate—in-person and online—in a community of practice that will provide technical assistance, networking, and cross-project learning. To learn more about the Learning Labs Project, visit www.imls.gov or Youmedia.org.

Institutions receiving grants in this round are: Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Madison Children’s Museum, Madison, WI; The Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley; Science Museum of Virginia Foundation, Richmond; University of Alabama/Alabama Museum of Natural History, Tuscaloosa; Rochester Public Library, Rochester, NY; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; City of Lynn, Massachusetts (Lynn Public Library); Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Las Vegas, NV; Parmly Billings Library Foundation, Inc., Billings, MT; Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ; and Poughkeepsie Public Library District, Poughkeepsie, NY.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grantmaking, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov or follow @US_IMLS on Twitter.

About the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. The Foundation’s digital media and learning initiative aims to determine how digital media are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. The goal is to build a base of evidence about how young people learn today, in an effort to re-imagine learning in the 21st century. To learn more, please visit: www.macfound.org/learning or follow us on Twitter @macfound.

About the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC)
The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) is a global organization providing collective voice and professional support for science centers, museums, and related institutions, whose innovative approaches to science learning inspire people of all ages about the wonders and the meaning of science in their lives. Through strategic alliances and global partnerships, ASTC strives to increase awareness of the valuable contributions its members make to their communities and the field of informal STEM learning. Founded in 1973, ASTC now represents over 600 members in 45 countries, including not only science centers and museums, but also nature centers, aquariums, planetariums, zoos, botanical gardens, and natural history and children’s museums, as well as companies, consultants, and other organizations that share an interest in informal science education. For more information on ASTC, or to find a science center near you, please visit www.astc.org or follow us on Twitter @sciencecenters.

About the Urban Libraries Council
Urban Libraries Council (ULC) is a membership organization made up of North America’s premier public library systems and the corporations supporting them. While ULC’s members primarily represent urban and suburban settings, the work done by ULC is widely used by all libraries including those in rural settings. ULC strategically addresses issues important to all communities including education, workforce and economic development, public safety, environmental sustainability, health, and wellness. ULC’s members are thought leaders dedicated to the continuous evolution and strengthening of libraries to meet changing community needs. ULC’s focus is on helping library leaders develop and utilize skills and strategies that match the challenges of the 21st century. Learn more at www.urbanlibraries.org or follow us on Twitter @UrbanLibCouncil.

Three elected to serve on ASTC’s Board of Directors

October 19th, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

Guy Labine, CEO, Science North, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada; Tit Meng (TM) Lim, chief executive, Singapore Science Centre, Singapore; and Alexander Zwissler, executive director and CEO, Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland, CA, were recently elected to ASTC’s Board of Directors, and officially took office October 16, at the close of ASTC’s 2012 Annual Conference in Columbus, OH. In addition to Labine, Lim, and Zwissler, David Mosena, president and CEO, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, and Carol Valenta, senior vice president, Saint Louis Science Center, were re-elected to a second three-year term.

The Association’s officers—ASTC President Bryce Seidl, president and CEO, Pacific Science Center, Seattle; Vice President Linda Conlon, chief executive, International Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom; Secretary/Treasurer Chevy Humphrey, president and CEO, Arizona Science Center, Phoenix; and Member-at-Large Joanna Haas, executive director, Kentucky Science Center, Louisville—were re-elected to serve the second year of their two-year terms. (Immediate Past President Nancy Stueber, president and CEO, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, also serves on ASTC’s Executive Committee.)

Board members continuing their terms included: Dennis Bartels, executive director, Exploratorium, San Francisco; David Chesebrough, president and CEO, COSI, Columbus, OH; Ann Fumarolo, president and CEO, Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center, Shreveport; Nohora Elisabeth Hoyos, executive director, Maloka, Bogota, Colombia; Ronen Mir, general director, MadaTech: Israel National Museum of Science, Technology, and Space, Haifa; Neville Petrie, CEO, Science Alive! New Zealand’s 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. With her resignation as president and executive director of the Great Lakes Science Center, Cleveland, Linda Abraham-Silver stepped down from the Board at the end of her term.

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