Trekaroo ranks top 10 science and technology museums for children

April 25th, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

Trekaroo, a blog focused on traveling with children as well as child- and family-friendly activities, recently released their list of the top 10 U.S. science and technology museums for children, based on user reviews from their site. The Exploratorium, San Francisco, was ranked the number one overall museum; the Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, California, was ranked the number one technology museum; and the American Museum of Natural History, New York, was ranked the number one natural history museum. All 10 museums on the list, as well as the seven awarded honorable mention, are ASTC members. Learn more:

Application guidelines now available for “Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums”

April 25th, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is accepting applications in the Learning Labs in Libraries and Museums program, jointly funded by IMLS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The program is managed by ASTC and the Urban Libraries Council (ULC).

Applications are due June 15, 2012.

These grants will support the planning and designing of Learning Labs in libraries and museums throughout the country. The Labs are intended to engage middle- and high-school youth in mentor-led, interest-based, youth-centered, collaborative learning using digital and traditional media. Grantees will be required to participate, in-person and online, in a community of practice that will provide technical assistance, networking, and cross-project learning. Projects are expected to provide prototypes for the field and be based on current research about digital media and youth learning.

To learn more about the program, ask questions, and listen to the questions and comments of other participants, you are invited to participate in one of two pre-application webinars. These webinars have been scheduled for:

Wednesday, May 9 from 3:00-4:00 p.m. ET (12:00-1:00 p.m. PT)
Thursday, May 23 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. PT)

The ULC/ASTC team will also offer “office hours” to pose final questions closer to the application deadline. The “office hour” schedule is as follows:

Tuesday, June 5 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. PT)
Monday, June 11 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET (11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. PT)

To register for the May 9 webinar, visit The link for the May 23 webinar and the two “office hour” sessions will be available at this same address one week prior.

The Learning Labs guidelines can be found at For questions or more information, please contact Margaret Glass at (202) 783-7200 x 129 or

Executives from 15 ASTC-Member Institutions Named 2012-2013 Noyce Leadership Fellows

February 22nd, 2012 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

Earlier today, The Noyce Foundation, in collaboration with ASTC and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), announced the participants in a fifth round of yearlong sponsored fellowships, as well as plans to recruit more leaders in the following year, with the aim of increasing the public impact of science centers, museums, and related institutions. Of the 18 senior-level executives from science centers, children’s museums, natural history museums, and field-based institutions named as 2012-2013 Noyce Leadership Fellows, 15 represent ASTC-member institutions.

Through their experience as Fellows, these individuals will gain access to knowledge, tools, promising practices, and professional networks that increase their capacity to lead effectively and advance innovation in their own institutions, their home communities, and in the broader field. They were selected through a competitive process by a committee composed of professionals representing the fields of informal science education and executive leadership. The Fellowship program provides an action-learning framework via a mix of face-to-face sessions, executive coaching, peer learning, audio conferencing, and other learning strategies over a year, followed by ongoing Fellow alumni activities.

The 18 Noyce Fellows and their Strategic Initiative Sponsors are as follows. (ASTC-member institutions are noted with an asterisk.)

Accokeek Foundation, Maryland
Fellow: Lisa Hayes, President & CEO
Sponsor: Wilton C. Corkern, senior advisor

American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York*
Fellow: Lauri Halderman, senior director, exhibition interpretation
Co-Sponsors: David Harvey, senior vice president for exhibition, and Lisa J. Gugenheim, senior vice president, institutional advancement, strategic planning and education

Boston Children’s Museum, Massachusetts*
Fellow: Tim Porter, project director, education
Sponsor: Leslie Swartz, senior vice president of research and program planning

Copernicus Science Center, Warsaw, Poland
Fellow: Irena Cieślińska, deputy director
Sponsor: Robert Firmhofer, CEO

Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley*
Fellow: Gretchen Walker, public science center interim director
Sponsor: Elizabeth Stage, director, Lawrence Hall of Science

Madison Children’s Museum, Wisconsin*
Fellow: Brenda Baker, director of exhibits
Sponsor: Ruth Shelly, executive director

Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.*
Fellow: Erika Shugart, deputy director
Sponsor: Patrice Legro, director

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago*
Fellow: Patricia Ward, director, science and technology
Sponsor: Kurt Haunfelner, vice president, exhibits and collections

Museum of Science, Boston*
Fellow: Christine Reich, director of research and evaluation
Co-Sponsors: Wayne Bouchard, chief operating officer, and Britton O’Brien, vice president, human resources

National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Miraikan, Japan*
Fellow: Yasushi Ikebe, principal investigator of science communication
Sponsor: Mamoru Mohri, CEO

Natural History Museum, London*
Fellow: Ian Jenkinson, museum manager
Co-Sponsors: Ailsa Barry, head of interactive media, and Andy Polaszek, keeper of entomology

Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
Fellow: Paul Voogt, director, public programs
Sponsor: Edwin van Huis, CEO

New York Hall of Science, Queens*
Fellow: David Kanter, director, SciPlay, Center for Play, Science and Technology Learning
Sponsor: Margaret Honey, president & CEO

Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul*
Fellow: Bob Breck, director of marketing and membership
Sponsor: Paul Martin, senior vice president of science learning

Science Museum Oklahoma, Oklahoma City*
Fellow: Sherry Marshall, director of the Oklahoma Museum Network
Sponsor: Don Otto, CEO

Thanksgiving Point Institute, Lehi, Utah
Fellow: Blake Wigdahl, vice president, design and programming
Sponsor: Mike Washburn, president and CEO

The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Philadelphia*
Fellow: Dale McCreedy, director, gender and family learning programs
Sponsor: Frederic Bertley, vice president, science and innovation

Universeum, Gothenburg, Sweden*
Fellow: Carina Halvord, deputy managing director and head of development
Sponsor: Lars Rehnman, CEO

The Noyce Foundation and its partners are proud to announce a sixth NLI Fellowship in 2013-2014. Senior-level leaders interested in learning more about the application process should visit

The Institute bears the name of Robert Noyce, co-founder of Intel and and inventor of the integrated circuit. His work in leading science, engineering, and technology to a whole new level of innovation — as well as the creation of new industries — is legendary. Known for his integrity, authenticity, character, inclusiveness, and continuous innovation, Noyce’s legacy continues to serve as a standard for leaders today. Primary funding for the Noyce Leadership Institute comes from the Noyce Foundation, with additional support to date from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

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

November 21st, 2011 - Posted in ASTC News, Featured, Member News by Larry Hoffer

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced yesterday that three ASTC-member institutions—the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Portland; New York Hall of Science, Queens; and the Da Vinci Discovery Center of Science and Technology, Allentown, Pennsylvania—were among the first 12 winners of a national competition to build 21st Century learning labs in museums and libraries around the country.

The winners—four museums and eight libraries—will receive a total of $1.2 million in grants to plan and design the labs. Inspired by YOUMedia, a new 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—California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; COSI, Columbus, Ohio; Institute for Learning Innovation, Edgewater, Maryland; and Science City at Union Station, Kansas City, Missouri—will partner with awarded libraries in their communities.

The learning labs will be based on new research about how young people learn today. Teens will use both digital and traditional media that promote creativity, critical thinking, and hands-on learning. The labs will connect teens to mentors and peers, as well as anytime, anywhere access to information through online social networks so that they can pursue their interests more deeply. The winning institutions will match the funds from the competition and partner with local educational, cultural, and civic organizations to build a network of learning opportunities for young people.

ASTC CEO Anthony (Bud) Rock remarked, “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 four museums named as grant recipients are science centers is an exciting testament to the strength of our field as incubators of innovation in our communities.”

The 12 recipients of this round of grants were selected out of a pool of 98 applicants from 32 states. Applications were evaluated by professionals with relevant expertise in digital media and learning and 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. In addition to the Da Vinci Center, New York Hall of Science, and OMSI, those institutions selected as grant recipients include: San Francisco Public Library, California; Rangeview Library District and Anythink Libraries, Thornton, Colorado; Howard County Public Library, Columbia, Maryland; St. Paul Public Library, Minnesota; Kansas City Public Library, Missouri; Columbus Metropolitan Library, Ohio; Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation, Pennsylvania; Nashville Public Library Foundation, Tennessee; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas.

For information on those museums and libraries chosen as Learning Labs grant recipients, visit Application materials for a second round of grants will be available in spring 2012. More information is available at

ASTC Members: Get Involved in the March 2012 “Planet under Pressure” Conference!

November 18th, 2011 - Posted in ASTC News, Member News by Larry Hoffer

Dear ASTC Member:

You and your institution have the opportunity to be part of a significant science-based, global event—and no travel or extra expenditures are required!

The international scientific community will convene in London, March 26-29, 2012, for the worldwide Planet under Pressure: New Knowledge Towards Solutions conference ( leading up to the Rio+20 Earth Summit ( in June 2012. Science centers and science center networks all over world will be organizing activities that run concurrently with those in London.

It’s as easy as 1-2-3, and we want you to participate.

Here’s how to get involved:

1. Between March 26 and March 29, organize any type of event—a debate, a demonstration, a guest speaker, an educational program, even a film—that deals with one of the themes of the Planet under Pressure (PuP) conference. This doesn’t need to be a new event—you may already have something planned for that time period that connects to one of the issues. Do this and you’ll get access to a special Planet under Pressure logo and receive promotional material—including a joint press release with Planet under Pressure—you can use to get recognition from your local community and the media for participating in this global event.

2. Upload information about your PuP-related activities onto a worldwide Google map. When all of the institutions upload their activities, the map will be full, demonstrating the global reach of ASTC members and the international science center community. Following the events, each member will count the number of participants at their site.

3. Here’s what you’ll get in return:

• Scientific documents and video interviews from scientists you can use in your own program, now and later.
• Your visitors will be able to ask questions of scientists via email and/or live during specific Planet under Pressure events (there are a limited number of guaranteed live connections, which will be distributed to ensure geographical diversity; contact ASTC for information).
• Tools to help you ensure your institution gets local recognition for being part of this global effort.
• After the event, data indicating how many people participated in your country and worldwide, to aid further advocacy efforts.
• Feedback on what questions most interest people worldwide.

Why participate? This event will raise your profile, locally and nationally, and position your science center as part of an active global network. This is exactly the kind of “collective action on behalf of science” that was envisioned in the Toronto (2008) and Cape Town (2011) Science Centre World Congress Declarations and your science center can participate, no matter how small or large you are. ASTC wants to promote the presence and visibility of the global science center field at Planet under Pressure and the Rio+20 Earth Summit. It is therefore essential to have as many of its members organizing Planet under Pressure events as possible. This will assist us in establishing solid relationships on your behalf with the international scientific community and international education organizations.

There is strength in numbers and collective action. Many ASTC members are already involved in international activities and we hope to have very strong representation from across the globe. It’s not too soon to start planning your institution’s involvement during PuP; we will be sharing additional resources and information to assist you along the way.

If ASTC can assist you with gaining a better understanding of PuP and the Rio+20 Earth Summit, or discussing possible ideas for activities, please contact Walter Staveloz, director of international relations, at or (202) 783-7200 x118.

© Association of Science - Technology Centers Incorporated