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 durangodiscovery.org 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 rgsc.gov.mu/.

Telling Science Stories

July 31st, 2014 - Posted in 2014, Dimensions by Alejandro Asin

IN THIS ISSUE
July/August 2014

Storytelling may seem like less of a natural fit for science centers than for history or even art museums, but people have been using stories to make sense of the natural world for thousands of years. Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of teaching and learning. In today’s science centers and museums, storytelling can break down barriers to science learning, making complex science content more accessible, relatable, and relevant. Stories capture our attention, stick in our memory, inspire our curiosity, engage our intellect along with our emotions, and form a powerful connection between teller and listener.

In this issue, we explore how science centers and museums are using storytelling—in exhibit labels, on stage, on the museum floor, on a variety of screens, and in programs and workshops—to reach museum staff, audiences, and scientists and inspire them to tell their own stories.

Features
• Stories Make Science Stick, by Tom Owen
STEPS: Where the Drama of Science Meets the Science of Drama, by Brad McLain
• The Matchmakers: Exploring Science and Society Stories with Scientists, by Stephanie Long
• Exploring the Science of Artifacts Through Storytelling, by Patrick Watt
• Memories and Favorites: Integrating Visitor Voices into an Exhibition, by Eleanor Ross
• Doing Science in a Story-Driven History Museum, by Melanie Hayes
• Once Upon a Map: Telling Stories in the Digital Age, by Allie Sorlie
Hane’ (Story): Using Cross-Cultural Understanding to Facilitate Science Learning in Museums, By Nancy C. Maryboy, David Begay, Laura Peticolas, Jill Stein, and Ashley C. Teren

Online Departments:
From the CEO: Science museums evolve: Are we preparing?
Q&A with Ari Daniel: Telling science stories on the airwaves

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STEPS: Where the Drama of Science Meets the Science of Drama

July 31st, 2014 - Posted in 2014, Dimensions by Alejandro Asin

By Brad McLain
From Dimensions
July/August 2014

“Once language was available to describe social scenarios from memory and anticipations, we became Homo narratus. We have become psychological beings who are incapable of not narrating our experiences both to ourselves and each other.” —Alan Parry, 1997

People are natural storytellers. We are also natural story hearers. Narrative (story) is the preferred way humans structure complex knowledge. It’s also the oldest way we share both cultural and personal information. We are still addicted to narrative—think of blogs, books, TV, radio, movies, theater, and even video games. Yet curiously, education underuses narrative—a missed opportunity at best and a gross misconstruction of our educational systems at worst.

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Science Museums Evolve: Are We Preparing?

July 31st, 2014 - Posted in 2014, Dimensions, From the CEO by Anthony (Bud) Rock

Position descriptions posted on ASTC’s job bank offer glimpses into the most valued qualifications for professionals in our science center and museum community. The needs of our member institutions are constantly evolving in response to increasingly diverse audiences, more challenging science topics, and new research on learning strategies. To succeed, we depend upon professionals who have the skills to respond to these changes.
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