The Alan J. Friedman Science Center Dialogues—“Not Designed for Us”

The Alan J. Friedman Science Center Dialogues at the ASTC Annual Conference each year are thought-provoking discussions that serve as a vibrant memorial to the founding director of the New York Hall of Science, Queens. They are presented in the spirit of the commitment Alan had to the science center field and to the issues and interests reflected in his own writings and presentations over the years.



This year’s talk, sponsored by the Kavli Foundation, explored the relevance of science centers and museums in their communities. What does community engagement look like? Sound like? Who is talking, and who is listening? What is the best response when someone says the science center is “not designed for us?”

The conversation included three people who have been thinking deeply, writing widely, and acting decisively on these issues.

Deborah Cullinan is chief executive officer at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco; Emily Dawson is lecturer in science communication at University College London, and Diana Pardue is chief of the museum services division at the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island in New York City.

The moderator was Manny Barbara, vice president of the Silicon Valley Education Foundation and board member of the Tech Museum of Innovation.