The digital publication of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)

Big Contributions

By Cristin Dorgelo

The history of science, technology, and innovation is filled with novel ideas, creative approaches, and impressive accomplishments generated by small teams faced with limited resources and pressing challenges.
Science museums themselves are hardly small in mission or purpose, and yet most face resource constraints common to many mission-driven institutions. Doing more with less, working smarter not harder, and prioritizing are solutions we all try to apply to our work.
In this issue, you will find inspirational stories of what ASTC members have achieved with small budgets, small (or no) physical spaces, and small, nimble teams—leveraging assets, ideas, and collaboration to get big things done.
This issue’s features explore the “power of small.” A small Brazilian museum on a very modest budget uses the Amazon rainforest as its exhibit hall, workshop, laboratory, and more. Intrepid educators in Africa use found objects and showmanship to bring scientific principles to the public. A growth-oriented museum in Bethesda, Maryland, makes the most of a library basement. Community science thrives in the United States, Tibetan monasteries, and Timor-Leste. Small museums provide an essential role across the NISE Network. And a large museum gets creative with space limitations.
No matter the size of your institution, team, project, or community, there are lessons here for each of us on how creativity, influence, and impact can thrive even in the face of constraints.
We hope you find a small spark here in these pages that you can grow into a big idea.

Cristin Dorgelo is ASTC’s President and CEO.

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