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

Dimensions, May/June 2019—Making the Case


May/June 2019

We all know the invaluable worth of a science center or museum. But how do we convey that value to donors, elected officials, and others? Glowing adjectives often aren’t enough.
Because of our wide-ranging activities—providing informal STEM education, partnering with the formal education process, supporting healthy community development, and making a considerable economic impact in our towns or regions—it’s not easy to quantify our overall value. And because no visitor, donor, or elected official will likely experience all aspects of our activities and programming, it is easy to overlook some of the things we do.
So how, then, do we prove our worth? The five features in this issue all describe the process of “making the case” for science centers—how we quantify and share the story of the profound effects we have on our communities. You will read about: one executive director’s quest to build community support for new science centers in two different cities; tips, tricks, and specific steps for quantifying your science center or museum’s worth; a story of near-failure and the adaptations that eventually led to success; careful measurements that helped an institution quantify and assess the value of a blockbuster exhibit and fuel donor support for the next one; and community disagreements that compelled a science center to lead the way, through healthy dialogues, toward reasonable solutions.
  • Measuring Total Impact by John W. Jacobsen
  • Trusting the Community, Measuring Impact, and Making the Case by Stephanie Ratcliffe
  • Adapting Through Adversity by Andrew Belanger
  • Working With Community Foundations to Make the Case by Paul Kortenaar
  • The Impact of The Science Behind Pixar by Elizabeth Kunz Kollmann, Leigh Ann Mesisi, and Christine Reich
Online Departments
  • From the CEO—Valuing our Work
  • Q&A with Nicole Small

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