Dimensions, January/February 2007—Fifty Plus: Engaging Today’s Active Older Adults

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January/February 2007

Call it the Age Wave, the Silver Tsunami, the Longevity Revolution. It’s the demographic shift we’re seeing as the “baby boom” generation, people born between 1946 and 1964, turns 50, 60, and more. According to ASTC’s 2006 General Member Survey, 33 percent of ASTC museums already offer programs “targeting senior citizens,” but it will require increasing levels of sophistication to address the needs and aspirations of the active, aging boomers. In June 2006, representatives of 25 U.S. science centers and museums met for three days in Washington, D.C., with representatives of organizations that serve older Americans at the local, state, and national level. The conference was organized by the SPRY Foundation, ASTC, and other sponsors, as well as being funded by the National Science Foundation. In this issue, we share insights, outcomes, and resources from that event and describe how some science centers are reaching out to 50+ audiences.

• The Longevity Revolution: Challenge and Opportunity, by Russell Morgan
• Museums and Older Adults: A Senior Perspective, by Lynn Simmons
Aging Reinvented: A View from the ‘Oldest’ State, by Gillian Thomas
• A Field Guide to the U.S. Aging Community, by Richard Adler
• In Their Own Right: Adult Learning at Explora, by Kristin Leigh
• Curious Scientific Investigators: A Cross-Generational Program, by Rick Crosslin
• Aging Resources
• What’s In It for Me? Attracting Older Adults to Museums, by Douglas Wagner
• Staying Sharp: A Partnership for Brain Health, by Michael Patterson
• What Research Says about Learning and the Aging Brain
• Mutual Benefit: Partnering for Learning in Tampa, by Terrie Nolinske and Ara Rogers
• Promoting Healthy Aging: The MetLife Grants, by Carolyn Sutterfield
• Aging for All Ages: A ‘Lifelong Learning’ Exhibition, by Paul Siboroski

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