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

Dimensions, May/June 2016—The Power of Place



May/June 2016

Read the full issue.

Cover05.16_221Inspired by the centennial of the U.S. National Park Service, this issue of Dimensions focuses on an educational approach that many science centers and museums share with parks and heritage sites: place-based learning. A place-based approach draws upon an institution’s local context and historical, environmental, and cultural surroundings. Many science centers and museums are fortunate enough to be located near a stunning natural site or park, a science or technology research center, a fossil excavation site, or an important location in the history of science, technology, engineering, or industry. But any museum can engage with what is distinctive about its own locality—whether by observing birds in the middle of a busy city, engaging in citizen science in a nearby natural area, documenting local innovations, or amplifying community voices. By grounding themselves in what is special about their own surroundings, science centers and museums become relevant, meaningful, and unique.

  • Place Matters, by Jeanne Vergeront
  • Learning Science in U.S. National Parks, by Tim Watkins
  • Why There? Why Then? Examining Places of Invention, by Monica M. Smith
  • “You Can’t Beat this Classroom”: Place-Based Learning Around the World (additional case studies available here).
  • Bird is the Word: Ways You Can Connect with Local Feathery Fauna, by Jonah Cohen
  • Public Works for Public Learning: The Golden Gate Bridge Outdoor Exhibition Project, by Michelle Phillips, David Heil, and Robert Reitherman
Online Departments
  • From the CEO: Coming November 10: International Science Center and Science Museum Day
  • Viewpoints: Do smartphones enhance or detract from the museum experience?
  • Q&A with Nicholas R. Bell: The WONDER of Art and STEM

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