Bridging the Gaps: Integrating Citizen Science Throughout an Institution

By Christine L. Goforth, Julie M. Urban, and Julie E. Horvath From Dimensions May/June 2014 At the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS), Raleigh, we’ve made citizen science a priority, because we recognize its power to teach people about the natural world and the role of science in their daily lives. The value of …

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Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth

By Conchi Quintana From Dimensions March/April 2014 According to current forecasts, world agricultural production will have to increase by 70% by 2050 to meet the food demands of a world population of over 9 billion. The good news is that there is no need to invent anything new to respond to this challenge; instead, we …

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Dimensions, March/April 2014—Cultivating the Future: Science Centers and Agriculture

IN THIS ISSUE March/April 2014 Inspired by the International Year of Family Farming 2014, this issue of Dimensions examines how science centers and museums are addressing the diverse, complex, and sometimes controversial issues surrounding agriculture. We all depend on agriculture—whether we live in a rural or urban area, in a developed or developing country. Agriculture …

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Reimagined and Rebranded: Science Centers for the 21st Century

By Eli Kuslansky and Gregory Peduto From Dimensions September/October 2013 Science centers: bastions of fun and exploration, destinations where children can let loose, providers of hands-on learning to spark a lifelong love of science. However, when children grow into adulthood in our technologically accelerating society, are they still called to science centers to satisfy their …

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Science Center and Zoos: Creating Public Value Through Complementary Strengths

By John Fraser, Martin Weiss, Beverly Sheppard, and Kate Flinner From Dimensions July/August 2013 Educators at science centers, zoos, and other informal science education institutions (ISE) work in distinct traditions. Yet, funders often lump them into a single class of ISE environments. Even science centers and zoos themselves may imagine that they compete for funds …

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Recruiting for Inclusion and Innovation

By Laura Huerta Migus From Dimensions July/August 2013 “It is diversity that drives innovation: a diversity of perspectives, of industries, of cultures. When we bring together these different perspectives, we have a far better chance of breaking new ground.” —Frans Johansson, author of The Medici Effect Over the past two decades, the United States and …

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Personalizing Visitor Service in a Small Museum

By Jennifer Jenkins From Dimensions May/June 2013 WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology in Bloomington, Indiana, strives to be not just a destination, but also a valuable community asset. Open since 2003 in its current downtown location, WonderLab is a small museum—7,600 square feet (700 square meters) of gallery space—with fewer than 15 full-time …

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Dimensions, May/June 2013—Personalizing the Visitor Experience

IN THIS ISSUE May/June 2013 Free-choice learning is the hallmark of science centers and interactive museums. But many institutions are taking this idea a step further by exploring strategies for personalizing the visitor experience—before, during, or after the visit. Some approaches are high tech, like compiling a visitor’s on-site experiences onto a personalized webpage. Others …

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Learning Labs: Transforming Youth from Digital Consumers to Creators

By Margaret Glass From Dimensions March/April 2013 Today’s youth grow up in a digitally networked world. With cell phones, laptops, and tablets, via social media platforms, videos, and podcasts, they connect to each other and to their world like never before. Yet with only a few exceptions, the digital signal gets dropped at the door …

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Changing Practices: Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Science Museums

By Christine Reich From Dimensions November/December 2012 Science museums hold great promise for engaging learners of a broad range of abilities and disabilities in informal science learning. As institutions known for their interactive and self-directed activities, science museums already exhibit many of the principles of universal design for learning that foster equitable learning environments for …

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Dimensions, November/December 2012—Accessibility: Breaking New Ground

IN THIS ISSUE November/December 2012 In recent decades science museums have made significant progress in meeting the needs of visitors with a range of disabilities—physical, cognitive, and behavioral. But much more remains to be done for the inclusion of people with disabilities to become the norm. In this issue, we explore what it means to …

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Dimensions, July/August 2012—On the Horizon: Current and Future Trends in the Science Center Field

IN THIS ISSUE July/August 2012 As a key part of our commitment to our members, ASTC is dedicated to providing vision and direction by anticipating trends and helping our member institutions to prepare for new opportunities and challenges. In this issue, we look at a selection of current and future trends that shape and influence …

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Science Gallery: Creative Collisions of Art and Science

By Michael John Gorman From Dimensions March/April 2012 The explosive cocktail of art and science has been with us for millennia. We have long had individual practitioners—from Pythagoras to Steve Jobs—who defied disciplinary boundaries, but I personally think there is something very exciting going on now that makes art-science in the 21st century different. What …

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Dimensions, January/February 2012—Science Center Exhibitions: Views from the Field

IN THIS ISSUE January/February 2012 Exhibitions are perhaps the most quintessential and exciting element of science centers’ work. In this issue of Dimensions, we examine the exhibition philosophies of various institutions, as well as the design principles that lead to great exhibition experiences. In addition, we explore the advantages of tinkering and prototyping in house, …

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Internal Capacity: Making a Good Museum Great

By Paul Orselli From Dimensions January/February 2012 When I think about the most enjoyable and memorable places—truly great museums—that I’ve visited over a lifetime of avid museum-going, the ones that bubble to the top include the City Museum, St. Louis; the  Exploratorium, San Francisco; the Minnesota History Center, St. Paul; and the Children’s Museum of …

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