As science and technology centers and museums plan for re-opening after mandated closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be confronted with a number of challenges that require thoughtful consideration and planning. ASTC is hosting a series of informal discussions to support peer-to-peer sharing around these timely topics.

Each discussion is being facilitated by staff from ASTC member institutions, and the series has been developed by a core team of science center professionals.

We are in the process of scheduling the next series of conversations. We welcome your ideas of topics that you would find most helpful; send your suggestions to

To allow for open dialogue, discussions will not be recorded, although framing remarks from discussion catalysts may be recorded. Please register in advance by clicking on the date in the table below. Each discussion is limited to 40 participants.

Building Operations is focused on supporting returning staff, welcoming the community back into your institution’s facilities, operating cafes, and managing theaters.May 21
May 26
Public Health and Safety is focused on how to update and change safety and cleaning protocols to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.May 28
June 2
Hands-on Exhibits is focused on new ways for visitors and staff to interact with exhibits and hands-on experiences.June 4
Supporting Communities is focused on ways that science centers can support their communities, including during crises. (newly added)June 4
Camps is focused on supporting summer camp staff and campers in in-person and virtual settings.June 5
Traveling Exhibitions is focused on updates and changes that science centers are making to their traveling exhibition programs.New date: June 19
Data Collection is focused on how to support data collection methods while following safety protocols.New date: June 23
Revenue-Generating Education Programs is focused on changes science centers are making to birthday parties, camps, and other programs both inside and outside the science center.New date: June 25
Marketing and Communications is focused on how science centers are sharing their re-opening process with their members and communities.June 11
K-12 and Out-of-School Time Partnerships is focused on how science centers are supporting K-12 and out out-of-school time educators.June 16
Discovery Rooms is focused on how science centers are supporting families and early learners with discovery room spaces. Presented with the ASTC Early Childhood Community. Watch video of discovery-room case studies.August 27
School Programs explores different ways science centers and museums are serving students, teachers, and parents. Watch video of school-program case studies.September 10
Visitor Services and Operations centers on how people and teams are adapting and innovating. Presented with the ASTC Visitor Services Community. Watch video of visitor services and operations case studies.September 17
Membership looks at how science centers and museums are engaging members and strengthening ties with this core audience. Presented with the ASTC Membership Community. Watch video of membership case studies.September 24
Smaller Institutions is focused on the ways that smaller science centers and museums are changing to serve their communities during today’s challenges. Presented with the ASTC Small Museums Community. Watch video of smaller institutions’ case studies.October 1
Outreach looks at how educators are re-envisioning the role of outreach education, both in-person and online. Presented with the ASTC NEON (National Education Outreach Network) Community and the ASTC Early Childhood Community. Watch video of outreach-program case studies.October 8

We also invite the ASTC community to discuss these and other issues related to re-opening on the General Forum and in relevant Communities of Practice.

Additional resources related to re-opening, including links to public health guidance and resources from partners is available on the Re-Opening Resources page.

Core Planning Team

Ashanti M. Davis (Lead Organizer)

Exhibition Manager
Fleet Science Center
San Diego, California

Claire Dorsett (Lead Organizer)

Associate Director of Exhibits
Great Lakes Science Center
Cleveland, Ohio

Mary Jane Conboy

Director, Science Content and Design
Ontario Science Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Christina Dillard

Environmental Health & Safety Program Manager
Museum of Science
Boston, Massachusetts

Mark Leasor

Experience Manager
Imagination Station
Toledo, Ohio

Colette Militello

Exhibits Experience Technician
Fleet Science Center
San Diego, California

Lori Petrelius

Visitor Engagement and Store Manager
KidsQuest Children’s Museum
Bellevue, Washington

Raiza M. Ruiz-Kline

Volunteer & HR Coordinator
Fleet Science Center
San Diego, California

Allison Schwanebeck

Director of Exhibits
Science Center of Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa

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