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 info@astc.org.

To allow for open dialogue, breakout 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.

TopicDate
Capital Campaigns focuses on raising funds for new exhibits and buildings during the pandemic. Presented with the ASTC Development Professionals Community.June 10, 2021
Hiring and Onboarding focuses on ways ASTC members are “building back” staff resources as facilities re-open and institutions accelerate operations.June 3, 2021
Smaller Institutions 2021 builds on last year’s hangout and explores ways that smaller science centers and museums are changing to serve their communities during today’s challenges. Presented with the ASTC Small Museums Community.May 27, 2021
Kits focuses on different ways science centers and museums have developed and distributed kits during the pandemic, as well as what being planned for kits as institutions re-open.May 20, 2021
Youth Programs centers around how science centers and museums have been approaching youth programs, supporting participants, and learning from the youngest team members. Presented with the ASTC Youth Development and Programming Community.May 13, 2021
Extending the discussion started in September 2020, Membership 2021 focuses on on how science centers and museums have been engaging members and strengthening ties with this core audience. Presented with the ASTC Membership Professionals Community. Watch video of membership case studies.May 6, 2021
Fundraising explored how science centers and museums have been approaching annual funds, grant writing, and donor engagement during the pandemic.. Presented with the ASTC Development Professionals Community. Watch video of fundraising case studies.April 29, 2021
Teacher Professional Development focused on how science centers and museums have been—and are planning to— support classroom teachers through online and in-person professional-development opportunities, curriculum development, and other resources. Watch video of teacher PD case studies.April 22, 2021
Continuing last year’s discussion, Marketing 2021 focused on how science centers and museums are adapting communications, messaging, and pricing in their communities. Presented with the ASTC Marketing Professionals Community. Watch video of marketing case studies.April 15, 2021
Birthday Parties and Fee-based Programs focused on birthday parties and fee-based programs—from what we’ve learned in the past year, to what we’re doing now in-person and online, to what’s in the works for coming months. Watch video of case studies from different institutions about delivering birthday parties and fee-based programs during a pandemic.April 8, 2021
Making and Tinkering focused on how science centers are approaching making and tinkering programs and spaces during the pandemic. Presented with the ASTC Making & Tinkering Spaces in Museums Community. Watch video of case studies about delivering making and tinkering programs during the pandemic.April 1, 2021
Building on last year’s hangout, Supporting Communities 2021 shared ways that science centers and museums have been supporting their communities, including during crises, what has been learned, and what is in motion for the coming year. Watch video of different case studies on community-support initiatives.March 25, 2021
Theaters focused on operating (or planning) planetarium shows, large-format films, science-theatre productions, and other presentations within theater facilities. Presented with the ASTC Museum Screens Community. Watch video of case studies from different institutions about their theaters and programming.March 18, 2021
Volunteers explored how science centers and museums are engaging volunteers in operations, education, fundraising, and other ways during COVID-19. Presented with the ASTC Volunteer Managers Community. Watch video of field-trip and group-visit case studies.March 11, 2021
Field Trips and Group Visits shared how science centers and museums are supporting schools, homeschool groups, and other organizations with group experiences, both online and in-person. Watch video of field-trip and group-visit case studies.March 4, 2021
Galas and Fundraising Events focused on planning and running (or not) philanthropic gatherings during the pandemic, learning from what has been discovered during the past 12 months. Presented with the ASTC Development Professionals Community. Watch video of gala/fundraising event case studies.February 25, 2021
With the benefit of what has been learned over the past year, Camps 2021 focused on planning and operating virtual, in-person, and hybrid camps this year. Presented with the ASTC Camp Programs for Youth Community. Watch video of camp-program case studies.February 18, 2021
Outreach looked 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, 2020
Smaller Institutions 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, 2020
Membership looked 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, 2020
Visitor Services and Operations centered 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, 2020
School Programs explored different ways science centers and museums are serving students, teachers, and parents. Watch video of school-program case studies.September 10, 2020
Discovery Rooms 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, 2020
Revenue-Generating Education Programs focused on changes science centers are making to birthday parties, camps, and other programs both inside and outside the science center.June 25, 2020
Data Collection focused on how to support data collection methods while following safety protocols.June 23, 2020
Traveling Exhibitions focused on updates and changes that science centers are making to their traveling exhibition programs.June 19, 2020
K-12 and Out-of-School Time Partnerships focused on how science centers are supporting K-12 and out out-of-school time educators.June 16, 2020
Marketing and Communications focused on how science centers are sharing their re-opening process with their members and communities.June 11, 2020
Camps focused on supporting summer camp staff and campers in in-person and virtual settings.June 5, 2020
Supporting Communities focused on ways that science centers can support their communities, including during crises. June 4, 2020
Hands-on Exhibits focused on new ways for visitors and staff to interact with exhibits and hands-on experiences.Jun 4, 2020
Public Health and Safety focused on how to update and change safety and cleaning protocols to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.May 28, 2020 and June 2, 2020
Building Operations focused on supporting returning staff, welcoming the community back into your institution’s facilities, operating cafes, and managing theaters.May 21, 2020 and May 26, 2020

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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