Globally, members of the public are increasingly concerned about climate change and other threats to our planet’s health, including biodiversity loss and air, soil, and water pollution. Science centers and museums provide unique opportunities for visitors and their broader communities to learn more about the issues that concern them and how we can address them, as individuals, local communities, and citizens of the planet. As of 2018, over 85% of ASTC-member science centers and museums reported that their institution has opportunities for members of the public to explore climate change, energy, and/or biodiversity.
Further, science centers and museums offer a wide range of programming that allows members of the public to explore these topics. A majority have educational programs (86%), exhibits (80%), and public dialogues (55%). A sizable portion also offer teacher professional development (39%), citizen science or community problem solving (39%), and augmented reality, virtual reality, or other digital interactives (28%) on planetary health topics. The related issues of food and water are also well-represented at museums and science centers, again with large majorities offering educational programs (76%), exhibits (80%), and public dialogues (53%).
In the coming years, ASTC is committed to supporting our members to lead with their communities on addressing climate change and biodiversity, equity and justice, and other critical issues. We’re excited about the creative and impactful ways our members are already working on these issues and looking forward to amplifying our collective impact in the coming years.