Smithsonian-led Vaccines & US Initiative launches

Earlier today, a new Smithsonian-led nationwide initiative was launched to activate museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions in supporting efforts to provide Americans with accessible and trustworthy resources related to COVID-19 vaccination: “Vaccines & US: Cultural Organizations for Community Health.” The new VaccinesAndUS.org website includes free resources that cultural organizations can use to help their …

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National Endowment for the Humanities offers emergency relief grants

The U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has released details of a new funding program as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. These emergency relief grants will provide direct grants to individual institutions, designed to help the humanities community—broadly defined—recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (A separate …

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American Rescue Plan includes provisions helpful for museums

Later today, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to approve the version of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 which recently passed the Senate on a party-line vote. House approval will send the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 recovery bill for President Biden’s signature. While much of the media has focused on the direct payments …

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UK science center is first to serve as large vaccination location

The International Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, opened last week as a COVID-19 vaccination location operated by England’s National Health Service (NHS). It is believed to be the first large-scale vaccination site hosted by a science center. The vaccination clinic, which has the capacity to vaccinate up to 1,000 people per …

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Three ASTC members receive $100k COVID relief grants from the Mass Cultural Council

Last week, the Mass Cultural Council announced the recipients of its Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Grant Program. The program is part of Massachusetts’ economic recovery plan in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a release, Karyn Polito, Lt. Governor of the state, said “these grants will bring relief to many of our cultural institutions …

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Additional provisions in the December COVID relief and appropriations bill

ASTC is reading through the text of the almost 5,600-page omnibus spending and COVID relief bill for provisions relevant to the ASTC community. This is the third in a series of blog posts about the legislation in which we highlight other COVID relief provisions beyond changes to the Paycheck Protection Program including the opportunity for …

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Congress poised to extend Paycheck Protection Program and allow second draw

ASTC is reading through the text of the almost 5,600-page omnibus spending and COVID relief bill for provisions relevant to the ASTC community. This is the first in a series of blog posts about the legislation in which we highlight changes to the Paycheck Protection Program. Please also see another post discussing the new Grants …

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Lessons learned from a COVID summer

The variety of activities ASTC members conducted in the summer of COVID-19 have provided valuable lessons for all members of the ASTC community. With a bit of time to reflect on successes and not-so successful activities related to summer camps, a few U.S. ASTC members were willing to share their perspectives on what worked, what …

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Science center visits down almost 75% from 2019, but slowly increase after reopening

Members of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) that have reopened to the public after closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic have seen visitor attendance that is down 74 percent from the same time period in 2019. This is one example of the sobering information shared in a recent ASTC report detailing the …

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Children’s COVID-19 questions, worries, and information needs: Insights for the ISE field from research with families

This post was contributed by Evelyn Christian Ronning, Amy Grack Nelson, Marjorie Bequette, and Choua Her of the Science Museum of Minnesota. During the COVID-19 pandemic, up-to-date and accurate information is key—and kid-friendly information is often hard to come by. Knowledge and communication within families can help kids feel more secure and less worried about …

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Science centers have lost more than $600 million in revenue due to the pandemic

A new report from the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) estimates that ASTC museum members around the world have lost more than $600 million in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, almost overnight, every one of the ASTC’s nearly 500 member science and technology centers and museums closed their doors to …

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#InviteCongress for an August visit

This post was written in collaboration with the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) and is cross posted on the ACM blog. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on science and technology centers and museums, natural history museums, children’s museums, and other STEM-rich, place-based institutions. Our field is beginning to get a sense of …

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Grants from the National Endowment of the Humanities will help sustain seven ASTC Members through the COVID-19 pandemic

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $40.3 million in new grants to help more than 300 cultural institutions across the country navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. As part $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, NEH received $75 million in supplemental funding. The NEH’s CARES Act grants will help awardees retain staff who can preserve …

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Connecticut Science Center launches Love Science campaign

This post is contributed by Matt Fleury, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Science Center. Over the past several months, we have seen an historic public health crisis catapult us into a time of social and economic pain. This reminds us that life as we know it depends fundamentally on our ability to …

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Science Centers Step Up to Provide Childcare for Essential Workers

Even while their institutions’ doors are closed to the public, science and technology centers and museums are continuing to serve their missions and their communities. Here are two examples of ASTC members providing emergency childcare to the families of essential workers, using their expertise in engaging children in STEM and large, empty facilities. Helping the …

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Discussion Series: Rebuilding and Engaging Your Team in a COVID-19 World

With many science center and museum staff working in new ways, redeployed, and furloughed, how are you supporting their needs? How are they learning and coping with new roles? How will these extraordinary times shape your future workforce? Please join Dennis Schatz (Institute for Learning Innovation), Andy Aichele (COSI), Lesley Markham (ASTC) for a series …

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IMLS Issues Funding Opportunity for CARES Act Grants for Museums and Libraries

On May 8, the Institute of Museum of Library Services (IMLS) issued a new Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for IMLS Cares Act Grants for Museums and Libraries (CAG-ML-FY20). The IMLS CARES Act Grants for Museums and Libraries grant program invites project proposals that focus on preserving jobs, training staff, addressing the digital divide, planning …

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