Inform, Inspire and Entertain—these ideas are the crux of almost all science museum mission statements across the nation. But what happens when information becomes free, when Wikipedia can, with a couple clicks get you descriptions, animations and links to further resources? Are ‘inspire’ and ‘entertain’ enough? Ira and Brad will talk about programing that begins to add ‘engage’ to that list. While the idea is not new there have been few attempts at integrating engagement broadly into the science museum community. Can the museum become a place where the role of science and technology in our lives is actively discussed, where the values of visitors are acknowledged and where tools to be a participant in our increasingly technological democracy can be shared? A team supported by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISENet) and the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University set out to try. The team developed and presented a series of professional trainings across the nation reaching 100 plus museum professionals from over 50 institutions. Brad and Ira will talk about how NISENet has changed some cultures within the science museum community, about the Nanotechnology and Society workshops and a broader vision for the future of science museums in the US.
Arizona State University
Museum of Life and Science,