Posted by: COSI | October 22, 2008

Whaddya Do at ASTC?

First of all I have to correct an inaccuracy in my previous blog on going to the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) conference. I listed the total attendance of all science centers as 55 million per year. A study released and highlighted at the conference as a result of a coordinated worldwide effort has identified over 2400 science centers around the globe with almost 300 MILLION interactions annually—quite the potential for positive impact! In fact, I spent much of the conference working with colleagues to collectively increase science centers’ capacity to strengthen our ability to address issues and opportunities facing our society—both locally and globally.

I’m working with a neat group of people on our international board—representing science centers in the US, Finland, Singapore, Belgium, and Canada, among others. We are serious about capturing our opportunities for positive change—but we do have our fun (just as we celebrate the joy of science at our institutions)—as we celebrated the 50th birthday of our Belgium colleague with crazy glasses and a wild tie (see picture).

When I’m not in meetings, part of the time is spent in the exhibit hall where we connect with vendors, partners, and have a chance to promote the traveling exhibits we develop—the upcoming Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science and Zula Patrol(in the photo you can see Bula of Zula Patrol strolling the exhibit floor helping). The little video gives you a feel for one of the many aisles in the exhibit hall where I walked around, checking out resources we may be able to tap, but also coming across friends I’ve met over the years. It’s not uncommon to catch up with someone who I haven’t seen for some time, pick up our conversation about how they may be improving their center’s impact and comparing that to what we’re working on at COSI.

It’s been reassuring to receive a fair amount of widespread recognition to some of COSI’s most innovative moves—connecting the public with public media through WOSU@COSI and leveraging a strong and strategic relationship with OSU for many different opportunities to connect real, relevant science and research with our guests. So even though we come back tired, we’re re-energized by the conversations and the recognition of positive change we get from our colleagues.

By the way, part of the conference involved lots of walking between the hotel/convention center and The Franklin Institute, the host organization around a very attractive section of Philadelphia—as the photo here shows. All together it makes for a great, if not exhausting, experience.

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