Archive for the 'Community' Category

Innovation Labs in Indian Science Centers

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 by ExhibitFiles

This case study complements the article Inside the Process: Three Exhibit Development Case Studies, which appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of Dimensions magazine.

Case Study contributed by E. Islam, director, Birla Industrial & Technological Museum, Kolkata, India

To promote national competitiveness in the 21st century, the president of India declared the present decade (2010–20) as the “decade of innovation.” Taking the agenda forward, Indian science centers under the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) have joined with the National Innovation Council in spearheading India’s innovation initiatives. NCSM science centers are now setting up Innovation Labs as essential components of their facilities to provide a platform for youth to engage in innovative and creative activities.

The first of such Innovation Labs was inaugurated in August 2013 at the Birla Industrial & Technological Museum in Kolkata by Sam Pitroda, advisor to the prime minister of India and chairman of the National Innovation Council.

Spread over a 2,500-square-foot (232-square-meter) area, the Innovation Lab has the following components: Hall of Fame (multimedia kiosks telling the stories of major inventors and their inventions in various fields); Innovation Resource Centre (providing online access to innovation-centric resources including grass-roots innovation databases); Activity Laboratory (providing facilities for carrying out innovative activities, experiments, and projects in a multidisciplinary set-up); Tech Lab (facilitating creative and innovative works in robotics and automation).

The lab is currently being used during weekends by its registered members from schools and undergraduate colleges. They either work on their own ideas or choose one from the idea bank created collaboratively by the members. Most projects in the lab relate to real life problems identified by the students themselves.

ExhibitSEED- Measuring an Exhibit’s Sustainability

Friday, June 28th, 2013 by ExhibitFiles

Kari Jensen, Senior Exhibit Developer, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry tells the story of a problem the team encountered and about how it influenced the team’s understanding of sustainable decision-making.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and project partners were awarded a five-year grant entitled Sustainability: Promoting sustainable decision-making in informal education by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2009. Since then, the project team has developed and vetted tools including the Sustainable Decision-Making Tool and the Green Exhibit Checklist to help museum professionals create more sustainable exhibits that take into account social, environmental, and economic considerations. In 2012, was launched, and in the spring of 2013, five ExhibitSEED professional development workshops were held around the country to train exhibit developers, designers, and fabricators on developing more sustainable exhibits.

At the outset of OMSI’s NSF-funded project on sustainable decision-making, we intended to monitor an exhibit’s sustainability just like anything else—with a set of quantifiable indicators that we could measure at different points in the project to see if we were improving, and if so, by how much. In order to achieve this seemingly straightforward goal, we devised a set of indicators to measure and assess the sustainability of our exhibit development process over time. These indicators would measure social sustainability, economic sustainability, and environmental sustainability of the project.

We created an online survey to track our progress. All project team members logged in weekly to report on social indicators like “team learning” and “team satisfaction,” economic ones like “variance to budget,” and environmental ones—like “waste generated” and “greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from staff project-related travel.” The surveys were tedious, and felt like a waste of time. Counting every sheet of paper and tea bag that was recycled was time consuming and didn’t feel like one of the more impactful decisions that could be made on a project of this scale. Plus, figuring out how much staff paper use was accountable to this project specifically was a challenge when most of us were working on several projects simultaneously. Whether or not people rode their bikes to meetings or drove cars to meetings was interesting but we just didn’t have very many off-site meetings, so again the impact seemed minimal. Plus, it was increasingly apparent than many of the social considerations were not necessarily quantifiable or comparable to other measures—for example, how do you measure a missed opportunity for supporting underserved audiences, and what would that mean in budgetary terms?

Our team was beginning to understand that sustainability is a much more complex concept—and that these specific measurements were almost meaningless without explaining the context around each and every number. We realized that measuring sustainability is far more nuanced and complex than a standardized set of questions could possibly represent.

Sustainability itself is an ideal—it isn’t a destination that is possible to achieve, but rather a journey along which we try to make better, more well rounded decisions by intentionally widening our scope of decision-making criteria. We widen this scope to give a voice to the many valid considerations that should play a role in decision-making but often don’t– especially ones that may not be easily assessed by looking at an Excel spreadsheet. For example, how much stress and grief might one of our budget-driven choices cause staff members or exhibit repair staff down the line? How might purchasing exhibit pieces from the cheapest vendor in town inadvertently harm a woman or minority-owned business struggling to make ends meet? What part does ordering plywood from across the country play in transportation related carbon emissions?

So after a year or two of struggling to measure specific indicators, we realized that it is more valuable to pay attention to the actual discussions that feed into making decisions, rather than the particular outcome of decisions. We developed the “Sustainable Decision-making Tool” to help teams identify these many considerations. When using this tool, teams are forced to take a hard look at all of the visible and invisible impacts of their decisions. The goal of making a more-sustainable choice comes down to making the choice that maximizes positive benefits. Of course every choice has tradeoffs and this tool is also intended to give light to the real tradeoffs that are being made with every choice.

ExhibitSEED workshop participantsAt the beginning of the project, our team oftentimes defaulted to making so-called sustainable decisions based on environmental or “green” considerations, but we tended to overlook some of the important social and economic ones. We found that after putting all of the considerations on the table with the Sustainable Decision-making Tool, we were automatically starting to bring up social, economic, and environmental aspects to every decision in every conversation we had, whether we used the tool or not. It became ingrained in our thinking. As a result of this new approach, we have made many choices that may seem to the untrained eye as less sustainable, but you may find that there were more net positive impacts of the decision than the alternatives.

We invite you to try out the tools and resources offered at, and challenge you to use the three pillars frame of social, economic, and environmental considerations with your project team. You may be surprised by how your project can be more sustainable!

Didn’t make one of the regional ExhibitSEED workshops? Please join us for a free pre-conference workshop at ASTC in Albuquerque (pre-registration is required)!

What is ExhibitSEED? is a place for exhibit and museum professionals to find resources for developing, designing, and building more sustainable exhibits. ExhibitSEED resources are based on a three pillars approach to sustainability that includes environmental, economic, and social considerations. The resources on this website were developed from an interactive science museum perspective, but we hope the information will be valuable to exhibit professionals specializing in all types of museums. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) developed with input from local and national museum industry and design advisors.

What will I find at

Sustainable Practices: Practical tips for incorporating social, economic, and environmental considerations into each phase of exhibit development: Proposal Writing, Project Management, Content Research & Development, Design, Prototyping & Visitor Testing, Production, Evaluation, and End-life.

Decision Making Tool: An activity to use with your team, intended to inspire a well-rounded conversation that leads teams to decisions that consider all three (social, environmental, and economic) aspects of sustainability.

The Green Exhibit Checklist: a tool to evaluate the environmental sustainability of exhibits. It awards points in 5 key strategies for reducing the environmental impact of exhibit production, plus a sixth category for innovation.

Material Guide: an online guide that was created to help exhibit designers and builders choose materials that are better for the environment, for visitors and workers, and make economic sense.

Case Studies: Individual case studies of how museums are integrating the three pillars of sustainability into their operations.

Envisioning Sustainability: An activity designed to help teams explore the concept of sustainability.

Image information

Top: The Sustainable Decision-Making Tool is an activity that teams can do to inspire a well-rounded conversation that leads teams to decisions that consider all three (social, environmental, and economic) aspects of sustainability.

Bottom: ExhibitSEED workshop participants practice using the Green Exhibit Checklist to assess the environmental sustainability of an existing exhibit.

Bilingual Exhibits Research Initiative

Friday, August 17th, 2012 by ExhibitFiles

Nan Renner, Cecilia Garibay, Carlos Plaza, and Steven Yalowitz describe the Bilingual Exhibits Research Initiative, a National Science Foundation Pathways Exploratory Research Project

Does your institution create multilingual exhibits? Do you wonder about how multilingual exhibits may influence engagement and learning?

The Bilingual Exhibits Research Initiative (BERI), NSF DRL#1010666, strives to address professionals’ questions and build our collective knowledge related to:

• How informal science institutions create bilingual exhibits;
• How Spanish-speaking and bilingual visitors use bilingual exhibits; and
• How bilingual exhibits can support engagement with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) among Latinos in the US.

Bilingual Exhibits—Professional Practices

The BERI team conducted interviews with professionals at 22 U.S. informal science education (ISE) institutions to document current bilingual exhibit practices.
This effort builds on a survey conducted by ASTC and the Exploratorium in 2011.Bilingual  study participants look at and point to a map within a bilingual  exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Photo shot with a  SenseCam worn by a study participant.

Research questions focus on staff knowledge, beliefs, and practices:
• Who is the audience for bilingual exhibits?
• What is the form and content of bilingual exhibits?
• What is the process for creating bilingual exhibits?
• How do visitors interact with bilingual exhibits?  (as observed and hypothesized)

Publication of these research results is in progress.

Many institutions believe that providing Spanish text increases engagement among Spanish-speakers, although we have very little information about how visitors actually use bilingual exhibits and the resulting benefits.

ISE professionals’ questions about audiences and bilingual exhibits have helped to shape the research agenda with visitors, e.g., Who uses bilingual exhibits, and how? Do bilingual exhibits create visual or mental overload? How much Spanish text is enough? Will bilingual exhibits encourage attendance?

Bilingual Exhibits—Visitor Uses and Benefits

Observations and interviews with Spanish-speaking visitors in social groups will document how visitors use exhibit resources and how they perceive the benefits of bilingual exhibits.

A  bilingual visitor group interacts with geology exhibits while  researchers record observations. Low resolution photo shot with a  SenseCam worn by a researcher.

Research questions focus on social activity involving language (speaking and reading):

• How do individuals and groups engage with text in bilingual exhibits?
• What indicators of learning can be observed?
• How do patterns of engagement and learning correspond with exhibit features?
• How do visitors perceive the benefits of bilingual exhibits?

You can participate! Help create an online archive of bilingual exhibits by adding your reviews, case studies, and “bits”  to ExhibitFiles. Don’t forget to tag your post with “bilingual.”

Post a comment! What are your questions, concerns, and conundrums related to bilingual exhibits? What have you learned about creating bilingual exhibits? Are you engaged in cross cultural visitor studies in museums?

Bilingual visitor groups use both languages when reading and speaking. Photographic data from a SenseCam worm by a study participant shows a rock with an embedded fossil, multi-party touching, and pointing to English text (left) and Spanish text (right). In analysis, the research team will integrate data fro audio recordings, live observations, SenseCam images, and activity-in-context photographs.

Research sites include:

San Diego Natural History Museum, the Miami Science Museum, and two other ISE institutions chosen to represent diversity of content, geographic region, and Latino cultural groups. We began data collection in June 2012 and will complete in fall 2012. This Pathways research project will be completed in June 2013.

This exploratory research, funded by NSF’s Division of Research on Learning, will build knowledge about how informal science institutions create bilingual exhibits, how visitors use bilingual exhibits, and how bilingual exhibits may expand access to science learning for Latinos in U.S. science centers and museums.

Image information

Top: Bilingual  study participants look at and point to a map within a bilingual  exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum. Photo shot with a  SenseCam worn by a study participant.

Center: A bilingual visitor group interacts with geology exhibits while researchers record observations. Low resolution photo shot with a SenseCam worn by a researcher.

Bottom: Bilingual visitor groups use both languages when reading and speaking. Photographic data from a SenseCam worm by a study participant shows a rock with an embedded fossil, multi-party touching, and pointing to English text (left) and Spanish text (right). In analysis, the research team will integrate data fro audio recordings, live observations, SenseCam images, and activity-in-context photographs.

Creating ExhibitFiles – looking back, looking ahead

Friday, December 9th, 2011 by Wendy Pollock

As the National Science Foundation grant that supported development of ExhibitFiles comes to an end,  Kathleen McLean and I share some reflections.

Opening ExhibitFiles in April 2007 was like opening a public park. There was a vision and a setting—but until people began to arrive, this community website for the exhibition field was almost literally empty.

ExhibitFiles site architecture in March 2007We had projected that perhaps 100 people would join and contribute 30 exhibition case studies. Five years later, membership exceeds 2,000 and continues to grow, with 390+ case studies and reviews posted to date. Instead of the projected 1,000 visits a month, the site regularly exceeds 5,000.

When we received National Science Foundation funding to develop ExhibitFiles in January 2006 (with ASTC as grantee organization, Ideum as designer/software developer), we conceived of the site as part archive and part community. It would be a place to preserve and share experiences and build reflective exhibition practice. The site—including its architecture, software, user interface, and what we came to think of as its human system—was designed to be a work in progress.

We have been able to extend a three-year grant to cover six years of work, three rounds of evaluation, and two major redesigns. Although the NSF grant ends in December, program officers have come to speak of ExhibitFiles as part of the “infrastructure” that supports work in informal science education, and we are grateful that ASTC remains committed to maintaining the site.

As with many other design experiments, along the way there have been insights and unexpected delights as well as some dilemmas still unresolved. With the benefit of evaluation findings and critical review by friends of the site, we share here some observations and reflections on what might happen next.

We have delighted in watching ExhibitFiles grow into an international and interdisciplinary community of practitioners who join together for inspiration, knowledge building, and critique. Members come from 57 countries and a wide variety of museums, academic institutions, and other organizations. Evaluation tells us that while some members post case studies and reviews to raise their professional visibility, more altruistic motivations—like contributing to their professional community—are at least as common.

Discovery Room, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DCMany case studies have been about science exhibitions, 26 of them NSF-funded, including classics like the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Discovery Room in Washington, D.C. (Judith White), and more recent award-winners like the Huntington Botanical Garden’s Plants Are Up to Something in San Marino, California (Karina White). But over time, we have seen more posts about art galleries and offbeat museums like St. Louis’s City Museum (Jason Jay Stevens). The site provides us with both delightful and haunting glimpses of places near and far—from Austin, Minnesota’s Spam Museum (Dan Spock) to the Choeung Ek Genocide Museum near Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Mary Marcussen).

ExhibitFiles includes both thorough pieces by museum elders and first attempts at review by museum studies students on assignment. The sense of camaraderie, common purpose, devotion to the larger museum field, and sometimes even celebration is evident in contributions and comments. In addition, participants have told project evaluator Carey Tisdal why they value the site. “I love, love, love the case study forum,” said one participant. “That alone provides insight into design and exhibits that is invaluable to designers who don’t have large travel budgets. It is great for inspiration as well as critical reflection.”

We have also identified some areas where ExhibitFiles could be improved. As content builds beyond original expectations, findability becomes more important. We have added open tagging and a browse page. But search functionality is still not what we wish it would be, and evaluation suggests this contributes to a sense that the site is slowly getting bogged down.

People want places to discuss issues and listen in on important conversations. But we wonder whether the current format of ExhibitFiles will be sufficiently adaptable given how much has changed since early 2006. Back then, Facebook wasn’t in general use and Twitter was just on the horizon. It’s now so easy to start a blog or create an online presence that the role of centralized gathering places is an open question. What happens, then, to a devotion not only to my online profile but also to our common field?

What now?
Although the media landscape has changed in recent years, the need for shared experience, reflection, and inspiration has not. The fact that people continue to join ExhibitFiles—even though some may hesitate to disclose details of their own experience or venture a review—seems to us evidence of a continuing thirst for what communities at their best have to offer.

What might help ExhibitFiles remain of service to the exhibition community? Here are some things we hope the site and its community will accomplish in the coming months and years:

  • Welcome. Much of the richness of ExhibitFiles comes from its embrace of the whole museum exhibition community, not just science centers. Members of the site have recommended that ExhibitFiles be more explicit in its inclusion of all sectors of the museum field. We agree.
  • Remember. From the beginning, we hoped ExhibitFiles would be hospitable to both new discoveries and old traditions. As the site has evolved, however, current reviews and recently completed projects have tended to take center stage. But there is much wisdom in past experience. We want to see more reviews and case studies of older, classic exhibitions. One of Kathy’s first posts on ExhibitFiles quotes Canadian designer Bruce Mau: “Growth is only possible as a product of history. Without memory, innovation is mere novelty. History gives growth a direction.”
  • Take risks. Every exhibition is an opportunity to see the world in a different way and tempt people beyond their comfort zones. We want to see more criticism and deep reflection on ExhibitFiles—that’s what other members have told the evaluator, too. We wonder: What would have to happen to make ExhibitFiles more congenial for conversations that wake us up and shake us up?

We are grateful to NSF for taking a risk with this project and to our collaborators, the Ideum programming and design team led by Jim Spadaccini, and evaluators Randi Korn (front-end studies) and Carey Tisdal (remedial and summative studies). And we are grateful to our Core Contributors who were the first to venture into the new and empty public park—and to every one of you, for making it your own. We look forward to continuing our own participation—and to contributing our own pre-internet memories and provocations.

Wendy Pollock was director of research, publications, and exhibitions at ASTC until 2009 and principal investigator (PI) of the NSF grant that supported development of ExhibitFiles. Kathleen McLean, principal of the museum consulting firm Independent Exhibitions, was co-PI. Wendy now lives in Evanston, Illinois, mostly working these days with urban and community forestry projects.

This look back at the creation of ExhibitFiles also appears in the January/February issue of ASTC Dimensions. A report on the evaluation just completed by Carey Tisdal will also be shared here in early 2012.

To learn more about ExhibitFiles or for assistance in posting a case study or review, contact Wendy Hancock (

Exhibitions designed to be mobile

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 by Wendy Pollock

NAME Journal, Exhibitionist, Spring 2011 issueThe National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME) is seeking articles for the Spring 2012 of its journal, Exhibitionist, about exhibitions designed to be mobile. This includes:

  • traveling exhibitions in the traditional sense – designed by an organization or consortium and sent on the road to a number of venues
  • museum-sponsored vans or buses that extend a museum’s reach in its community or state
  • “pop up” exhibitions- created by one or more designers or by visitors themselves – that appear in neighborhoods or other venues, not necessarily museums.

If you’re interested, send an abstract by August 1st to editor Gretchen Jennings. In 250 words maximum, briefly describe your article; how it relates to issue theme; your background/qualifications for writing the article. Abstracts will be vetted by our editorial advisory board, and you will be notified of acceptance or non/acceptance within several weeks.

For back issues of the journal, visit the NAME website.

Contact: Gretchen Jennings, Exhibitionist Editor, gretchenjennings[at]
Abstract deadline: August 1, 2011.

Common as air? Lewis Hyde challenges museums on questions of culture, property, and the collective good

Monday, June 20th, 2011 by myriam

Lewis Hyde at 2011 AAM ConferenceThanks to Myriam Springuel of Springuel Consulting for this guest post. She is Vice-Chair of The Museum Group, sponsors of Lewis Hyde’s Thought Leader session at the Houston 2011 American Association of Museums Conference. Hyde is author of Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership (2010), The Gift, Creativity and the Artists in the Modern World (1979), and Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth and Art (1998).

Lewis Hyde challenges those working in the cultural arena to be more engaged in protecting the cultural commons – those inventions, discoveries, and creative works that are our common heritage. It is a tough challenge because this is not about joining a campaign based on a sound-bite slogan. Rather it is about understanding the complicated ways in which we create civil society based on the idealism of the founding fathers of the United States. Ultimately, it is about the ways in which the expression of culture, limited by enclosures or encroachments – like those that shut 18th-century English villagers out of the commons on which they had traditionally grazed their sheep – defines how we express ourselves as human beings. Part of what makes Lewis Hyde’s challenge so difficult is that we have to learn vocabulary and pay attention to history to talk about the subject.

Common as Air, by Lewis HydeThe focus of Lewis Hyde’s presentation at the recent AAM conference was on questions raised in his latest book, Common as Air, around who owns the cultural commons, why that commons is being increasingly restricted, and ways in which various communities are organizing to challenge those restrictions to find new ways of working that are appropriate for the Internet age.

It was in order to encourage creativity and the “useful arts” that the founders in 1790 created the legal tools that protect the work of inventors, writers, and artists for a limited time. They believed democratic self-governance requires a free flow of ideas; copyright and patents allowed for a limited monopoly, giving the inventor or thinker remuneration as an incentive to work, with a limited time during which others could not profit from that work. Recently, the length of time for exclusion, originally about 14 years, has greatly increased; in many cases, the burden of proof has shifted, making it more expensive and complicated to defend fair use.

Property, whether tangible or intangible, is a right of action; those actions have limits. For example, I own my house and can keep people out. But I cannot turn that house into a factory or a parking lot, or do any number of other things with or from that house. The 18th century saw important arguments about property and ownership. Jefferson, for instance, argued that the only way to exclude someone from an idea is to keep it in your head. Non-rivalrous and non-excludable property was much discussed by the founders. It has long been understood that water, air, and fire are common goods. Public policy generally addresses the balance between property held in common and property held individually. The Internet had fundamentally challenged how we share ideas. In response, we are just starting to develop different ways of owning and sharing ideas.

Hyde was particularly provocative in reminding us that these questions are rooted in how we imagine the human self. For whom do we make works of art, explore science, or express creativity? Where do ideas come from? Hyde reminded us that the creative self is both individual and collective. He offered the term “dividual” – the many parts that make me including my self, my family, my community – as opposed to “individual.” Benjamin Franklin and Bob Dylan, for example, had remarkable gifts. But their talent is both an expression of the many influences on their work and their “dividual” self. Once I mix my labor with culture, how much can I take credit for?

In museums, Hyde suggested, I become myself. I become present. What is the self that comes to life? Is it a dividual or an individual self?

Practices around cultural property allow us to be certain kinds of selves. With them we enable or disable ways of being human. Hyde challenges us to participate in the debate about what it means to be a cultural citizen in the 21st century; knowing the history of the debate is critical to understanding its implications. Hyde did not provide pat answers but gave examples of how some fields are responding to these questions. For instance Creative Commons, the Bermuda Principles for the Human Genome, or the principles behind Cap and Trade are each grounded in “declaration”; academic scientists, French chefs, and comedians police each other, yet build on each others’ work through agreed-upon conventions.

During this AAM Thought Leader session, Lewis Hyde challenged museum professionals to be active participants in discussions about the philosophies and values that will guide the choices we make as a society – a discussion that is much broader than the museum field, but is at the heart of why so many of us are passionate about museum work.

Critical eyes (and ears)

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 by Wendy Pollock

If you’re thinking of visiting New York or Washington, D.C. any time soon, check out the exhibition reviews by all of the museum studies students from Bank Street College and George Washington University. They’ve been fanning out to museums throughout those cities over the last several weeks and together have posted nearly 50 reviews. Thanks to their observations and critiques, we have a record of some temporary exhibitions like the Whitney’s Glen Ligon: AMERICA and fresh takes on some exhibitions and experiences like the Tenement Museum. (At right is an image by Amanda Salles from MOMA’s Looking at Music 3.0.)

Thank you to all of the students for sharing your experiences and your thinking. With your newly honed critical skills, we hope you’ll continue to contribute even when your classes end. And thanks also to Paul Orselli, Kathy McLean, Dana Allen-Greil, and Carrie Kotcho, who encouraged their students to share their reviews with the ExhibitFiles community.

Museums, memorials, sites of conscience

Friday, March 25th, 2011 by Wendy Pollock

NAME (the National Association for Museum Exhibition) is seeking article proposals for the Fall 2011 issue of its journal, Exhibitionist, on the theme “museums, memorials, and sites of conscience.”NAME journal cover

Editor Gretchen Jennings writes that the journal is particularly interested in through case studies and analyses of

  • The emergence of museums and memorials in the United States and around the world that commemorate human suffering and injustice
  • Challenges faced by museum professionals, particularly those in the exhibition development field, in creating effective exhibitions, public spaces, and programs.

Challenges might involve:

  • History and geography: can this story be told at this time in this place? If not, why not; if so how?
  • Point of view: from whose perspective(s) will the story be told?
  • Audience: who is the intended/appropriate audience?
  • Mission: is the institution for reflection; for raising social consciousness; for inspiring action; all or some of these?
  • Design: Are there common design/programmatic features as well as new ideas for engaging visitors with these difficult topics?

Abstracts (maximum 250 words) are due by April 22. Briefly describe your article; how it relates to issue theme; your background/qualifications for writing the article. Abstracts are vetted by the NAME editorial advisory board and authors notified of acceptance or non/acceptance within several weeks. First drafts (maximum 2,400 words) are due June 24 and final drafts by July 31, 2011. Contact: Gretchen Jennings, Editor, NAME .

Peter Anderson

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 by Wendy Pollock

Peter Anderson, known to many in the science museum field, died October 15 near his home in Victoria, BC. A member of ExhibitFiles, Peter was author of the 1991 book Before the Blueprint, which offered guidance to science center planners during a time of peak growth. The book drew on his own extensive experience with museum start-ups and expansions, from Amsterdam to San Jose, Pittsburgh to Glasgow.

Peter was also instrumental in the Museum Impact and Evaluation Study, which resulted in a three-volume report published in 1993 on “Roles of Affect in the Museum Visit and Ways of Assessing Them.” The study group was interested in relationships repeat visitors form with what they called “icon exhibits,” like the Buhl Planetarium’s railroad layout and the Museum of Science and Industry’s Coal Mine.

Many of us also will remember Peter for his contributions in recent years to discussions on ISEN-ASTC-L, the Informal Science Education listserv, and his warm presence at ASTC and Ecsite conferences. He will be missed.

New in the Exhibitionist: Cultural Journeys

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 by Wendy Pollock

The latest issue of Exhibitionist, the journal of the National NAME journal coverAssociation for Museum Exhibition (NAME), appeared in mailboxes last week.  In The International Project: A Cultural Journey, authors (mostly from North America) share frustrations and insights gleaned from work in other countries, ranging from France to Rwanda, Ukraine to Nepal.

As usual, there are also exhibition sightings (in Exhibits Newsline, edited by Beth Redmond-Jones) and Nuts and Bolts articles, including one on writing labels for translation by Penny Jennings.

NAME generously posts back issues after a year, but even before then, some articles can be downloaded free here, including an article from the Spring 2010 issue by Donna Braden called “Your Personal Toolkit: Easing through Friction, Fracas, and Free-for-All.”