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Wendy Pollock

  • What I do, where I work

  • I’m a writer and editor based in the Chicago area. I work with informal education projects to develop partnerships, write grant proposals, and coordinate outreach and communication strategies. I was project director for ExhibitFiles during its start-up years. The idea for the site, a collaboration with Kathy McLean, Jim Spadaccini, and a wonderful group of advisors and contributors, in part grew out of my work over many years with the Association of Science-Technology Center’s traveling exhibition program. I’m now working with the James Agee Film Project and urban and community forestry organizations on plans for a multifaceted media production that includes a three-part film series called The Truth About Trees.

Positions

  • Editor in Chief at Journal of Museum Education

  • Director, Research, Publications, Exhibitions at Association of Science-Technology Centers

  • Principal Investigator and Director at Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education

Website(s)

  • More about me

  • Working with plants and the soil gives me hope, whether it’s planting native wildflowers in our garden, volunteering with TreeKeepers or a local two-acre farm project, or working with neighbors to restore the woodland in our small community.

Recent publications & presentations

  • Art by Computer

    Art by Computer

    Case Study

    by Wendy Pollock Published February 24 2008

    Long before the iPhone came on the scene, Apple Computer worked with the Lawrence Hall of Science to produce an exhibition that featured "45 of the best current computer artworks." Art by Computer went on to tour the United States through ASTC,...

  • Eureka!

    Eureka!

    Case Study

    by Wendy Pollock Published June 21 2007

    Invention and innovation are themes of perennial interest among science centers and technology museums. This exhibition presented a dozen inventions, drawing on the classic American narrative of the small-scale inventor whose good idea leads to...

  • Chips & Changes

    Chips & Changes

    Case Study

    by Wendy Pollock Published May 30 2007

    "Over the past decade" (we wrote in 1984), "videograms and robots, word processors and sonograms have entered into our daily vocabulary and provided the basis for countless news stories. All result from a technological achievement of major dimensions:...

  • Looking at the Light

    Looking at the Light

    Case Study

    by Wendy Pollock Published May 09 2007

    Looking at the Light was a traveling exhibition with a big mission: to demonstrate the power of hands-on exhibits and (as we said in the final report) "to facilitate sharing of the Exploratorium's expertise and vision." At the time the project was...

  • Greenhouse Earth

    Greenhouse Earth

    Case Study

    by Wendy Pollock Published April 23 2007

    The exhibition looked at the science behind global climate change—how people are changing the atmosphere, what effects these changes may have on climate and on people, and what might be done to mitigate it. Major subthemes/areas: Greenhouse Earth—...

  • CB Radio

    CB Radio

    Case Study

    by Wendy Pollock Published April 10 2007

    The exhibition introduced CB radio at a time when it was still a new phenomenon, using hands-on exhibits. Included were four functioning CB units visitors could use to talk with each other and two computers where they could learn about regulation of...

  • Vision: The Precious Treasure

    Vision: The Precious Treasure

    Case Study

    by Wendy Pollock Published April 10 2007

    This exhibition gave visitors a chance to examine their own eyes more closely and to learn about tools used by eye care specialists. A section on the aging eye examined both normal changes and major eye diseases most commonly associated with old age....

  • Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life

    Wild Music: Sounds & Songs of Life

    Case Study

    by Wendy Pollock Published April 10 2007

    Wild Music explores evidence for the biological origins of music through highly interactive exhibits and exceptional sound experiences—and in the process, expands our understandings of what makes music.

  • Out Quiet Yourself

    Out Quiet Yourself

    Review

    by Wendy Pollock Published February 03 2012

    This is one of those simple ideas that starts with an experience most children have had: trying to walk really quietly. It adds a note of challenge and competition and makes its point quickly. Part of a collection called Listen, which was developed...

  • Unfinished Business

    Unfinished Business

    Review

    by Wendy Pollock Published September 14 2010

    The Hull-House Museum, in its newly renovated space on Chicago's Halsted Street, has fully embraced the role of the museum in service to society. In the spirit of Jane Addams, founder of the settlement house that once was located here, this...

  • Garden of the Five Senses

    Garden of the Five Senses

    Review

    by Wendy Pollock Published August 21 2009

    Midcoast Maine is beautiful even in its uncultivated state, with its granite cliffs, rugosa roses, and fragrant balsam firs. The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens make the most of their location, not far from Boothbay - and the Garden of the Five Senses,...

  • Plants & Culture

    Plants & Culture

    Review

    by Wendy Pollock Published January 03 2008

    One of the lesser-known roles of the U.S. Congress is operating the U.S. Botanic Garden, located just down the hill from the Capitol Building. When I visited the other day in search of a mid-winter infusion of green, I encountered abundant poinsettias...

  • Sun Painting

    Sun Painting

    Review

    by Wendy Pollock Published November 06 2007

    No one who's seen the Sun Painting could ever forget it. Bob Miller created this luminous exhibit during the Exploratorium's early years. A heliostat on the roof, far overhead, tracks the sun's movement and reflects the sunlight off a mirror down into...

  • Museum of Civilization: Water and Stone

    Museum of Civilization: Water and Stone

    Review

    by Wendy Pollock Published July 29 2007

    The spectacular view down into the Grand Hall with its totem poles and house fronts is the iconic experience at Ottawa's Museum of Civilization/Musee des Civilisations. What the photographs don't convey is how it feels to come upon the hall as you move...

  • Where do you sit in the cafeteria?

    Where do you sit in the cafeteria?

    Review

    by Wendy Pollock Published May 04 2007

    This compelling area of the Race exhibition clearly derives its authenticity from the insights and involvement of the high school students with whom it was developed - and the invitation to visitors to contribute their own reflections. The form of the...

  • Tactile maps

    Tactile maps

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on February 03, 2010

    I saw this map at the Chicago Botanic Garden last fall. It's pleasing to look at and touch. But I think words could add to its interest and give a sighted member of a group something to read aloud...

  • Democracy, diversity & vegetables

    Democracy, diversity & vegetables

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on August 02, 2010

    Hull-House Museum in Chicago opened this urban farm three years ago and now sponsors a weekly farmers market just across Halsted Street from the old settlement house, founded by Jane Addams. Last week...

  • Evidence about labels

    Evidence about labels

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on September 30, 2010

    An earlier question asked whether there's any evidence about the effectiveness of different kinds of labels. Here's a link to an article by Stephen Bitgood about labels and the role of attention...

  • Month at the museum

    Month at the museum

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on October 26, 2010

    Kate McGroarty, selected from more than 1,500 contestants to spend a month at the Museum of Science and Industry (with a diorama-like cube as home), has been reporting nightly via YouTube. She gets...

  • Tree of Life interactive and video

    Tree of Life interactive and video

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on December 09, 2010

    Here's a resource from the Wellcome Trust, created in celebration of Darwin's 200th birthday last year: an interactive and film in which David Attenborough recaps evolution in less than 7 minutes. Thanks...

  • Designing environments for play-based science learning

    Designing environments for play-based science learning

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on January 31, 2011

    The Fall 2011 issue of the journal Children, Youth, and Environments will explore multi-disciplinary perspectives on the role of play in science learning with a focus on out-of-school spaces designed...

  • Julia Child cooks up primordial soup

    Julia Child cooks up primordial soup

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on March 10, 2011

    In this National Air and Space Museum video from the mid-70s, Julia Child (using a butcher knife as pointer) cooks up the building blocks of life in her own kitchen (signing off with her usual"bon appetit...

  • Japan's nuclear crisis: insight for museums

    Japan's nuclear crisis: insight for museums

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on March 13, 2011

    Alan Friedman writes today on the ISEN-ASTC list about Japan's unfolding nuclear crisis: "Many science centers have exhibitions on energy. A few centers include nuclear energy, with greater or lesser...

  • StoryCorps series about how museums change lives

    StoryCorps series about how museums change lives

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on April 15, 2011

    Richard and Masako Murakami talk about how volunteering at the Japanese American National Museum in LA has changed their lives (including helping them meet each other). Their story, recorded by StoryCorps...

  • Museums: "a safe meeting ground for families"

    Museums: "a safe meeting ground for families"

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on April 21, 2011

    Jeri Robinson reflects on the Boston Children's Museum's pioneering development of playspaces for very young children. "Just do something that's right for families and kids...Copy this, create something...

  • Night at the Lentos Museum

    Night at the Lentos Museum

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on April 28, 2011

    What is it about sleeping in a museum? Photographer Thom Trauner writes: "On Oct 2nd we've spent a night at the Lentos Museum/Linz, Austria. The Museum was transformed into a hotel. Kind of. White lines...

  • Wave Organ

    Wave Organ

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on June 02, 2011

    To find the Wave Organ, you have to walk on past the Exploratorium to the rocky shore of San Francisco Bay. In this 2008 News 10 report, you can listen in - and hear artist Peter Richards talk about...

  • Changing Places: From Black & White to Technicolor

    Changing Places: From Black & White to Technicolor

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on July 12, 2011

    This multi-part project of the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, North Carolina, won a 2010 award for "special achievement in community engagement" from the American Association of Museums...

  • Confronting Comfort: BMW Guggenheim Lab opens in NYC

    Confronting Comfort: BMW Guggenheim Lab opens in NYC

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on August 08, 2011

    A mobile laboratory where publics and planners can"work on inspiring ideas" for the nine cities that will host the lab over the next six years. The first iteration, which opened last week in New York...

  • Sunbeams streaming through leaves

    Sunbeams streaming through leaves

    Bit

    by Wendy Pollock on August 24, 2011

    Big pegboards are evidently used to create this moire pattern which, the makers say, "expresses symbolic beauty of natural phenomenon such as Komorebi (sunbeams streaming through leaves), Yurameki...

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