Institutions of Science Learning Recognized for Their Vital Role in Building Lifelong Interest in Science
Institutions of science learning around the world are joining forces to celebrate the third annual International Science Center and Science Museum Day (ISCSMD) on Saturday, November 10.
Launched in 2016 in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and regional networks of science centers and museums, this annual global event showcases the collective impact and reach of vibrant, community-based hubs for science exploration and discovery.
“Scientific advancements are vital to building a prosperous and sustainable future for all,” said Cristin Dorgelo, President and CEO of the Association of Science-Technology Centers in Washington, D.C. “On this day, we recognize the critical role our science centers and museums play in fostering widespread interest and inclusive participation in science, technology, and innovation—and the impact they have in their communities, the larger regions they serve, and the world around us.”
Through dedicated programs and exhibits, science learning institutions are demonstrating their ability to engage millions of visitors locally around issues related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals—and to develop solutions to worldwide challenges such as gender equity, climate change, human health, energy, water, oceans, and other issues facing all the world’s people.
Here are a few highlights—among many planned activities across the globe—of how science learning institutions will celebrate ISCSMD this year and of how these centers engage visitors of all ages through science:
Arizona Science Center in Phoenix invites visitors to explore the frontiers of the galaxy in space-themed activities that bring in cosmic light, sound, and motion. The science center is also in the process of developing a new space-based learning experience, partnering with NASA over the next three years to launch Moon and Beyond: An Immersive Game for STEM Learning in Museums and Planetariums.
The Tokushima Science Museum in Japan offers a special exhibition on “Mimicry of Creatures,” highlighting how animals can survive in nature by imitating something else. Visitors will be challenged to think about biodiversity and the importance of respecting and preserving natural environments.
The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia will host a day of activities featuring partners, live shows, and demonstrations, that reveal the science that takes place in the kitchen. The Franklin Test Kitchen Day will host hands-on science experiences, and the museum will also host a food drive with the local food bank.
Explora, the Children’s Museum of Rome, will host two special workshops. The first, “Hidden Seeds,” will explore a vegetable garden and experiment with microscope observations, chemical reactions and discoveries like real biologists. Through “Leafy Friends,” visitors will enter the world of the vegetable garden’s flowers, fruits, and insects, and through colors, scents, and experiments, gain an understanding of how to care for, and engage with, the environment.
The Cape Town Science Center in South Africa will offer a series of hands-on, minds-on workshops ranging from coding with a simple programming language to sustainability activities, in collaboration with Arizona State University’s Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives.
ISCSMD coincides with UNESCO’s annual World Science Day for Peace and Development, an internationally celebrated day that focuses on the importance of science in—and for—society, based on the belief that science, peace, and development are interlinked. To mark the 70th anniversary of 1948’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UNESCO selected “Science as a Human Right” as the theme for this year’s celebration.
ISCSMD was founded on the belief that each person in the world, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, or geographic location, should have access to science. For the third annual ISCSMD, science centers and science museums from across the globe will showcase exhibitions, programs, and special events that underscore a collective faith in this ideal—and showcase how they actively practice equity and inclusion daily.
Founded in 1973, ASTC now represents more than 700 organizational members that welcome more than 120 million people each year in more than 50 countries around the world. ASTC members include not only science centers and museums, but also nature centers, aquariums, planetariums, zoos, botanical gardens, and natural history and children’s museums, as well as companies, consultants, and other organizations that share an interest in informal science education. Through strategic alliances and global partnerships, ASTC strives to increase awareness of the valuable contributions its members make to their communities and the field of informal STEM learning. Learn more at www.astc.org.
International Science Center & Science Museum Day (ISCSMD) is a collaboration among the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and these global, regional, and national networks of science-engagement institutions: Asia Pacific Network of Science & Technology Centres (ASPAC), Association of Science -Technology Centers (ASTC), European network of science centres and museums (Ecsite), North Africa and Middle East Science centers network (NAMES), National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) of India, Red de popularización de la Ciencia y la Tecnología en América Latina y el Caribe (RedPOP), Southern African Association of Science & Technology Centres (SAASTEC), Association for Science and Discovery Centres (ASDC) in the United Kingdom, Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC), Ciência Viva Centres Network in Portugal, and Japan Science Museum Association (JASMA).