Monday, February 22, 2010

Museums & Science Fairs: follow up

On Friday, Justine posted about the President's plan to have a national science fair, and that museums should be at the table. She cited some great models of how this is already happening in Ireland, as a point of inspiration for the US. She just posted this follow-up:
"ASTC Informs just came into my mail box with this exciting note: 'The Inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival is looking for participants in its October 23rd & 24th Washington, DC Expo and for additions to its list of satellite festivals being held across the country. The event is the country’s first national science festival, and the Expo on the National Mall will feature more than 500 U.S. science and engineering organizations, each with a different hands-on science activity. To register for the Expo, or to learn how you can organize a satellite festival at your own organization, visit'" 
While this may not be formally integrated into the President's program, this is an amazing undertaking, and ASTC is listed as a partner. 

I was curious as to who was behind it. According to their site, the fair was founded by Larry Bock, who is listed as "Festival Inspiration and Executive Director". He sounds like quite the science fair winner himself:
"Larry is a successful serial entrepreneur... He was the inspiration and executive director of the Inaugural San Diego Science Festival which was the world’s largest science festival of its kind... He and his wife have contributed $250,000 of their own money toward the effort. In addition, Mr. Bock is working fulltime on the Festival and is not drawing any compensation."

Again, Museums don't appear to be a player in the President's STEM program of "Educate to Innovate". It looks as if it's primarily supported by public/private partnerships which leverage the core competency of the private partners (which is great). 

So I'm still left wondering how museums might participate in the national effort. There's a perfect match in terms of mission alignment, it's the cash that is the catch from what I can tell.

Next: Museums & Science Fairs: one city's case study

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