Collaborations between universities and science museums were the focus of a recent workshop at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Organized by Bo Hammer of the Franklin Institute, the workshop was funded by APS, under the leadership of past president and co-organizer Leo Kadanoff. Spanning May 31 and June 1, the workshop attracted about 45 participants from around the US, as well as a group from Israel.
Many APS members are funded to do outreach as part of their research grants, and seek out their local science center as a potential partner, yet forging a successful collaboration is tricky, according to Hammer. The workshop helped participants identify ways of improving these collaborations.
“The workshop was very successful,” said Hammer. “The participants benefited from the networking and the opportunity to share their expertise and experiences with colleagues.”
To follow up, a series of best practices and recommendations will be compiled so that both sides can better understand the needs of the other. Findings from the workshop will be put on a new APS website as an outreach resource guide. The organizers are also planning a session at the annual meeting of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) this October in Philadelphia, and they plan to propose a session on University/Science Center Collaboration for the 2009 APS March Meeting.