In recent decades a new kind of educational institution had become popular and successful in the United States: the public science and technology learning centers. Many of these institutions include the word "museum" in their names, but they have little else in common with the traditional museum. They are populist, interactive facilities designed to expose the inner workings of natural phenomena and man-made processes, alive with moving gears and levers, activated computers and meters, flashing strobes and lasers, and other participatory exhibits. Their primary purpose is to explain scientific concepts and technological artifacts. Victor Danilov directs one of the largest and most innovative of these contemporary science and technology learning centers. He has appropriately provided in this book a hands-on, nuts-and-bolts, do-it-yourself guide to the planning, building, and operating of such a facility. His early chapters cover the educational philosophy and historical development of the institution, and outline areas of specialization-the physical sciences, natural history, planetarium-based astronomy, health, transportation, manufacturing processes, childrens' exhibits. But the heart of the book consists of practical advice from an enthusiastic promoter of the concept, illustrated with numerous examples of successful programs initiated by centers scattered throughout the country and abroad. Among the specific topics treated in detail are organization, the governing board, administration and management, staffing, financing and fund-raising activities, accounting, physical facilities and security, public relations, community services, educational programming, publications, membership, collections management, exhibit design, temporary and traveling exhibitions, and techniques of evaluation. Victor J. Danilov is president and director of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. He is past president of the Association of Science-Technology Centers.
Nonfiction, Social Sciences, Sociology,