ASTC Annual Conference 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014 to Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Raleigh, NC
Event type: 

The NISE Network will have many activites and professional development opportunities at the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) annual conference:

Pre-conference workshop

The NISE Network will be offering a preconference workshop on Science and Society.

  • From Demonstration to Conversation: Engaging visitors in technology and society
    Friday, October 17, 2014: 9:00 AM-4:00 PM
    Museum of Life and Science
    Session Leader:
    Brad Herring, Museum of Life + Science
    This high-energy, hands-on workshop is designed to empower museum educators to engage visitors in meaningful conversations about the relevance of emerging technologies to our lives. Participants will learn key concepts about the relationships between  science, technology, and society, and receive specific training for conversation facilitation and hands-on content. Preregistration required. Limited to 40 participants. Fee: $60 per person (includes lunch and transportation).

Pre-Conference Tour:

Spend the Day at the Museum of Life + Science

Conference attendees are invited to spend the day at the Museum of Life + Science (prior to the NISE Network open house reception which will be held from 4pm-7pm).

  • Friday, October 17, 2014: 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
    Museum of Life+Science
    Spend the day touring the Museum of Life + Science – an 84-acre indoor-outdoor science center with 300+ hands-on exhibits and more than 60 species of live animals. Dinosaurs, bears, butterflies, and more! You will have a chance to experience all the Museum’s daily programs, plus sign up for behind-the-scenes tours.
  • Preregistration required:
  • Fee: $45 per person (includes lunch and transportation).

NISE Network Reception - Special Event

Come spend an evening with your fellow NISE Network partners and help us celebrate 10 years of the NISE Network!  NISE Network partner organizations are invited to gather informally at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham for an open house reception. Activities include opportunities for professional networking with your colleagues and learning about the museum's public engagement through exhibits and programs.  Details for each event and how to register are below. 

  • Friday, October 17, 2014: 4:00 PM-7:00 PM
    Museum of Life and Science in Durham
  • Buses: the Museum of Life and Science (MLS) is located in Durham, about 30-45 minutes from the Raleigh Convention Center (RCC). Buses will be provided to and from the Museum and the Raleigh Convention Center for conference attendees (schedule provided below). 
    • 10:00AM         Bus departs RCC for the MLS with field trip participants (ticket required)
    • 3:00PM            One bus departs RCC for NISE Net reception at MLS (no ticket required)
    • 3:30PM            One bus departs RCC for NISE Net reception at MLS (no ticket required)
    • 4:15PM            One bus departs RCC for NISE Net reception at MLS (no ticket required)
    • return buses:
    • 4:30PM            Two buses depart MLS for RCC with preconference tour attendees and preconference workshop attendees.
    • 5:30PM            One bus departs MLS for RCC with NISE Net Reception attendees.
    • 7:00PM            Last two buses depart MLS for RCC with NISE Net Reception attendees.
  • There is no fee to attend the event but registration is required so we can plan ahead
  • Food will be available for purchase from a selection of local food trucks and drinks will be available for purchase from a cash bar
  • Please take a minute to register so that we can plan ahead:

Booth and Exhibit Hall

The NISE Network will have a booth in the exhibit hall featuring public engagement activities at the Convention Center

  • Saturday, October 18: Exhibit Hall open: 9:30 am – 5:00 pm
  • Sunday, October 29: Exhibit Hall open: 10:30 am – 6:00 pm

Live Demonstration Hour in the exhibit hall

  • Live Demonstration Hour
    Sunday, October 19, 2014: 11:30 AM-12:30 PM
    Raleigh Convention Center
    Join us for the annual Live Demonstration Hour, an ASTC tradition for more than 25 years. This is one program you don’t want to miss.

We'll also have activiites at the GrandStand Booth in exhibit hall (great ideas for under $1,000)

Partner Breakfast

The NISE Net is hosting a breakfast for staff from partner institutions (no need to RSVP).

  • Monday, October 20, 2014: 7:30 AM-8:30 AM
    Raleigh Marriott City Center
    Staff from NISE Net partner institutions are invited to an informal breakfast to learn about plans for the coming year and meet other Network partners from across the country.


The NISE Network activities and information about engaging the public in nanoscience, engineering, technology will be featured in the following sessions:

  • Evaluation Capacity Building: Current initiatives and future directions
    Saturday, October 18, 2014: 2:00 PM-3:15 PM
    Raleigh Convention Center
    Session Leader:
    Chris Cardiel, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
    Session Moderator:
    Scott Pattison, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
    As the science center field evolves, evaluation capacity is becoming increasingly important.  But how prepared are science centers to integrate evaluation and evaluative thinking into their projects, practices, and cultures? Presenters and participants will explore this question by discussing findings from several major initiatives to understand and build evaluation capacity.
  • Evaluation in Practice: Stories from the front-line
    Saturday, October 18, 2014: 5:00 PM-6:15 PM
    Raleigh Convention Center
    Session Leader:
    Sarah Cohn, Science Museum of Minnesota
    Session Moderator:
    Sarah Cohn, Science Museum of Minnesota
    How can institutions with few staff, limited resources, or limited time evaluate their work? Three non-evaluators from different institutions will share how they have integrated elements of evaluation into their practice, before breaking to discuss ways you can embed systematic evaluation processes into your organizations and your work.
  • Great Ideas for Special Events
    Sunday, October 19, 2014: 8:00 AM-9:15 AM
    Raleigh Convention Center
    Session Leader:
    Ali Jackson, Sciencenter
    Museums use special events to foster community partnerships, drive attendance, and offer unique programming. In five minutes or less, speakers from around the country will share one strategy that makes their event a roaring success. Join us for rapid fire­ presentations to help you make the most of special event days at your museum!
  • Networking the Networks: Connecting national networks at the local level
    Sunday, October 19, 2014: 9:45 AM-11:45 AM
    Raleigh Convention Center
    Session Leader:
    Robert Russell, Space Science Institute
    Session Moderator:
    Robert Russell, National Science Foundation
    After a brief get-acquainted "speed dating," informal STEM network leaders (NISENet, National Girls Collaborative, etc.) and participants will convene in small groups to brainstorm strategies to leverage resources at the regional and local levels. Participants will be encouraged to participate in preconference discussions via the CAISE Networks Group. Preregistration required.
  • Engineering Life: Brainstorming strategies for engaging the public around Synbio
    Sunday, October 19, 2014: 1:00 PM-2:15 PM
    Raleigh Convention Center
    Session Leader:
    David Sittenfeld, Museum of Science
    Session Moderator:
    Jeanne Braha, American Association for the Advancement of Science
    Synthetic biologists are developing revolutionary methods to address society’s most pressing problems by redesigning natural organisms and engineering brand new ones. This session will introduce tools for translating basics of synthetic biology for the public. Participants will brainstorm methods for engaging the public around societal questions raised by this rapidly-emerging field.
  • Strategies for Creating Current Science Exhibits
    Monday, October 20, 2014: 9:00 AM-10:15 AM
    Raleigh Convention Center
    Session Leader:
    Mary Olson, Pacific Science Center
    Creating current science exhibits has long been a goal and a challenge. This session will discuss how different institutions have created their exhibits, the challenges they faced, and the successes they have encountered. The panel will focus on practical advice for creating current science exhibits, followed by small group discussions.
  • HOMAGO, Indie Style!
    Monday, October 20, 2014: 4:15 PM-6:15 PM
    Raleigh Convention Center
    Session Leader:
    Keith Ostfeld, Children's Museum of Houston
    We all enjoy a little STEAM HOMAGO (Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out) with our visitors, but can’t always afford expensive materials and equipment. This eighth installment of the Indie Style series will showcase multiple low-cost, high impact activities guaranteed to help advance your visitors’ curiosity, creativity, and comprehension.

Post-Conference Meetings:

  • NISE Network Community Work Group/Regional Hub Leaders Meeting
    Wednesday, October 22, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM
    Marbles Kids Museum
    By invitation only

More Information

Please visit the conference website: