NISE Network 2019 Year in Review

Rae Ostman, Arizona State University

The NISE Network had a fantastic 2019! This past year we grew our Network to include many new partners and expanded connections across the United States and around the world. Our strength as a Network comes from our collaboration as dedicated professionals, and our impact comes from the work we all do to engage our local communities.

Thank you to everyone who participates in our community! Here are some of our favorite Network moments of 2019.


Earth and Space events around the country

2019 was a BIG year for the NISE Network Earth and Space project in partnership with NASA Science Mission Directorate. This year, we were able to ship our Explore Science: Earth and Space toolkits to 350 sites across the US, making this our most widely used product ever! To date (2017-2019), 6,200,000 members of the public and 21,000 professionals and event volunteers have participated in Earth and space learning with Explore Science: Earth and Space toolkit resources.

As usual, Network partners found creative and inspiring ways to share these activities with their local communities. For example, the emerging Children’s Museum of St. Augustine used their toolkits at a variety of  STEAM-based learning programs in partnership with other organizations. Other great NISE Network partner events included citizen science activities, an astronomy night, and Earth Day programs.

¡Celebremos las Ciencias! Event at the Museum of Life and Science


Our evaluation team has completed the summative study of the toolkits. Findings indicate that the activities meet project goals--check out the full report to learn more!

50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing

On July 20, 2019 many NISE Network partners held special events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first humans landing on the Moon as part of NASA’s Apollo 11 lunar mission. NISE Network created a short video highlighting a few of these anniversary events in North Carolina and capturing some of the memories and future aspirations from event participants. Other partner events included Mobius Children's Science Museum & Science Center summer-long programming in partnership with local libraries, EcoTarium’s lunar launch party featuring a video message from astronaut Cady Coleman, Moon Day with exhibits and activities from scientific organizations and technology companies at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, and a special pop-up science event with NASA at the Michigan Science Center. Finally, here’s a roundup of even more cool events all across the country.

Apollo 50 event at Science Museum of Minnesota

Sun, Earth, Universe exhibitions 

All 52 copies of the Sun, Earth, Universe exhibition, created in partnership with NASA, have been delivered to NISE Network partners across the US. Many of these copies will be displayed at multiple sites, so over 100 communities will have a chance to experience the interactive exhibition. By the end of 2019, 6,460,000 people had already visited the exhibition!

We’ve captured some of the early excitement in a blog post featuring the exhibition in Arkansas, Connecticut, and other locations. Be sure to check out the Children's Museum of Brownsville’s great ideas for enriching the exhibition for young learners.

Sun, Earth, Universe exhibition at Montshire Museum of Science in Vermont. Copyright 2019 Robert C Strong II.

Creating sustainable futures

In 2019, NISE Network joined forces with Arizona State University to continue the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability in Science and Technology Museums program. This initiative includes sustainability fellowships for museum professionals, a new suite of programs coming in February 2020, and an online workshop series open to all NISE Network partners starting in February, 2020. 

Sustainability fellows playing a game that explores how museums can address sustainability


Our first cohort of sustainability fellows have already implemented projects to green their operations, engage public audiences, and partner with other community organizations. For example, the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium created a new virtual learning program and MoPOP is launching a climate fiction film series, Good Planets Are Hard to Find, in late January.

Encouraging positive attitudes toward chemistry

NISE Network and American Chemical Society partners continued to use their Explore Science: Let’s Do Chemistry resources in 2019, after a series of successful National Chemistry Week events by NISE Network partners and ACS groups in 2018. As the central science, chemistry connects to many other STEM topics. For example, the South Dakota Discovery Center used chemistry to explore oceans on Earth and outer space. 

National Chemistry Week event at the Museum of Science, Boston. Credit: Eric Workman

Nano is still big

NISE Network’s “original” nano project continues to have a big impact through the ongoing work of our partners. We estimate that the Network has now reached over 70,000,000 people through NanoDays events, the Nano mini-exhibition, and other public engagement activities! 

NanoDays at Municipio de Cataño in Cataño, Puerto Rico


In 2019, many NISE Network partners hosted NanoDays events, hosted at museums, universities, and malls! The Museum of Life and Science installed a nanoscale science/art exhibition and regularly hosts scientists from nearby NC State.

Thank you -- and see you in 2020!

Many thanks to all our NISE Network partners--those who support our projects, develop our resources, and bring them to life in communities around the world. It’s amazing to have the Network approaching its 15th anniversary in 2020!

We’re looking forward to another great year! Here are some of the many opportunities to participate in NISE Network projects during the coming year. To be sure you’re always aware of the latest news and activities, sign up for the NISE Net newsletter, make sure your regional hub leader has your current contact information, and follow us on social networking sites. We love to hear from our partners and share your work with others in the Network! 

Thank you and congratulations to everyone who participates in the NISE Network! We accomplished so much together in 2019.


Space and Earth Informal STEM Education is supported by NASA under Cooperative Agreement Numbers NNX16AC67A and 80NSSC18M0061. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ChemAttitudes is supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 1612482; Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network was supported by the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 0532536 and 0940143. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

The Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability in Science and Technology Museums program is supported through funding from the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation.