Evolving Collections Concepts: Expanding Definitions and Relevance with Advancing Technology
The definition of what qualifies as, and constitutes, a natural sciences collection has changed over time in response to shifting public tastes, scientific paradigms, and the advent of new technologies. Collections are becoming increasingly viewed as essential and data-rich documentation of the natural world, with specimens and objects prepared and preserved according to evolving scientific standards to assure maximum long-term stability and scientific value. They are seen as mission-driving museum resources with ever-increasing relevance in this new Anthropocene time period. This workshop will catalyze a discussion on the potential need to expand the definition of what might constitute a natural sciences collection and the resource and infrastructural needs that would be necessary to accommodate that expanded definition.
Visual Thinking with Museum Data
“Big data” (extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions) are fundamental to our ability to comprehend the Anthropocene. New data and new questions rely on new methods of visualization to make them understandable to the museum-going public and usable to active research. This session will cover new methods of visualizing extremely large data sets as well as the research projects that these methods make possible.
Beyond Art and Science: Transdisciplinary Thinking in the Age of Humans
This workshop will explore the creation of new, cross-pollinated projects that blend art, science, and the humanities in response to the Anthropocene. The activity welcomes everyone from existing practitioners, who have had projects already, to those who are just beginning to think about the subject.
Monetizing Our Collections
Natural history museums are thinking ever more laterally about how to leverage their collections for improved business outcomes. This creative workshop will explore new mission-driven products and services as well as new engagement opportunities. It will provide a forum for exploring topics such as ethical responsibilities, return on investments, and museums’ authentic voices.
A follow-up from the Development Models for Natural History Museums session, this facilitated workshop will allow museum practitioners to test assumptions, develop logic models, and get practiced in donor-centric thinking.
International Law and Natural History Museums
Immunity from seizure, CITES, CBD, and maintaining nonprofit status are just a few of the pieces of legislation of which natural history museums must be aware. With a focus on United States and international legislation, this workshop will provide a chance for questions and answers common to our sector.
Tools for Learning About Sustainability: SustainABLE in Science Museums
At face value, sustainability is a simple concept, but competing definitions and approaches can quickly create confusion. In this sustainability workshop, we will begin by introducing and discussing definitions, models, and relevant theoretical frameworks. We will then introduce the SustainABLE kit of Arizona State University and use it as a foundation for discussing challenges faced when creating sustainable activities and programming with the aim of inspiring participants to develop their own sustainability programming.
Hard Topics with Broad Audiences
How do we engage broad audiences in the science around these topics without alienating them? This active workshop will explore strategies for building trust, facilitating safe environments for disagreement, and reframing information to connect with audiences’ existing values, concerns, and the systems-level thinking that connects individuals to larger phenomena.
Museum as Convener: Networking Meet-Up
Presented in an “un-conference” (open space) format, this informal workshop is a networking opportunity to facilitate open dialogue and innovative idea generation in a rich environment. At this workshop, questions will be posed at stations where brainstorming, feedback, and new idea generation can be documented and built upon by participants working in small groups.
Museum as Convener: Building and Benefiting from Interdisciplinary Networks
In this workshop, participants will engage with members of Pittsburgh’s CUSP network (educators, environmentalists, scientists, and artists) in activities that demonstrate strategies to foster strong connections and valuable information exchanges across disciplines. We will also explore the value of museums, hearing perspectives from outside the museum field through CUSP Pittsburgh members.
21st Century Naturalist
Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments have been building a partnership over the last 10 years. The 21st Century Naturalist Program is a joint initiative that engages school districts and community-based organizations, targeting different kinds of audiences than the traditional, general visiting public, and provides professional development to support staff. What content knowledge, skills, and values are important for the 21st Century Naturalist? In this workshop, the education team at Carnegie Museum of Natural History will invite critique of its project’s working definition of a 21st Century Naturalist through participatory activities.
Ethics in a World After Truth
This informal discussion group will explore ethics in natural history museums in a world where science as a paradigm is coming into question while the planet’s ecosystems are becoming increasingly imperiled. What are the roles, potentials, and constraints for natural history museums over the next decades?