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The Impact of Museum Outreach

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Student-led Research on Engineering Education - Quantitative Methodologies

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Mark Roger Haase University of Cincinnati

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Mark Haase is currently completing his PhD in Chemical Engineering. His research is focused on the synthesis, characterization, and application of nanocarbon materials, especially carbon nanotube arrays exhibiting the property known as spinnability. Mark has been involved with teaching since starting his graduate work, developing laboratory experiences and lesson content pertaining to nanotechnology. He is outreach work enters around introducing people, especially youth, to nanotechnology concepts.

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Museums are organizations dedicated to developing understanding in a broad audience. Science musuems in particular are known for this. The general public believes in the effectiveness of this museum work, frequently turning to these institutions for knowledge and understanding. Further, the public increasingly finds enjoyment in the learning opportunities provided by these institutions. However, these institutions are experiencing increasing difficulty in accessing subject matter expertise, especially in young fields.

Scientists and engineers are strongly motivated to share their understanding of technical subjects with others. Most a driven towards this communication centered outreach by personal desire. This desire is reinforced by professional and institutional requirements. However, these groups are concerned about the effectiveness of their efforts. Their time is limited, and it can be difficult to reach a wide audience.

Developing partnerships between subject matter experts and museums provides a mechanism to resolve both difficulties. Museums gain access to much desired expertise, and scientists and engineers gain access to established mechanisms for reaching a broad audience. Here, an example of this sort of partnership is considered: presentations aiming to improve staff and volunteer understanding of nanotechnology. A single presenter improves the understanding of a museum personnel, who in turn guide visitors to a fuller understanding. This outreach event, and its evolution, are described. A simple survey was developed using standard techniques, and used to assess the impact of these presentations on the audience. Ultimately, the activity was succesful; it is presented here as a guide for those interested in pursuing similar outreach.

Haase, M. R. (2016, June), The Impact of Museum Outreach Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27357

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