Museums Without Borders
Queens, N.Y. – The New York Hall of Science is partnering with Science City in Kolkata, India and the Indian National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) for a new type of study abroad program: a cultural exchange between science museums. Staff from NYSCI and from five museums in India will travel abroad to learn about youth employment programs at the host museums.
The program is made possible by a $62,500 grant from the American Association of Museums (AAM) through Museums and Community Collaborations Abroad (MCCA), a new international exchange program sponsored by the U.S. State Department. In conferring this award, AAM has recognized NYSCI as a leader in developing programming that engages community members beyond museum walls.
“In our increasing global communities, it is essential for organizations and individuals to learn about cultures other than their own and to share ideas, methods and practices,” says Mrs. Neelam Deo, India’s Consul General in New York City. “Initiatives such as the partnership between the New York Hall of Science, Science City in Kolkata, and NSCM benefit not only the institutions directly involved, but also the publics they serve.”
From August 15 – 21, one staff member from each of five different Indian museums will travel to NYSCI for a week-long immersion in the culture of a New York City science museum. While at NYSCI, they will learn about the successful Science Career Ladder, a youth employment program started in 1986 to inspire students to pursue careers in science and education. The guests from India will also engage NYSCI visitors with a new science demonstration that they will help to create.
Soon after, from September 16 – 22, four staff members from NYSCI will travel to Science City in Kolkata, India to learn from their youth development program and to present a science demonstration to museum visitors. Before, during, and after the museum visits, staff from all the museums will exchange ideas, compare the differences and similarities between the two cultures, and discuss the best practices of the museums through a specially-designed blog.
“Community is at the center of this new program,” notes AAM President Ford W. Bell, DVM. “With a focus on reaching beyond museum's traditional audiences to directly involve members of the community, MCCA leverages AAM's experience in helping museums connect with their audiences in new and vital ways. Exposing U.S. communities to cultures they might not otherwise have the opportunity to learn about and sharing information about American culture with people abroad will be among the significant outcomes of these grants.”
The MCCA program is administered by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and funded by the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). To learn more about AAM and the MCCA program, please visit www.aam-us.org.
The American Association of Museums has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge, and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 15,000 individual, 3,000 institutional, and 300 corporate members, AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information, visit www.aam-us.org.
The Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs fosters mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through direct citizen-to-citizen exchanges. For more information about the activities of the ECA, see http://exchanges.state.gov/education.