Science on Parade

Ben Wiehe - Saturday, July 6th, 2019

 

The Science In Vivo project is in the midst of a wide range of experiments. The main question: What happens when we try to integrate science engagement experiences into non-science settings?

There’s nothing new about bringing science engagement experiences out from behind museum walls and university campuses and into the world. My own first experience with this was in the 90’s: as part of my first job at a science center I brought tabletop-sized hands-on activities to several community festivals a year.

However, usually these efforts don’t exactly integrate into the settings and contexts where we are showing up. There are many reasons why, including the obvious fact that it takes extra effort and planning for every single event. It seems much easier to develop a basic “bag of tricks” and simply wheel those out.

I don’t want to discourage you from doing any kind of community outreach. If you feel all you can manage is tabling with the same old interactives, it is better than nothing.*

So get out there and do what you can to show up.

But know this: great rewards lie in store for those that put the extra thought and planning into meaningfully integrating into new settings. The goal of Science In Vivo is to dig into those treasures, and we are finding so much to share. But for the moment, I’ll provide just a couple of glimpses from the Science on Parade category of our work.

1. First drink in the photo at the top of this post, of the incredible team with the St. Petersburg Science Festival as they got ready to take their science float down the parade route of Florida’s largest Pride Parade. Think about what it must have felt like to be representing science, but as part of such a bigger thing.

2. And then hear Bonnie Stevens, the longtime coordinator of the Flagstaff Festival of Science, describe her reaction to seeing it all come together for their science float in Flagstaff’s recent Fourth of July parade:

 

Stay tuned for more from Science In Vivo, and…

…get out there and show up!

 

* Unless it’s fueled by wrongheaded assumptions that implicitly convey negative messages about what science is and who it is for. But then again, there may be no better way to realize that’s your situation than by leaving the comforts of your home institution behind.