Ben Wiehe - Wednesday, July 1st, 2020
Back in 2009, the MIT Museum created a new position to stitch together a national network of science festivals. Over the past decade, this work with festivals has been an incredible ride. There are now scores of new festivals across North America covering small towns, major metros, rural counties, and entire states. The festivals tend to channel some of Americans’ best instincts for bridging communities, forging new traditions, and finding creative ways to celebrate culture.
When all of this started some suspected that science festivals were just a flash in the pan. As it turns out, the festivals keep proving to be surprisingly resilient. Even in the face of the devastation caused by COVID-19 and accompanying restrictions, most Science Festival Alliance members feel that “with luck and hard work” the long-term prospects for their festival is sound.
Likewise, the commitment of the MIT Museum to the work of the Science Festival Alliance is not going away. The MIT Museum’s posting for a Coordinator of Experimental Practice includes many of the responsibilities previously taken on by the Science Festival Alliance Coordinator, including looking out for Alliance members, programs, and meetings. However, as the new title suggests, the MIT Museum is also committed to continuing our exploration of new ways of doing things.
In addition to the general care and maintenance of the Science Festival Alliance, there are several existing projects underway—the Science Festival Accelerator, Science In Vivo, the Science Events Summit, and the Circuit—waiting for the new Coordinator of Experimental Practice. As enthusiastic as we are about these projects, Experimental Practice is intended to encompass an area of work that is continually evolving, and hopefully advancing the fields we work in.
So how might a small team at a mid-size museum advance practice in ways that benefit whole professional fields? The MIT Museum’s Experimental Practice team will keep taking on projects that:
If you’re ready to apply to be the Museum’s Coordinator of Experimental Practice, please do so soon. We’ll start reviewing applications by the middle of July, keeping the search open until the position is filled. This position is based at the MIT Museum: although the Museum is not currently open due to COVID restrictions, we intend to eventually return to our offices. Get started by looking over the official position description and further application instructions.
If you are interested in learning more about, getting involved in, or supporting the MIT Museum’s new emphasis on Experimental Practice, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.