Where Science Museum Professionals Meet

Statistics bear out a growing recognition of science museums as a major source of science education in the United States. According to estimates from the Washington, D.C.-based Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), the number of people passing through the turnstiles of science museums annually has risen from about 50 million in 1987 to close to 80 million in 1994. And ASTC officials speculate that the number could be as high as 125 million.

Barry Aprison INTERPRETING IMMUNOLOGY: Barry Aprison with Chicago museum's new AIDS exhibit.

But some highly controversial exhibitions over the past few years also demonstrate the need for administrators of these institutions to be very careful about how they present information to the public. Concerns have been raised over such issues as accuracy and balance, as well as sensitivity to museums' constituent populations. In addition, some scientists, educators, and even museum officials have...

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