used with permission by the
Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District
Building Bridges Between Civil Engineers and Science Museums
ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION
Written by Robert Reitherman, Thalia Anagnos and Wendy Meluch
This document has two audiences: civil engineers and science museum professionals. Our goal is to provide information and guidance to help bridge between these two communities. We later explain in detail that our definition of the term "science museum," which we use because it is understandable to a broad audience, includes within it the more recent term "science center." The typical science center, or science and technology center, is a type of science museum emphasizing hands-on interactivity in its exhibits, and may not have a research mission or preserve collections as some science museums do. Our use of the broad term "science museum" also includes facilities such as called visitor centers, or even museums called art or history museums, as long as they offer to the public "informal" (nonclassroom) learning opportunities concerning science and engineering. "Civil engineering," also defined and discussed in detail later, includes the design, analysis, and construction of such features of our built environment such as bridges, highways, and ports, and the structure of buildings and utility plants.
The research conducted in a National Science Foundation-funded project that forms the basis for this publication, points out that the potential is great for collaboration between science museums and civil engineers, and that this aim has been only slightly realized. We have designed this document to facilitate collaboration between these two communities.
Acknowledgments: Lisa Hubbell assisted Wendy Meluch in compiling information on evaluation. Mary Currie, Public Affairs Director of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, kindly provided the title page photograph. CUREE staff members Reed Helgens and Darryl Wong assisted with the overall project tasks and specifically compiled much of the information for the chapter providing vignettes of science museum offerings, and online survey and database functions were designed for CUREE by John-Michael Wong.