NEW SCIENCE MUSEUM OPENS IN WASHINGTON, D.C. | April 23, 2004 Issue - Vol. 82 Issue 17 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 82 Issue 17 | p. 1 | News of The Week
Issue Date: April 23, 2004

NEW SCIENCE MUSEUM OPENS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

Koshland museum exhibits inspired by interests of the National Academy of Sciences
Department: Science & Technology
MARIAN KOSHLAND
The new museum was established in her honor.
Credit: COURTESY OF THE MARIAN KOSHLAND SCIENCE MUSEUM
koshland
 
MARIAN KOSHLAND
The new museum was established in her honor.
Credit: COURTESY OF THE MARIAN KOSHLAND SCIENCE MUSEUM
GLOBAL WARMING
Stanford University professor of environmental science Donald Kennedy, cochair of the museum's advisory committee, operates a sliding plasma screen showing Earth's warming along a timeline of the past century. The data displayed on the screen represent actual year-to-year temperature variations gathered by scientists.
Credit: PHOTO BY STU BORMAN
Koshlandclimate
 
GLOBAL WARMING
Stanford University professor of environmental science Donald Kennedy, cochair of the museum's advisory committee, operates a sliding plasma screen showing Earth's warming along a timeline of the past century. The data displayed on the screen represent actual year-to-year temperature variations gathered by scientists.
Credit: PHOTO BY STU BORMAN
MUSEUM SITE
The new Marian Koshland Science Museum occupies the first floor of this building in downtown Washington.
Credit: COURTESY OF THE MARIAN KOSHLAND SCIENCE MUSEUM
KoshlandBuilding
 
MUSEUM SITE
The new Marian Koshland Science Museum occupies the first floor of this building in downtown Washington.
Credit: COURTESY OF THE MARIAN KOSHLAND SCIENCE MUSEUM
DNA SEQUENCE
Visitor uses a button-based interface to search for specific patterns in a human gene, the sequence of which is displayed on the blue screen.
Credit: COURTESY OF THE MARIAN KOSHLAND SCIENCE MUSEUM
Koshlandna
 
DNA SEQUENCE
Visitor uses a button-based interface to search for specific patterns in a human gene, the sequence of which is displayed on the blue screen.
Credit: COURTESY OF THE MARIAN KOSHLAND SCIENCE MUSEUM

A new science museum operated by the National Academy of Sciences is opening on April 23 in Washington, D.C. Exhibits at the Marian Koshland Science Museum (http://www.koshland-science-museum.org) are inspired by scientific topics explored in NAS reports. The exhibits invite visitor participation and interaction in an effort to present science and related public policy issues in an interesting and accessible way.

The museum was developed through a gift to NAS from University of California, Berkeley, biochemistry professor Daniel Koshland. It honors his wife of 52 years, immunologist and educator Marian E. Koshland, who died from lung cancer in 1997 at age 76. The director of the museum is Patrice L. Legro, who was formerly director of philanthropy services at NAS.

The museum includes three exhibits. "Wonders of Science" is a permanent exhibit that includes an introductory film and animations. Its content will be updated periodically. Two other exhibits will each be on view for about two years and will then travel to other museums to make way for newly developed presentations. The current temporary exhibits are "Global Warming Facts & Our Future," covering topics such as temperature change, carbon dioxide emissions, and sea-level rise, and "Putting DNA to Work," which highlights use of DNA in criminal forensics, disease diagnosis, and other areas.

The museum—which charges admission to help support its educational and public programming ($5 for adults; $3 for seniors, active-duty military personnel, and students)—could face a challenge in Washington, where there are many free museums competing for visitors' attention, including two large science-related museums operated by the Smithsonian Institution. However, the Koshland Museum's high level of interactivity and its timely public policy orientation are factors in its favor.

"The effort is to show Academy policies and good science at a level that the public will not only understand but also consider fun," Koshland said at a press briefing prior to the opening. "Some of you will go there and get a chance to find out how many of your genes are in common with Einstein or a monkey or a weed plant. You'll also be able to find a criminal by using DNA and to stop an epidemic of SARS [severe acute respiratory syndrome]. We hope to show how science is relevant to the general public and your everyday lives."

A focus group "of high school students that came through complained that they only had an hour and they really didn't have enough time to enjoy it," Koshland added. "That's the kind of complaint we really like."

 
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