The BRIDGES Conference

Photo from BRIDGES conference

A Museum/Community Partnership Conference
Hosted By
Philadelphia/Camden Informal Science Education Collaborative (PISEC)
The Academy of Natural Sciences, The New Jersey Academy of Aquatic Sciences, The Franklin Institute, and the Philadelphia Zoo

Conference Theme: Museums and communities working together to engage families in informal science activities.

The Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA
June 20-22, 2008

BRIDGES: A Museum/Community Partnership Conference explored how museums and other learning institutions and community organizations (CBOs) can work together towards a shared vision of engaging underserved families in enrichment activities. BRIDGES was specifically designed for programs whose primary audience is family groups.

BRIDGES brought together museum and community pairs from 25 partnerships to explore best practices for developing and sustaining these innovative programs. The conference provided opportunities for participants to meet others engaged in similar efforts, to share triumphs and tragedies, and to build an ongoing community of practice. An inspiring keynote speaker, poster sessions, and breakout discussions were the basis for building a museum/community network to help guide, nurture, and expand new and continuing programs that serve families.

Topics covered include:

• Building rewarding relationships among museums, community organizations, and families.
• Exploring cultural issues that influence the development of museum/community relationships
• Developing strategies for funding and sustaining programs for underserved families
• Encouraging participants in family enrichment programs to become museum visitors

Participation in BRIDGES involved museum/community teams which serve families. There were two representatives per team—one from a museum or other informal learning institution and one from a community–based organization.

  • Conference Participants

    Chidinima Agostinelli, The Newark Museum
    Linda Nettleton, The Newark Museum
    Susan Petroulas, The Newark Museum
    Science and Art in the Community

    Latasha Battie, Museum of Science and Industry
    Brenda Alford, Jane Addam Hull House
    After School Science Clubs, Science Minors, and Park Voyagers

    Minda Borun, The Franklin Institute
    Linda Cairnes, The Philadelphia Zoo
    Carl Collins, The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas
    Reed Davaz McGowan, Norris Square Neighborhood Project
    Anita Franks, The Falomi Club/Camp Fire USA
    Jaqueline Genovesi, The Academy of Natural Sciences
    Kim Johnson, The Falomi Club/Camp Fire USA
    Barbara Kelly, The Franklin Institute
    Betty Lui, Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School
    Terry Morgane-Macon, Imani Education Circle Charter School
    Neeta Patel, Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School
    Carmen Ubarry Rivera, LEAP Academy University Charter School
    Le-Quyen Vu, Indo-chinese American Council
    Angela Wenger, New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences
    CASE, Community Ambassadors in Science Exploration

    Mary Bures, Discovery Place, Inc.
    Bronica Glover, Greater Enrichment Program
    Discovery Place Science Clubs

    Crystal Colon, American Museum of Natural History
    Michelle Thompson, Phipps Community Development Corporation
    The Science and Nature Program At Phipps

    Selena Connealy, New Mexico Museum of Natural History
    Armelle Casau, Explora
    Carolyn Gregory, New Mexico Museum of Natural History
    Michelle Thompson, Phipps Community Development Corporation
    Celebra la Ciencia, New Mexico

    Megan Dickerson, Boston Children's Museum
    Rachel Goodman, Boston Housing Authority
    GoKids in Boston Neighborhoods

    Jose Franco, Lawrence Hall of Science
    Elisa Ramirez, The Kids Breakfast Club
    Science and Math in Spanish-language Media

    LaNeysa Harris-Featherstone, Russell C. Davis Planetarium
    Summer Reading Program/Partnership

    Matthew Herbert, Denver Zoo
    Wendy Hanophy, Colorado Division of Wildlife
    Wonders in Nature - Wonders in Neighborhoods

    Christine Manoux, UC Botanical Garden
    Abigail Jaramillo, Urban Sprouts
    Growing Learning Communities

    Lea Martinez, Children's Museum of Houston
    Corrie Jenkins, Halpin Early Childhood Center
    Parent Stars

    Cathleen McConnell, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
    Felita Poole, Inspiration for Greatness
    Underserved Community Outreach

    Lori Albert McCracken, The Franklin Institute
    Christine D. Caputo, The Free Library of Philadelphia
    LEAP Into Science

    Nathan Meyer, Bakken Museum
    Andrea Cortes-Eastlund, Minneapolis Public Schools
    School Partnership Celebration Days

    Dana Murphy, Chicago Zoological Society
    Saira Perea-Bensett, ZAP! Community Advisory Board
    Zoo Adventure Passport (ZAP!) Kids' CLUB

    Victoria Raya, Pacific Science Center
    Laura Cook, Yakima Valley Tri-Cities Mesa
    Acceso a la Ciencia

    Siinya Riley, St. Louis Science Center
    Toni Muhammad, Gateway Homeless Services
    St. Louis Science Center - TCSRC Community Partners

    Robert L. Russell, Self Reliance Foundation
    Linda Sosa, Hispanic CREO
    Celebra la Ciencia, DC and Conociendo To Cuerpo

    Donna Spadoni, American Museum of Natural History
    Rosa Garcia, Goddard Riverside Community Center
    The Science and Nature Program at Goddard

    Maryann Stimmer, Educational Equity Center@AED
    Connie Chin, Chinese American Planning Council
    After-School Math PLUS

    Tracy Truzansky, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center
    Judy Allard, Burlington School District
    Community Science Nights

    Robert Tyzzer, Explorit Science Center
    Kathy Tyzzer, Birch Lane Elementary
    Science in Your World, Health in Your World

  • Keynote Speaker

    Photo of Lily Yeh
    Lily Yeh is an internationally celebrated artist and award-winning founding Director of Barefoot Artists, Inc. and also founder and former executive director of the Village of Arts and Humanities. She works to bring the transformative of power art to impoverished communities around the world.

    Lily concluded her remarks with this memorable thought: "When guided by a clear mission and purpose, this entity of multi-faceted, multi-leveled and interconnected programs and activities can become a powerful instrument in building assets and revitalizing the community. When the programs and activities bring people hope, energy, a sense of deep rooting in their own cultural identity, and opportunities for innovation and growth, they are in the process of creating a self-energizing and sustainable community."

  • Acknowledgements

    NSF logo

    This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0734835. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.