Pacific Science Center (PSC) in Seattle is breaking down silos that have isolated science center departments in the past, and the giant screen film A Beautiful Planet (IMAX) was one of their early cross-departmental efforts. PSC’s work resulted in a museum-wide effort to develop a wide range of activities to support the film and provide related lifelong learning experiences throughout the science center.
Brainstorming sessions with representatives from a variety of departments, managed by one point person—the Director of Science and Education—drove the process forward.
Eager to draw more attention to giant screen films and to better link these films to the rest of the Science Center, PSC developed related programs for Science on a Sphere and the planetarium, as well as craft and tinkering activities and demonstrations to take place on the exhibit floor. PSC’s Science and a Movie event, featuring a local astrobiologist followed by a screening of A Beautiful Planet, was developed to bring in adult audiences who might not otherwise come to see the film.
The Science and a Movie event had a relatively small crowd, but only because PSC was just beginning to build the audience for its adult offerings; however, anecdotally, those in attendance enjoyed the experience.
It’s difficult to quantify the impact this collaboration had on staff and the institution’s culture, but it is an early example of PSC’s interest in departments working more collaboratively and focusing more on the overall guest experience. Having a film to rally around gave staff a great starting point for this new way of approaching their work and is a model PSC intends to replicate for specific films in the future.
One valuable observation PSC staff made after this early experience is that tie-ins between the film and activities should be even more explicit. Some guests didn’t notice the deliberate connections between the film and related programs and activities if staff members didn’t actually make the correlation for them.
“This pairing of film and activities throughout the science center gives guests a richer experience,” says Eve Klein, Manager of Portal to the Public at Pacific Science Center. “Those who see the film first have the opportunity to continue to explore the subject matter after they’ve left the theater, while those who visit the rest of the institution first get to see the film contextualized.”
For further information about this program, contact Eve Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit http://abeautifulplanet.imax.com to access the educational materials that IMAX developed for A Beautiful Planet.