Science centers and museums celebrate ISCSMD 2019

From original videos to free admission days to special family activities, museums marked International Science Center and Science Museum Day in a wide variety of ways:

Domus, Museos Científicos Coruñeses in A Coruña, Spain, opened a new exhibit, Bocados, with several activities on water, equality, and health: preparing meals, an interactive screen display, and origami.

People exploring a museum exhibit on nutrition.


Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum in Poughkeepsie, New York, marked the day with special activities to promote awareness around global sustainability and climate resilience.


Pavilhão do Conhecimento in Lisbon, Portugal, created a science café and invited young visitors to participate in a game to learn about nutrition.

Children learn about health and nutrition while making a snack.


Planetário – Casa da Ciência in Braga, Portugal, held educational planetarium and laboratory activities exploring quality education, life below water, and life on land.

A tadpole that has begun to turn into a frog.


Science Centre Singapore celebrated with a fun game: visitors collected stamps at selected exhibitions, shows, and activities to redeem for a themed gift.

Visitors review how to sort recyclable materials.


Science North in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, welcomed visitors with free admission to the center’s special interactive workshops, Planetarium, and giant screen cinema.


On November 10, science centers in Mexico, Portugal, Belgium, and Egypt joined ASTC for a webcast to discuss their collaborations with local schools. Each center engaged local students to address sustainability challenges relevant to the region. Through the Eco Hero challenge, the students produced inspiring videos about their experience, including strategies to share with the world.




Join the International Science Center and Science Museum Day webcast

On Sunday, November 10, 2019, the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) held a webcast to celebrate International Science Center and Science Museum Day (ISCSMD). Featuring speakers from Mexico, Portugal, Belgium, and Egypt, the event explored how science centers are engaging their communities on local and global sustainability topics.

Watch the archived webcast now.

This year, students partnered with their local science centers to participate in the Eco Hero Lab. Inspired by the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, the Eco Hero Lab encourages students to take five steps—meatless meals, reducing waste, exploring nature, reducing energy consumption, and enhancing well-being—to gain the title of Eco Hero.

Each presentation includes an expert discussion on one environmental challenge facing their region and videos students created about their experience and the topics they learned about with their science centers.

  • Universum, Museo de las Ciencias de la UNAM in Mexico City, Mexico, will address air quality.
  • Centro Ciência Viva da Floresta in Proença-a-Nova, Portugal, will address deforestation and forest degradation.
  • Hidrodoe in Herentals, Belgium, will address water quality.
  • Planetarium Science Center in Alexandria, Egypt, will address soil health.

Young researchers from the UN Major Group for Children and Youth discussed their choice to pursue scientific careers and the importance of science engagement to tackle global challenges.

The free 90-minute webcast was held on Sunday, November 10, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. EST.

ISCSMD is an annual, global event illustrating the impact and reach of all the world’s science centers and science museums. It demonstrates the role these institutions play with their millions of visitors in raising awareness of—and engagement in—sustainable development and the solutions to global challenges. Science centers and science museums worldwide take the opportunity of this day to celebrate and promote their missions through widely diverse informal science education and engagement activities addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The day is a reminder to all about the universality of science and its capacity to build bridges across geographical, cultural, and religious boundaries while addressing common concerns.

ISCSMD at The Franklin Institute

By Rachel Valletta, Ph.D., Environmental Scientist, The Franklin Institute, and Larry Dubinski, President and CEO, The Franklin Institute, Board Chair, Association of Science and Technology Centers

This year for International Science Center and Science Museum Day (ISCSMD), The Franklin Institute is crafting our celebration around sustainability and environmental sciences. It’s an ideal opportunity to kick off some new and exciting efforts as we gear up for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020.

People visiting a museum exhibit showing a large map of Earth.

Visitors at the Changing Earth exhibit at The Franklin Institute.

On November 10 we will unveil hands-on activities related to food systems, a crucial aspect of sustainable cities and communities. These activities are made possible by a new partnership with FMC Corporation, a Philadelphia-based global agricultural sciences company. Through collaboration between our educators and FMC scientists, we can expand our reach to inspire public audiences in the museum, at our annual Philadelphia Science Festival, and around the community to think critically about and take action towards a more sustainable future.

Public outreach enabled through this new partnership will employ best practices of community engagement and empowerment learned through our Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP) project. In conjunction with the ISCSMD celebration, the Institute will host an educational workshop on plastic pollution that engages CUSP network partners and other community stakeholders to envision a future built on more responsible consumption and production.

Children watching a science demonstration.

Participants at a Climate and Urban Systems Partnership (CUSP) project event.

As we look beyond ISCSMD, the Franklin Institute’s commitment to sustainability and environmental concerns extends outside the walls of the museum. We have leveraged CUSP collaborations to create an annual professional development program in climate change and sustainability science that unites formal and informal educators around the Philadelphia region. This month, we became a signatory to the Climate Collaborative of Greater Philadelphia, a first-of-its-kind working group of large Philadelphia institutions dedicated to climate action planning. With this working group, the Institute has committed to create a public-facing climate action goal, connecting our focus on sustainability education to long-term institutional practice.