Mary Beth Davis
Teaching Science to the General Public:
Perspectives from the Wagner Free Institute of Science
Additions, revisions, extensions are encouraged in the Forum
Attending: Anne Dalke, Mary Beth Davis and Wil Franklin.
Founded in 1855, the Wagner Free Institute of Science is a museum and educational institution that is nearly unchanged from the nineteenth century. The museum building, a National Historic Landmark completed in 1865, houses a natural history collection begun by William Wagner in the early nineteenth century and expanded by naturalist Joseph Leidy in the 1880's. The Institute's free public education courses in science are in their 150th year, making them the oldest program devoted to free adult education in the United States. The Institute also has a strong commitment to children's education. It offers a range of programs for visiting school groups, and cultivates special partnerships with neighboring inner-city schools.
Mary Beth spoke about the educational mission of the Wagner, as well as the challenges and rewards of teaching controversial and technical subjects in genetics, such as stem cell research and cloning, to a diverse public audience.
The Wagner's web site is under construction, but an old demo site with photos and information about the museum can be accessed at http://www.wagnerfreeinstitute.org/home2.htm
The web site for Mary Beth's Genetics course series is at http://www.wagnerfreeinstitute.org/classes/genetics/index.html.
This brown bag series on re-thinking science education continues on the on-line forum, and will resume in person on Feb. 24, when Peter Brodfuehrer will talk about the "Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and Science Education."
Return to Brown Bag Series on Rethinking Science Education