A lifetime of curiosity

Although science centers and museums nearly all have missions that embrace the whole community (“from 1 to 101” or “kids of all ages,” as they sometimes say), in reality their audiences tend to skew toward school age children and their families. This report offers encouragement to science centers and their supporters to seriously address an older audience. Lifetime of Curiosity book cover When I finished the report in 2009, I still didn’t think of myself as an “older adult,” although the AARP had started sending me frequent mailings as soon as I reached 50. It’s clearer to me now that elders have wisdom to share and like anyone else want meaningful work to do. We’d also like to be paid, no matter what our age (or even our financial status).

We gave short shrift to that reality in this report, but some of the case studies still may spark ideas. And the title remains a good reminder that the central mission of science museums—to cultivate curiosity and encourage questioning—applies to the whole community. The report may still be available from the Association of Science-Technology Centers.