Episode 76: Celebrating Science and Technology in the Community, for the Community

John Durant, Director of the MIT Museum, discusses the origins of the Cambridge Science Festival, the first of its kind in the United States. Now in its 13th year, the Festival attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually, hosts events in more than 70 different venues from Cape Cod to Central Massachusetts, and works with more than 100 collaborators.

John Durant trained in natural sciences (MA) and the history of science (PhD) at the University of Cambridge in the UK. He has spent his entire career working at the interface between science and technology and the wider community. He was Assistant Director of the Science Museum, London, between 1989 and 2000, where he oversaw the development of the Wellcome Wing.

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Episode 73: Hands-on Learning, Creating for Kids and Caregivers

Discovery Museum is a hands-on museum that blends science, nature, and play, inspiring families to explore and learn together. Neil Gordon, CEO, discusses how universal design and User/Experts informed their recent expansion to a 16,000sf accessible building. He also shares their efforts to integrate parents into the exhibit experience. He says that in the museum’s new exhibits for children ages 0-3, the parental education that’s incorporated is as important as the child’s play.

 Neil Gordon. Photo by Mitchell Green.In his nearly ten years as CEO, Neil Gordon has steered the Discovery Museum through a period of tremendous growth and change. Prior to joining the museum in 2009, Gordon served for 14 years as the Executive VP and COO for the Boston Children’s Museum. He is also past chairman of the board of the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), a past board member of the New England Museum Association (NEMA), and a board member of the Massachusetts Institute for the Teaching of Science (MITS).
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Episode 68: Access Means Overcoming Psychological Barriers, Too

Matthias Waschek, Executive Director of the Worcester Art Museum, says truly accessible museums create experiences that make visitors want to return. In doing so they must challenge institutional norms to welcome and engage more diverse populations.

Matthias WaschekMatthias Waschek joined the Worcester Art Museum in 2011 as the C. Jean and Myles McDonough Director. German born, he earned his Ph.D. from Bonn University, working on French art in the age of Colonialism. He has published extensively in the areas of French art nouveau and the history of art history. His curatorial experience spans from old masters to contemporary art.
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Episode 61: Oh, the Places Springfield Museums Will Go!

Kay Simpson, President of the Springfield Museums, speaks to the opening of the Dr. Seuss Museum, and what it means to Springfield, MA, Theodor Geisel’s hometown.

Kay SimpsonKay Simpson is President of the Springfield Museums. She received her B.A. from Smith College and a M.Ed. in educational administration from the University of Massachusetts. Ms. Simpson has more than 30 years of museum experience.

Her current responsibilities include the direction of all areas of operations for the Springfield Museums, an interdisciplinary complex of two art museums, a history museum, a science museum, the outdoor Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden and the newly open Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum.
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Episode 57: Mounting a Comeback for Edith Wharton’s Legacy

Susan Wissler, Executive Director of The Mount, shares her experience of bringing an organization back from the precipice, and how retiring its $9M debt helped its community rethink what a historic home can be.

Susan WisslerSusan Wissler joined The Mount in 2001 as Vice President and became Executive Director in 2008. Ms. Wissler graduated from Brown University, received a J.D. from Columbia University, and, prior to joining The Mount, practiced law in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Highlights of Ms. Wissler’s sixteen years at The Mount include the return of Wharton’s books to the library, the retirement of The Mount’s debt, and most recently, welcoming over 50,000 visitors to the property in 2017.
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