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ERIC Number: EJ830671
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 89
ISSN: ISSN-0036-8326
Institutional History of an Interactive Science Center: The Founding and Development of the Exploratorium
Ogawa, Rodney T.; Loomis, Molly; Crain, Rhiannon
Science Education, v93 n2 p269-292 Mar 2009
This study examines the historical conditions that fostered significant reform in science education. To understand these conditions, we employ a framework drawn from the new institutionalism in organization theory to study the founding and early development of the Exploratorium--a prominent science center that greatly impacted the field of science education. We examine how the Exploratorium employed institutional resources that were available in its environment to develop a new type of organization: an interactive science center. Our findings reveal that the Exploratorium was shaped by the state, which includes all levels of government; the mass media; and the professions, including science, education, and museums. In addition, we explore the pivotal role an individual, Frank Oppenheimer, played in leveraging the institutional environment in which an organization was developing. Our findings suggest that (a) reform in science education may be more profoundly advanced by the development of a new type of organization than by "tinkering" with an existing type of organization such as schools, and (b) that interactive science centers should exercise caution in navigating the changing seas of science education by maintaining their core mission and collaborating with new types of organizations that arise in response to the changing environment.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California