Sci-Port receives Museums & Communities Collaborations Abroad grant from the American Association of Museums
Published Thursday, August 11, 2011 11:00 am
by Karen Wissing

On Wednesday, Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center announced the receipt of a $60,000 grant for the 2011 Museums & Community Collaborations Abroad (MCCA) program by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  The MCCA program pairs museums in the United States with museums abroad for a cross-cultural exchange.

Sci-Port will partner with planetarium in Torino, Italy on a project entitled "Not Just Another Building on the Street."  Formal educators from Italy and informal education staff from will travel to Louisiana for a week-long exchange program this fall, and formal educators from northwest Louisiana and Sci-Port's informal education staff will travel to Torino for one week in spring 2012.  The project goals are to make each museum's planetarium relevant to teenage audiences, as well as for educators to increase their cultural understanding about the interaction between the formal and informal education system in another country.

"This grant and partnership with is a continuation of a program that began a couple of years ago," said Ann Fumarolo, Sci-Port's President and CEO.  "We received a grant from MCCA for a cultural exchange of students in 2010, and were given an opportunity to compete for a follow-up grant to build on our initial project earlier this year. The first exchange was so inspiring and brought so much to both our museums in terms of building our teenage audiences, and when given this opportunity, our friends at immediately agreed that we should submit a follow-up grant to MCCA."

"The biggest difference between the follow-up grant project and our initial project is that this time we will be traveling solely with educators," explains Cathy Williamson, Caddo Parish's in-house education coordinator, who serves as the liaison between Caddo Parish schools and Sci-Port and who will be traveling as part of the exchange in the spring.  "Teachers see hundreds of students each day.  Sci-Port sees thousands of students each year.  The scope of this grant is much broader than before.  We are going to be able to reach so many more students this way.  Teachers are the natural conduit for learning; the best teachers can inspire and excite students."

Students in the classes of the educators who will be traveling as part of the cultural exchange are going to use social media to develop a planetarium show that will be shown to high school earth science classes and that can be shared with other museums in the United States and Italy.  "Students in both countries will have input on the graphics, music and overall 'look' to the planetarium show so that it's something that's appealing to them and their peers," explains Greg Andrews, Sci-Port's Planetarium Manager.

The MCCA awards are administered by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and receives financial support from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State.  They connect U.S. communities with communities abroad through innovative, museum-based exchanges. MCCA projects involve community members as active participants in shaping their collaborative experience, produce tangible outputs, and incorporate multiple activities that reach beyond museum walls. They also develop models for sustainable collaboration that have potential to be adopted by the larger museum field and other arts organizations.

"The Sci-Port Center has a proven record of success in making MCCA work their colleagues in Italy, their local schools and their community," said AAM president Ford W. Bell. "This continued grant will extend this important work, as well as the important work of the MCCA program itself, committed as it is to building cross-cultural bridges."

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About the American Association of Museums
The American Association of Museums (AAM) has been bringing museums together since 1906, helping to develop standards and best practices, gathering and sharing knowledge and providing advocacy on issues of concern to the entire museum community. With more than 15,000 individual, 3,000 institutional and 300 corporate members, AAM is dedicated to ensuring that museums remain a vital part of the American landscape, connecting people with the greatest achievements of the human experience, past, present and future. For more information, visit

About the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the Department of State fosters mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through international exchanges and cultural programs. For more information about the activities of the ECA, see

About has been conceived as an educational and didactic centre of astronomy and space physics based on the most modern techniques to explain to the public the most advanced theories and knowledge of the Universe. From this prospect the location of the Museum and Planetarium next to the Astronomical Observatory of Turin is intended to promote a connection in between the space researchers and the public. For more information, visit

About Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center
Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center is a 92,000 square-foot science and entertainment center featuring 290 hands-on exhibits, 70 interactive programs and demonstrations, a Space Center and Space Dome Planetarium, IMAX Dome Theatre, gift shop and cafe.  Sci-Port is located at 820 Clyde Fant Parkway on the downtown Shreveport Riverfront.  From September through February,
Sci-Port's hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday, Noon - 6 p.m.  From March through  August, Sci-Port is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday, Noon - 6 p.m.  For information regarding hours, IMAX showings or special programs, call
(318) 424-3466, toll free at (877) 724-7678 or visit




Contact Info

Sci-Port Discovery Center
820 Clyde Fant Parkway
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101


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