The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) is an organization of science centers and museums dedicated to furthering public engagement with science among increasingly diverse audiences. ASTC encourages excellence and innovation in informal science learning by serving and linking its members worldwide and advancing their common goals.
Through strategic alliances and global partnerships, ASTC also supports science centers and museums in proactively addressing critical societal issues, locally and globally, where understanding of and engagement with science are essential.
Founded in 1973, ASTC now numbers nearly 600 members in 45 countries. Members include not only science centers and museums, but also nature centers, aquariums, planetariums, zoos, botanical gardens, and natural history and children's museums, as well as companies, consultants, and other organizations that share an interest in informal science education.
Major services provided by ASTC include:
- sponsoring the ASTC Annual Conference, Noyce Leadership Institute, ASTC Connect discussion forums, and other professional development opportunities
- publishing ASTC Dimensions, the bimonthly news journal of the science center field
- tracking and analyzing trends in the science center field
- promoting international action on global science issues
- representing science center interests before the U.S. Congress and federal agencies
- working to improve science exhibitions by hosting the community web site ExhibitFiles.org and providing traveling exhibition services
- supporting and housing the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education and hosting an Informal Science Education Network listserv.
ASTC also promotes equity and diversity by providing members with resources and tools to increase the number of individuals from underrepresented and/or underserved groups who visit and work in museums.