Case Study: North Museum of Nature and Science

Welcome to another installment of our case study series, where we dive into the collaborations between Millersville University Conference Services and esteemed organizations. Today, our spotlight shines on the North Museum of Nature and Science, a venerable institution in the heart of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Since its inception in 1953, the North Museum has been a symbol of scientific exploration and cultural enrichment. By captivating audiences of all ages with its diverse array of exhibits and hands-on activities. From encountering the T-Rex to voyaging through the cosmos in the SciDome Theater, the North Museum offers a dynamic blend of education and excitement, earning its rightful place as Lancaster’s premier museum.

Interview with Daniel Daneker, Science Fair Coordinator at the North Museum of Nature and Science

Tell us about your organization and the events that you have held at Millersville University.

The science fair has been part of the Lancaster County STEM landscape for over 70 years. In 2009, the North Museum began coordinating the science fair. The North Museum Science and Engineering Fair (NMSEF) is one of six International Science and Engineering Fairs (ISEF) in the state of Pennsylvania. The event at MU is the culmination of work and research by local middle school and high school students. At NMSEF, students display their research and are interviewed by judges from STEM industry experts and college and university representatives. Each year, the two top champions from NMSEF are provided with an all-expense paid trip to the International Science Fair (ISEF) competing with over 1500 of the brightest students on the planet.

Visit the North Museum

Uploaded by North Museum on 2021-01-16.

What have been some of your goals with sponsoring the various events?

The North Museum strives to provide a free and equitable STEM experience for the students in our community. With the generous support of the STEM community (both financially and with volunteers), NMSEF is a culmination of that goal.

What have been the successes that you have realized through your campus events?

NMSEF has bounced back from the pandemic slump. Our collaboration with MU has been part of that success. While we continue to have growth in the number of NMSEF participants, MU’s facilities are a good match for our current needs for space, facilities, technology, and food service. Another positive we have developed over the years is the excellent working relationship with the event staff as well as the College of Science and Technology at Millersville University. The dean has worked very hard to develop a series of STEM tours for the students as they participate in NMSEF. These relationships are the key to the event’s success at the venue.

What can you share regarding the event logistics that have helped make your events successful?

MU provided a perfect venue for the size of NMSEF. We not only required floor space for tables so the students could display their research and be interviewed by the judges, but also award ceremony space with a stage, media technology, and seating for 1000 people. Couple the larger space with the need for judges to deliberate in a smaller room as well as the pizza party for the students (just before the awards ceremony), and it is easy to see why Millersville University “checked the boxes” we needed for the venue of NMSEF.

Why do you decide to come back to Millersville University for your events?

In any venture, there will be problems. There is no escaping this fact. The way you deal with those problems is essential to moving forward. The way MU’s staff responded to these issues is why many advocated coming back to the venue for NSMEF. These tables were originally set up in the wrong space – okay, let’s move them and get it right. We need a second mic set up – not a problem, we can make this work. Approaching problems with a “we can do this attitude” is a very positive working relationship and it is much appreciated.

What general advice do you have for other groups that are planning events for their organization?

As with any relationship, communication is key. Early and often, keep the lines of communication open. Set clear and definable parameters and expectations to limit the surprises. When the surprises do come (and they will), remember you are on the same team and you have to work together to solve the issue at hand.

In summary, the partnership between Millersville University Conference Services and the North Museum of Nature and Science exemplifies the power of collaboration in fostering educational excellence and community engagement. Through the North Museum Science and Engineering Fair (NMSEF), students are provided with a platform to showcase their research and ignite their passion for STEM fields. With Millersville University’s unwavering support and facilities, NMSEF continues to thrive, serving as a testament to the success that can be achieved through a shared vision and mutual respect. As we look ahead, we are excited to further nurture this relationship, enriching the lives of countless learners and shaping the future of scientific inquiry together.

If you liked what you learned about The North Museum check out some of their socials to find out more:

Learn more about the science and engineering fair using this link.

*Photos and videos courtesy of The North Museum of Nature and Science