Carnegie Museum of Natural History Appoints First Curator of Public Engagement
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania…Mary Ann Steiner joins Carnegie Museum of Natural History as its first Curator of Public Engagement. This newly developed position was created in response to goals set forward by the museum’s 2009 strategic plan, supporting the museum’s commitment to science literacy by sharing the museum’s research through exhibitions and programs. Steiner came on board June 28, 2010.
As Curator of Public Engagement, Steiner heads the Division of Public Programs and oversees the development, implementation, display, and evaluation of exhibitions and educational programming—at the museum, offsite, or virtually. A major focus of her work is to fully integrate the museum’s world-renowned scientific research into exhibitions and programs such that they illuminate the processes that have shaped our world and its inhabitants. Steiner oversees the exhibition halls, collaborates with exhibition designers and developers, leads a team of public programs staff, and fosters collaborations and partnerships with other institutions.
Steiner comes to the museum from the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Learning in Out of School Environments (UPCLOSE) where, as a graduate researcher, she studies how universities and museums support community learning for people of all ages, and how community knowledge can inform the work of these institutions. Prior to her work at UPCLOSE, Steiner served at the Science Museum of Minnesota as Director of the Youth Science Center, and at the National Science Foundation as Program Director for Informal Science Education.
Through consultancy and research publications, Steiner has made many contributions to the museum and informal science education fields. She was recently invited to present to the US–China Science Center Forum in Beijing based on “Inclusion, Disabilities, and Informal Science Learning”—her paper published in 2010 by the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE). Steiner has considerable experience in the areas of youth programming, program development and evaluation, and inclusion of diverse audiences as they relate to informal science education.
Steiner is a doctoral candidate in Learning Sciences and Policy at the University of Pittsburgh, and holds a bachelor of fine arts from Bard College and masters of education from the University of Minnesota.
Carnegie Museum of Natural History, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, is among the top natural history museums in the country. It maintains, preserves, and interprets an extraordinary collection of 22 million objects and scientific specimens used to broaden understanding of evolution, conservation, and biodiversity. Carnegie Museum of Natural History generates new scientific knowledge, advances science literacy, and inspires visitors of all ages to become passionate about science, nature, and world cultures. More information is available by calling 412.622.3131 or by visiting the website, www.carnegiemnh.org.