Scientists, policy makers, and social theorists acknowledge a current crisis in the public understanding of science, with significant consequences for policy and practice. Medical museums hold great potential to address this crisis, because their focus includes issues of major social significance, including controversial scientific innovations and public health concerns. In order to do so successfully, however, these cultural institutions needs to break with their standard strategies and employ new techniques to engage with visitors. This workshop brings together scientists, museum staff, academic researchers in the medical humanities, and science communication and public engagement experts to develop joint exhibition projects and other public activities where innovative approaches can be tested and improved.
· The conceptual goal is to develop new models for the communication of science in museums and public engagement activities.
· The practical goals for the workshop are: a joint grant application to fund future activities; and a draft project plan of proposed consortium activities (including exhibitions and public events) over the next 5 years.
· The long-term goal is: a series of jointly-developed exhibitions and activities testing new models of science communication for museums that are multi-directional (instead of didactic, from expert to public), and that can be tailored to address many different issues across scientific disciplines.