April 21, 2006

Tech Volunteer Dinner

I briefly came out of my Tech volunteering retirement to attend tonight's annual volunteer recognition dinner because it is traditional for the previous year's winner to award the Inspirational Volunteer of the Year award. It was wonderful to see everyone and, as always, it was a really nice event --- better than usual actually because they sprang for entertainment (a barbershop quartet) and wine. This year's award went to Betty Gurka, an excellent choice!

Posted by Emily at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2005

Not The Tech

I was all excited by the headline on this Forbes article: 'Breathtaking': Gates Gives $15M To Tech Museum, until I read the article which is about a donation to the Computer History Museum, which is cool too of course.

I just thought it was a bit ironic because the article was all like NY has a ton of museums, "But the U.S.' Pacific coast is not without its cultural monuments, too." and then they use the name of another, also very notable museum and landmark, in the headline and don't seem to notice. The AP version had it closer, "Gates to Donate $15M to Computer Museum"

Posted by Emily at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2005

Interim Chief Named

Veteran science museum director to lead The Tech
Formal Search for Permanent Chief Begins
By Karl Schoenberger
Mercury News

"San Jose's Tech Museum of Innovation announced Friday it has appointed Sheila Grinell, a veteran science museum director, to lead the institution until a new chief executive is recruited."

Posted by Emily at 06:20 AM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2005

Peter to Hawaii

I'm behind in my gossip, clearly, but just saw this: From the Tech to job in Hawaii: EX-CHIEF GILES WILL TAKE REINS OF ASTRONOMY EDUCATION CENTER

Giles, 61, who retired in March as the president and CEO of the Tech, will become the director of the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center in Hilo, Hawaii, on Sept. 1.
Posted by Emily at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2005

Commonwealth Club Dinner

I had the opportunity to attend tonight's Commonwealth Club dinner honoring Peter Giles and SJ Mercury News columnist Leigh Weimers. It was a really nice event and I sat at a table with people from Adobe and The Tech which was a lot of fun. Its so inspiring to hear about the decades of service people give to their community!

Wouldn't this be a sweet job? I just need to build up 10 more years of non-profit fundraising and management experience... [the fantastic grants director I was sitting next to at dinner mentioned it] Though this sounds intriguing as well...

Posted by Emily at 09:48 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2005

Volunteer Recognition Dinner

Tonight was our annual Volunteer Reconition Dinner at The Tech. It is always a really nice event, but was particularly special for me this year since I just finished my 2 year term as VAB Chair (and, as you know, I'm taking a leave from volunteering there for a while.) We gave out scholarships to 5 really amazing high school kids (I read the applications this year but thankfully turned the committee over to some new folks) We all got our service pins (I got a 750 hours one, but I don't think that includes my ASTC hours [grin]) Check out Ronnie's little Tech onesie! Its hard to tell in the photo, but it says "The Tech" on the back of it. She is the cutest baby ever.


Stan took this photo of me trying not to cry when accepting my award. They gave me two really nice plaques. Thanks to everyone for voting for me!


Posted by Emily at 08:58 PM | Comments (3)

April 05, 2005

Last VAB Meeting

lastvab1.jpgToday was my very last volunteer advisory board meeting at The Tech. After a year as vice-chair (and rep to the board of directors) and two years now as chair, my term has come to the end. It was a pretty good meeting and a nice send-off with sappy sentiments and lovely parting gifts. I'm going to miss the group and know I leave it in very capable hands (prior to the meeting we interviewed two of the three finalists for the Volunteer Manager position and I feel like we're heading in a very good direction there as well). So thank you to all of you who have put up with my ranting and complaining and roping you into helping out with things over the past few years at the museum. I'm sticking through next week's communication meeting and the annual volunteer dinner later this month, and then will be officially retiring (or at least going on a nice long leave) from volunteering there.

Posted by Emily at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2005

Peter's Retirement Breakfast

This morning was Peter's big retirement breakfast at The Tech. Each department (plus the volunteers) paraded in (some in costumes) and presented him with parting gifts. The volunteers gave him one of those famous mango vests (now also retired) with everyone's signatures. I unfortunately had to duck out before the end for an rss meeting at work, but it was nice to see everyone (since it had been way too long). Next Tuesday's my very last VAB meeting.

Whoa: freaky googling. I just posted this a couple of minutes ago and thought I'd look up to see if there were any press releases or other information about the retirement. So I google a few key phrases to check, and my post is already there indexed (about 20 minutes later). Wow! This could get a person in trouble (as a certain company learned this weekend when a press release was accidentally posted and even though they removed it very shortly, it had already been cached by google and effectively leaked to the universe)Nevermind, it wasn't as freaky as I thought -- the post that comes up in the search is actually my old December one from the announcement of the retirement, but it links to my Tech Category Archive, which of course has this post now added to the top. Phew, that would have been just too fast for me to cope with :)

I did notice, while doing this, that "retirement" is still a very relative term, since apparently he's been out interviewing for a very cool sounding position.

Posted by Emily at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2005

Pulse, a Stomp Odyssey

pulse.jpgAfter our early morning library campaign committee meeting, I raced downtown and made it with about 30 seconds to spare for the special volunteer showing of the new IMAX film, Pulse, a Stomp Odyssey. I was going to wait and see it later, but Van organized a cookies & coffee social for the volunteers after the showing so I wanted to be sure to go to that.

The movie is great - the sounds and images are spectacular. It ties in nicely with the new Amazing Music Studio exhibit (there until May 15) which I haven't even had a chance to play in yet.


Posted by Emily at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2004

Virtual Arm Wrestling

Gizmag Emerging Technology Magazine has an posting called Haptic Arm Wrestling hits the net. The virtual arm wrestling is featured in the new NetPl@net exhibit at The Tech.

The article says:

December 14, 2004 An internet facilitated "haptic" arm-wrestling machine devised to teach children "hands-on" applications of networking in the digital age is the hit of American museums and may spawn a new sports craze. The Haptic Arm Wrestling machine, currently on display at 6 science museums, including the New York Hall of Science in Queens, the Tech Museum in San Jose, and the Imaginarium in Alaska, allows contestants to arm wrestle remote human opponents over the internet while watching live video and audio feeds.

and also mentions that: "Participants at the Tech Museum can also wear and keep a RFID bracelet activation that allows them to enter their ID into the website, providing screenshots of them and their opponent while they were playing."

I was staffing the arm wrestling part of the exhibit yesterday morning and it is definitely popular. We had a very enthusiastic group who got very into the competition. We matched up a couple of times against people from a science museum in Iowa, but they kept cheating and had entire groups of people trying to wrestle at the same time against one kid on our side (because we were trying NOT to cheat - and not to break the machine). It's definitely fun though -- and if you're down near The Tech stop by and see the new stuff!

Posted by Emily at 08:17 AM | Comments (91) | TrackBack

December 14, 2004

Tech Museum CEO Peter Giles to Retire

Breaking news from The Tech this week...

Tech Museum CEO Peter Giles to Retire; Leadership Team and Board of Directors to Build on Museum's Founding Vision

peteratastc.jpgSAN JOSE, Calif. --(Business Wire)-- Dec. 14, 2004 -- Peter Giles, President and CEO of The Tech Museum of Innovation, has decided to retire on March 31, 2005, after 18 years of service. Effective immediately, The Tech's board of directors has promoted Chief Operating Officer Meredith Taylor to President. Egon Zender International has been retained to conduct a national search for a new CEO.

"I am proud of the partnership with the City of San Jose, local businesses, donors and universities that has made The Tech such a unique and special entity. The remarkable teamwork between our amazing staff, board and volunteers has laid a strong foundation for The Tech," said Peter Giles, The Tech's CEO. "I am proud of this team for successfully navigating the dot com bubble burst, while continuing to grow the dream of The Tech. We're more focused than ever on our mission to engage and inspire people of all ages, especially the young. It is now time for new leadership to build on The Tech's founding vision, and I have no doubt in the team's abilities to further our work after my departure."

Read more

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December 02, 2004

Members Holiday Party

gregearthquake.jpgAnother great members holiday party at The Tech! Plus, while we were downtown, I got to introduce Greg to tapioca pearl tea (probably should have started him off with the regular flavored one to start, the fruity flavored ones are awfully sweet) and I finally got to try out Original Joes, a San Jose institution that I've walked by a million times and have never eaten at.

The party itself was great. I love getting to show off The Tech to friends and they do throw a good party. They had marshmallow roasting out on the loading dock, roving carolers (mostly Peggy), IMAX previews of Polar Express (which we're going to go see Sunday if anyone wants to come), cookie decorating, and all the regular cool stuff we love there (including the new Net Planet exhibit, which I worked in on Wednesday, and which turned out very very cool, especially the new 3-D virtual world to play in.) Here's Greg and I on the earthquake platform (because really, if someone's going to come all the way out to California to visit, we might as well show them a nice earthquake!)

Posted by Emily at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2004

2005 Tech Award Nominations

The Tech sent this out to us today and asked that we share it with any contacts we have that may be interested in nominating a candidate for this award.

Tech Museum Awarding $250,000 in Cash Prizes Global Call For Nominations of Innovators Using Technology to Benefit Humanity Nomination Deadline: April 4, 2005 www.techawards.org

Eye catching headline, huh? As you know, The Tech Museum Awards is a
unique and prestigious program that honors and awards innovators from
around the world who use technology to benefit humanity in the categories of:

Economic Development

You can help us reward those making a difference and nominate an individual or organization today. A simple nomination form can be found at www.techawards.org. Self-nominations are accepted and encouraged. Individuals, nonprofit organizations and companies are all eligible. Program details, including judging criteria, can be found at The Tech Museum Awards website listed above.

Each year, 25 Laureates are honored at a gala dinner, invited to participate in press and media coverage, and introduced to a network of influential advisors. Next year's gala is on November 9, 2005. One Laureate in each category will be granted a $50,000 cash prize.

Gillian Caldwell of WITNESS, 2003 Laureate in the Knight Ridder Equality award category and cash prize recipient, called The Tech Museum Awards "...a truly remarkable program that has given WITNESS acclaim for using technology to document human rights abuses. I was deeply honored to be recognized along with 24 other innovators from around the world who are working to improve human life through technology. The exposure generated from receiving this award and the $50,000 cash prize will surely lead to expanded services, awareness, and improved solutions for ending violations of human rights."

Posted by Emily at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2004

Tech Awards

Today was the annual Tech Museum Awards, where the museum honors innovators who are using technology to benefit humanity. I was invited to attend the Tech Laureates Venture Network Showcase this morning where I got a chance to meet this year's 25 Tech Laureates and learn a bit more about their projects. The big gala is this evening.

Its getting lots of good press:
Helping Humanity in the SJ Merc
Group's high-tech efforts to aid Navajo honored in the Denver Post
Honoring technology for changing the world
Projects improved the human condition
, SF Chronicle

Press Release with the winners.

The Tech Museum Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity presented by Applied Materials, Inc., awarded $250,000 at a black-tie gala last night to educators and social entrepreneurs who use technology to benefit mankind. The five $50,000 cash prize recipients hail from Brazil, Guatemala and the United States, and their technology solutions change and save the lives of countless individuals from all backgrounds in over 25 countries.

Each of the five Laureates awarded a cash prize is encouraged to reinvest their winnings in additional innovative programs that utilize technology to solve global challenges and improve the lives of people around the globe.

The 2004 Tech Museum Awards cash prize recipients were:

Dr. Kenneth Owens, Jr. and Paul Burgess of Humboldt State University received the Intel Environment Award for developing remote-controlled, GPS-enabled robots to seek and destroy landmines.

Arcata, CA - http://www.humboldt.edu/~kdo10/demining.html

International Development Enterprises - International received the Accenture Economic Development Award for Easy Drip, an affordable and low-waste micro-irrigation kit for poor rural farmers.

Lakewood, CO - www.ide-international.org

Andrew Lieberman of Asociacion Ajb'atz' Enlace Quiche received the Microsoft Education Award for developing low-cost, bilingual, intercultural technology centers for indigenous Guatemalans.

Santa Cruz del Quiche, Guatemala - www.enlacequiche.org.gt

Rodrigo Baggio of the Committee for the Democratization of Information Technology received the Agilent Technologies Equality Award for leveraging Information & Communication Technology to promote social inclusion of less-privileged people.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - www.cdi.org.br

Dr. Ashok Gadgil of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory received the Affymetrix Health Award for UV Waterworks, a quick, low-cost system to disinfect drinking water in poor regions around the world.

Berkeley, CA, United States -

November 06, 2004

Confgrunt, NCDF2004, Part I

Brittany, Amy and I attended the Northern California Docent Forum 2004 today at the Oakland Museum of California. It was a great meeting and I came away with a lot of ideas (and hopefully a new resolution to get things done instead of only being frustrated that things are so difficult right now.)

I'll have more notes in a bit, but here's the pieces I went to:

Keynote Address: Patrick J. Gallagher
Gallagher & Associates
Design for Innovation: Evolving Styles of Interpretation

Session: The Four Rís: Recruitment, Retention, Recognition and Retirement
Panelists will examine methods of recruitment that attract volunteers who reflect the diversity of their institutionís community, discuss building support systems that retain docents and share ideas for easing docents into reassignment or retirement when that time comes.

Session: Docent Organization and Leadership
Even the smallest of museums have some form of volunteer group organized to ensure that its commitment to visitors and the local community is met. Panelists will describe several organizational structures and their strengths, and address other issues including how to retain and renew program leaders and how to facilitate positive working relationships between the docent organization and the staff.

And then lunch, where I sat with a group talking about staff/volunteer relations and then an open forum where everyone asked questions and shared information.

And after the conference, we had a chance to see their new special exhibit, Whatís Going on?óCalifornia and the Vietnam Era.

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October 23, 2004

NetPlanet Training & Guest Services Lecture

This morning we had Part A of the training for the new NetPl@net exhibit opening at The Tech in November. Its going to be SUPER cool.

Now I'm off to a volunteer lecture about guest services, part of the cool lecture series Tina has organized where volunteers present lectures and workshops to other volunteers and staff on topics they are experts in.

Posted by Emily at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2004


The Tech's Scream Machine exhibit is in this week's (October 20-26, 2004) issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Curves Ahead
A new exhibit about roller coasters at the Tech is best experienced on an empty stomach
By Gary Singh

It was also recently named best museum by the readers of The Wave

Posted by Emily at 11:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 13, 2004

Ups, downs, chocolate, and an unexpected guest

Spent a long and interesting day at The Tech. Started off quite early because I had to drop my car off for a day of tweaks and repairs (ugh). Then I got there and learned that our favorite AG was holding a press conference or something at the museum (and using our volunteer briefing room as his holding area! ick!) The KRON4 article says that "Ashcroft, one of the most polarizing members of the Bush administration, made a fairly subdued appearance at San Jose's Tech Museum of Innovation. There were no signs of protestors anywhere in the museum vicinity." -- but when I left after my shift to go have lunch across the street with Julia, we saw a whole bunch of very active protesters in front of the Fairmont Hotel, a very large effigy of Mr. Ashcroft in the park, and quite a few decked out folks having lunch. Apparently at noon he was addressing the Software & Information Industry Association there. Had they given us some warning I might have gone out and protested as well (which is probably why we weren't warned and why they made sure we didn't leave our bags or anything in the lockers in the briefing room while he was there...) Speaking of Ashcroft, I see the Campaign for Reader Privacy (from the Association of American Publishers and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression) recently delivered 180,000 signatures collected at bookstores and public libraries across the country, asking Congress to amend the Patriot Act "to restore the privacy of our bookstore and library records."

Anyway, school groups are in swing so it was quite a busy morning. I got to work on two floor programs -- a build-your-own-roller coaster (with a marble for the car) and a build-a-building-out-of-paper-and-popsicle-sticks that will withstand an earthquake on our shake table in bedrock, gravel and wet sand (which shows very cool liquefaction action). Dreamt up some fun ideas with Candace about cool things volunteers could do in the galleries.

Had lunch with Julia at the art museum cafe and noticed signs for their new exhibit so I'll have to swing back by there soon. Had meetings there most of the afternoon, not all of which went very well.

And then there was a great thank you party for all the ASTC volunteers -- complete with another chocolate fondue fountain! That, and a really great conversation with Peggy at the end made the middle part of the day fade into the background. It was so great to see all the folks that had come to work on ASTC and it now finally feels like we can put the whole conference finally behind us.


Posted by Emily at 08:11 PM | Comments (1)

October 05, 2004

Golf Tournament

Today's the VeriSign Steve Young Bay Area Classic golf tournament. Steve Young is on the board of The Tech and some of the proceeds go to the museum.

According to Mr. Young's site:

In 1993, I established Forever Young to support community projects and non-profit organizations effectively serving the therapeutic and academic needs of seriously ill and underprivileged children. We are proud to have The Tech Museum join us as our partner in this event. The Tech Museum engages people of all ages and backgrounds in exploring and experiencing technologies affecting their lives, and strives to inspire the young to become innovators in the technologies of the future. You can learn more about these organizations by visiting ForeverYoung.org and TheTech.org.

Google Alerts found this SJ Merc article which mentioned it:

he first VeriSign Steve Young Bay Area Classic golf tournament takes place today at the Half Moon Bay Golf Links. Proceeds from the event will help fund the Forever Young Foundation, the charitable organization founded by the former 49ers quarterback in 1993 to benefit children's health and education projects. The Tech Museum of Innovation also will receive a share of the proceeds.

Young will be joined at the tournament by 111 other golfers, including fellow NFL players and other sports stars and celebrities. There will be no gallery at the event.

Posted by Emily at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2004

Scream Machines

Training today for our new Scream Machines exhibit at The Tech...
scream1.jpgscream2.jpgscream3.jpgscream5.jpgscream4.jpg"Scream Machines is a truly interactive exhibit for the thrill-seeker in all of us. Displays, artifacts, and images encourage visitors to understand the physics of roller coasters, and the physiology and psychology of thrill-seeking. Visitors can ride G-Force, conduct experiments to uncover the science of motion, and even build a mini coaster to test physical forces behind design."

Scream Machines will be at The Tech from September 18-January 3.

Posted by Emily at 05:50 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2004

Record VAB Turnout

Just got back from tonight's Volunteer Advisory Board Meeting at the Tech which I think had the largest turnout of any of the ones I've chaired. We were very excited to welcome new Volunteer Services Manager Roberta Goncalves and to start to roll out the new Volunteer Recruitment Plan that she, Judy and Ingrid have been working on! Next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 19.

Now if I can just get some of tonight's guests/observers to join the board (and I'm still hoping that some day someone else will decide that they want to take the minutes... of course I'm very picky about the minutes so that may never happen)

Posted by Emily at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2004

IMAX Festival

Unfortunately I seem to have signed up to work all weekend at different libraries, but wanted to post this in case any of you local folks were interested. This weekend is:

The Tech's Third Annual International IMAX Film Festival
October 1-3, 2004
See fifteen of the world's best and most popular IMAX films at The Tech for three days only. Many have never been shown in the Bay Area.

Blue Planet
Forces of Nature
Ghosts of the Abyss
India Kingdom of the Tiger
Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West
Mysteries of Egypt
Mystic India
Ocean Men
Pulse: a Stomp Odyssey
Straight Up! Adventures in Vertical Flight
Thrill Ride

Posted by Emily at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2004

We're done!

The conference is officially over! Thank you to everyone who helped! We couldn't have done it without all the volunteers who packaged registration materials, greeted and provided directions, answered a million questions, helped in the sessions, worked at the events, handled the VIPs, staffed the job bank, checked badges at the exhibit hall, and all the other things you all did! There ended up being over 1800 attendees, and over 220 volunteers (we'll get a final count once we go through all the sign-in sheets) covering over 380 different volunteer spots.

I of course came home and immediately went to sleep :)

A few last photos:


Posted by Emily at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2004

ASTC Monday

Another day closer to the end of the conference! Actually, today went quite well (a bit of scrambling at the start, but the open house was fantastic). Here are some shots of the volunteers and Tech staff members at the open house and, the super amazing best part of the conference, the chocolate fondue fountain! I also bought Brenda Laurel's new book and got it signed.


Posted by Emily at 09:14 PM | Comments (1)

September 19, 2004

ASTC Sunday

Some more volunteer snapshots:


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September 18, 2004

Scenes from ASTC Saturday

Some photos of volunteers at ASTC today! Thank you to everyone who helped out (and especially to BobbiLynn who came bearing moral support and emergency props for one of the sessions)


Posted by Emily at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2004

Scenes from ASTC Friday

Some of today's volunteers:

And most exciting of all, my pen pal Riznal from PETROSAINS, The Discovery Centre in Kuala Lumpur turned up at the session I was working at this evening!! (and yes, I'm as tired as I look)


Posted by Emily at 10:30 PM | Comments (0)

ASTC, Friday

The conference is up and running. There are two pre-conference sessions this evening (and I'm filling in as a session aide so I'm waiting for one to finish so I can collect the evaluation forms from the participants) and a bunch of receptions scattered around downtown. It was a pretty crazy day -- I filled in at the airport to greet people when some of my greeters didn't show and ended up covering at the information booth (which luckily isn't too different from working at the reference desk) when the nice volunteer there (who is also signed up to work at the conference so I had met her last week at orientation) had chest pains and we sent her off to the emergency room in an ambulance. I hope she's ok -- I gave her husband my cell phone to let me know how she was doing but I was pretty traumatized after that and left my phone in my car when I raced back to do the last part of my shift at the convention center (so if any of you have been trying to find me, that's why I haven't answered my phone for the past few hours).

Anyway, we'll be back at 6:30 am tomorrow to sign in our early morning registration volunteers!

Posted by Emily at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2004

ASTC Arrives!

astcthursday1.jpgastcthursday2.jpgYes, it feels like we've been planning this FOREVER, but the Association of Science and Technology Centers Conference is finally here in San Jose! By some miracle, I think we managed to fill all the volunteer shifts (which is not to say that we couldn't put you to work if you wanted to come down and help out)

Today we had our first shift of volunteers working to stuff the very snazzy registration materials/tote bags and this evening we had the official training for volunteers helping with registration. Check out our snazzy pink volunteer shirts! Julia and I tried to make the volunteer headquarters a bit more festive for everyone. Tomorrow we start bright and early with registration beginning at 7:30am.


Posted by Emily at 09:40 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2004

Tech Awards Laureates

techawards.jpgThe Tech Museum Awards honor innovators and visionaries from around the world who are applying technology to profoundly improve the human condition in the categories of education, equality, environment, health, and economic development. Individuals, for-profit companies, and not-for-profit organizations are eligible. The Tech Awards showcase their compelling stories and reward their brilliant accomplishments. The Tech Awards program inspires global engagement in applying technology to humanity's most pressing problems by recognizing the best of those who are utilizing innovative technology solutions to address the most urgent critical issues facing our planet.

Each year, candidates are nominated and then invited to submit applications. International panels of judges carefully review the applications according to a set of criteria that emanate from the Awards credo ó Technology Benefiting Humanity. At the Awards Gala each fall, five Laureates in each category are honored, and $250,000 in cash prizes are awarded.

The Tech Museum announced the 2004 Tech Awards Laureates this week.

Check out the very impressive and interesting list!

Posted by Emily at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2004

ASTC Orientation

astcorientation1.jpgWe had our first general orientation for the ASTC Conference (there's another one Wednesday, September 15, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at The Tech Museum's New Venture Hall if anyone is still interested/available to help out.) About 80 people attended! Here's Bill explaining a bit more about what people can expect to find at the conference.


Posted by Emily at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2004

ASTC Again

PR wrote this catchier pitch for ASTC, appealing to your sense of community pride!

For the first time in its thirty-year history, the Assocation of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) will hold their annual conference in Northern California. The Tech Museum of Innovation will be hosting 1,600 museum professionals from around the world this September 18-21.

Now is the time to show thousands of out of towners our spirit, hospitality, and just what makes Silicon Valley so unique. Energetic and friendly volunteers are needed in a number of roles, including registration and check-in, conference session aides, and more. Shifts are 3-5 hours in length depending on assignment and volunteers will be stationed at either The Tech Museum of Innovation or the San Jose Convention Center. T-shirt and refreshments are provided.

To learn more about opportunties and volunteer, visit http://thetech.gjhost.com/astc.

Please join us for this wonderful networking and professional development opportunity!

We're still looking for a bunch of additional volunteers -- especially on Monday, Sept 20 if you're around and not working that day...

Posted by Emily at 05:45 PM | Comments (1)

August 31, 2004

Congrats to Julia!

Congratulations to Julia, one of my ASTC co-conspirators and fellow Wednesday Tech Volunteer, who just announced that she got a full time (paid) job as a gallery interpreter at The Tech! Way to go! She'll be great -- and we're always excited to have new staff members who really understand what's going on and who appreciate what its like to be a volunteer there! Congrats!

Here's a silly photo of Julia, Steven and me that we took last week at the Communication Gallery enCounter

Posted by Emily at 12:33 PM | Comments (1)

August 06, 2004

ASTC Conference - Want to Help?

astcconference.gifIf you haven't already heard me go on and on about it, I wanted to let you all know that there are still some great volunteer openings left for the upcoming Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) Conference here in San Jose September 16-21. Details, job openings, and a signup form are available at http://thetech.gjhost.com/astc/.

We need your help! A wide variety of volunteer positions are available, including:

* Conference Registration
* General Volunteer Assistant
* General Information/Message Center
* Job Bank Volunteers
* Exhibit Hall Entrance Badge Checker
* Session Aides Volunteer
* Conference Events
* Airport Greeters
* VIP Handlers
* Pre and Post Conference Workshop Session Aides

There are many benefits you get for volunteering and it really is supposed to be a great conference with a lot of really interesting people from around the world (plus, you get to work with me and help me reach the goal of getting all the positions filled up!) If you know what days you are available but don't really care what job you sign up for, you can see the list of positions by day.


Posted by Emily at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2004

Quarterly Volunteer Communication Meeting

bobgrimm.jpgTime again for our quarterly all-volunteer communication meeting at The Tech. Today we mostly talked about the upcoming ASTC conference (still trying to recruit volunteers if anyone is interested...). This is Bob Grimm, Tech co-founder and a very active board member, telling us a bit about the history of ASTC and how cool the conference is going to be. Then we broke into small groups and gave volunteers a chance to give feedback to Peter, Meredith and the rest of the senior management. I hope people felt that it was a good meeting! It was hard to get them to stop talking, which seemed like a good sign!

Posted by Emily at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2004

Volunteer Potluck #2

Tonight was our second annual Volunteer Potluck on the Roof! It was also a goodbye party for Rika, who is leaving us next Friday for new adventures (and grad school). It was a really nice event -- I still think that roof is one of the best venues I've seen for a party, and the weather was of course perfect. There was just a lot of positive energy and its the best I've felt about things at The Tech for a while. Everyone is definitely going to miss Rika -- she's done an amazing job!

Here's me and Rika and the card all the volunteers signed for her

I made turkey & brie, and ham & swiss sandwiches (since this year my part of the alphabet was assigned main dishes, and I had to go so early to help set up that I didn't want to make anything hot...) People brought all sorts of amazing things (including some very dangerous desserts!)

Tech President Peter Giles addressed the group and reminded us all that the volunteers are the heart-beat of the museum :)

I forgot to count how many people came, but I think it was a pretty good turnout.
I ended up taking 130 pictures! But I won't bore you with the rest (but will of course post them on our Tech Volunteers Online Community!)

Posted by Emily at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2004


The Tech posted the job opening for volunteer services manager -- it sounds to me like enough work for at least 2 positions (and there are other issues that those of you who work with me on Tech projects know about....)

My role is even mentioned in it:
In conjunction with the VAB chairperson [right now that's me!] and through the direction of the Director of Human Resources, oversees the progress of VAB Committees including training, high school mentoring, annual scholarships, volunteer events, field trips and specialized recruitment.

Posted by Emily at 07:19 AM | Comments (85)

June 16, 2004

Mission to Saturn and Titan

royhayter.jpgCongrats to Tina for organizing another very successful lecture in the Volunteer Lecture & Workshop Series. Today's was "Mission to Saturn and its Earth-like Moon, Titan" by Roy Hayter, and it drew the largest crowd yet (24 people). Here's Roy -- check out his planet vest under his Tech mango vest...

It was a great lecture and certainly very timely and topical (as we used to say at Prism).

Posted by Emily at 05:41 PM | Comments (0)

June 15, 2004


bobbilynnatcamp.jpgIt's camp time! No, not for me (I never really was much of a camper), but Betty's off at life guard training for her summer as a counselor at Brant Lake, and I stopped by to check out BobbiLynn's new digs as assistant-head of The Tech's summer camp (campers don't come until next week). Yay BobbiLynn!

I was down at The Tech for today's Volunteer Advisory Board (VAB) meeting (which included cake since it was Matt's last meeting before he heads off to be a college student at Berkeley) and will be back tomorrow for our weekly ASTC volunteer coordination meeting and the next in the Volunteer Lecture/Workshop series -- so I'm hoping to get to have a quick lunch with BobbiLynn beforehand!

Posted by Emily at 07:40 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2004

New Workbenches

The Tech just opened its new Silicon Workshop section in the Innovation Gallery (upstairs). It features four new extremely cool workbenches. There was a walk-through training for volunteers on Friday and Saturday. Here are some photos. You should definitely stop by and try them out!

Here's Peggy, head of exhibits and one of the most amazing, cool people I've ever met, showing us how to build a smart device to feed our fish.

Brittany and Missy are using logic blocks to program Mr. Potato Head to respond to his environment.

On this workbench, you hardwire a chip to control a car.

Tech COO Meredith Taylor helps Boss Dog and his cats design a simple chip to build a robot dino which will light the barbeque, feed the cats, and help with homework.

Posted by Emily at 06:15 PM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2004

Making Electricity

electricity1.jpgCongrats to Tina on another great lecture in the Volunteer Lecture/Workshop series. This was the third, and featured Tony James discussing "Making Electricity: There is no perfect way". The lecture featured a summary overview of Electricity Generation, we learned about various ways of making electricity, and discussed the pros and cons of the major technologies that are likely to be used globally in the near future. Tony James, a volunteer at The Tech, is a retired GE engineer who spent 40 years in the electric utility industry. Here's Tina and Rika chatting after the lecture.

Posted by Emily at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2004

Gizmo Update

According to today's SJ Merc:

"And last weekend's Gizmo WYSIWYG fundraiser brought in more than $134,000 for the Tech Museum of Innovation. Good, but down from the $240,000 raised in 2001's lingering bubble."

[another update, from May 13's Merc:
"The Tech Museum of Innovation named Jeff Hawkins, creator of Palm and Handspring, as this year's Golden Gizmo award winner. Which, Hawkins told the crowd at last weekend's awards/fundraising dinner, only confirms an ongoing discussion between him and his wife: ``I am, in fact, a geek.'' Hawkins' gag prize, presented by Yahoo's David Filo, was a DVD player, personal organizer, calendar, clock, radio and other, well, gizmos, all fused to a wheeled luggage cart -- a trifle larger than the handheld equivalent that's Hawkins' specialty." ]

Posted by Emily at 07:47 AM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2004


Tonight was the annual The Tech Museum of Innovations's Eighth Annual Traveling Gizmo WYSIWYG Auction Gala held this year at Yahoo!

The theme was Abracadabra... It Works! And you were supposed to dress as your favorite Wizard, Magician, Inventor, business, nerd or in corporate logo attire. I found a fantastic costume store and we all dressed up for the party (thank you guys for being such good sports!)

Bill, Mom, Margaret and Alan came along as my guests

Here's Mom and Bill and me:


Margaret and Alan stalking their bids...

Tarot cards

and fortune telling fish

Mom and Bill with The Tech's president, Peter Giles


Posted by Emily at 10:43 PM | Comments (3)

April 24, 2004

Tech Challenge!

techchallenge1.jpgToday was the 17th Annual Tech Challenge at The Tech Museum. I volunteered in the afternoon as a greeter and a "pool hostess" -- where I signed in high school teams to test out their devices in the "lake" and handed out ribbons. It is really an amazing event.

Here's a SJ Mercury News article covering it.

Here are some of the teams:

Posted by Emily at 06:34 PM | Comments (74)

April 23, 2004

Volunteer Recognition Dinner

voldinner3.jpgTonight was the annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner at The Tech Museum -- always a really nice event. I had the honor of introducing the Volunteer Advisory Board (we all got to wear cool medals) and giving out one of the scholarships.

Here's Rika getting a very well deserved standing ovation for all her amazing work. I also won an alarm clock in the raffle (Greg's magic raffle-luck must have rubbed off on me!).

Posted by Emily at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2004

National Volunteer Week

volweek.gifThis week is also National Volunteer Week! There's stuff going on all week in our daily briefings at The Tech, and Friday night is the annual Volunteer Recognition Event!

Looking for ways to volunteer? Check out this great Volunteer Match site, put in your zipcode, and find all sorts of great opportunities near you!

Posted by Emily at 07:52 AM | Comments (1)

April 05, 2004

Junior League Lunch

Rika, Van and I attended the Junior League of San Jose's Volunteer Recognition Lunch today at the Santa Clara Marriott. Van was honored with a certificate from the Junior League. Over 900 people attended the luncheon and it was a really lovely event with inspiring video profiles of the Crystal Bowl Award Winners.


Posted by Emily at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2004

Tech Scholarships

Spent the evening reading over the applications for the Tech Scholarships -- 17 really amazing high school students. Its going to be tough to narrow it down to the finalists tomorrow when the committee meets! Like last year, I'm really impressed with the caliber of the students and their essays about working at The Tech really make me proud to be part of this organization. (sniff)

Posted by Emily at 10:16 PM | Comments (1)

April 01, 2004

Q1 Volunteer Communication Meeting

Tonight was our quarterly all-volunteer communication meeting. Lots of great information from lots of The Tech's staff and the VAB. There are tons of exciting things coming up -- including a HARRY POTTER IMAX this summer!!!

Posted by Emily at 08:27 PM | Comments (1)

March 26, 2004

Caution: Grown-Ups at Play

At the end of today's Tech Museum board meeting, the members of the board had a chance to play in the Engineer It and Genetics exhibits. Here's a quick animation of some of the board members at work on the catenary arch (still my favorite part of the exhibit). Unfortunately my camera batteries were really low so I couldn't take shots all that quickly.
Board Members at Play
Then I was back later in the day for an afternoon of jet-pack rides and earthquakes.

Posted by Emily at 07:08 PM | Comments (2)

February 15, 2004


Attended a lecture on semiconductors today at The Tech. Here Tina introduces the speaker, Jeff Katz. It was a great presentation and will hopefully be just the start of a great series of events for Tech volunteers spotlighting different Tech volunteers. I video taped the lecture and hope that it comes out better than my last attempt (which had no sound).

Posted by Emily at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2004

Tech Now

NBC 11's technology show, Tech Now, tapes at The Tech each Wednesday during my shift. This week the camera angle captured the curiousity counter during most of the shots, so when I tuned in to watch tonight, there I was!
I can't wait until I have the technology to be able to send tv screenshots to my computer! In the meantime, at least with TIVO I can pause it long enough to take a digital photo.

Posted by Emily at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

Engineer It! Training

arch.gifTraining this morning for Engineer It!, which just opened at The Tech yesterday. I took a ton of photos to post to the Tech Volunteers' Online Community. This is a quick animation of The Catenary Arch, which requires a group effort to build and ends up being 7 ft tall.

Posted by Emily at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2004

VAB Meeting

Long VAB meeting tonight but it seemed like we got a lot done. I'm going to be good and type up the minutes right now while they're fresh (I'm still hoping that one day someone else will volunteer to take the minutes... sigh)

Posted by Emily at 07:48 PM | Comments (580)

January 24, 2004

Tech Meetings

Spent the day in meetings at the Tech. First there was the board advance (not a "retreat", since we talk about moving forward, not back) and then a meeting of the scholarship committee, which I ran.

Here's my table for the board lunch, including many of the panelists from the discussion. I have a ton of notes too type up, but am too tired tonight to deal with them.

Posted by Emily at 07:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2004

New Adobe Tower

Volunteered at a Community Fair celebrating the opening of Adobe's new tower.

Here's the Mayor Ron Gonzales and Adobe President/CEO Bruce Chizen about to cut the ribbon.
and Erinn at the Tech's table

Posted by Emily at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2004

Tech friends

Here are some of my Wednesday Tech Museum buddies this morning on our shift:

Steven, me, Rika, Julia and Amy (with Cosmo, our AIBO robot dog)

Posted by Emily at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2003

Jellyfish DNA

jellyfish.jpgAt today's Board meeting, we got to do a little genetic engineering and inject jellyfish DNA into bacteria to make it glow! A picture of our work was available online on Monday. Ours was labeled "the boiler makers" because my two lab partners -- one Moira Gunn from Tech Nation -- both went to Purdue apparently.

Posted by Emily at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2003

Volunteer Holiday Party

IMG_1891.jpgToday was the Volunteer Holiday Party which was a lot of fun! BobbiLynn and my cookies didn't win, but the competition was pretty rough! I did win one of the raffle prizes though, two tickets to the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco.

I think the best part though was watching Roomba, our robotic vaccuum, clean up all the cookie crumbs after the party!

Then I had dinner and hung out with Rika and Laura which was great!

Here's a picture of Brittany chasing Roomba around.

Posted by Emily at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2003

Members Holiday Party

ellensegway.jpgEllen and I celebrated the last day of our Research class (yay!) by going to the Tech Museum's Member Party! They had a real reindeer and lots of fun crafts -- plus Ellen got to try out the Segway.memhol1.jpg

December 02, 2003

Volunteer Management

Spent the day at a CompassPoint workshop on Volunteer Management and then chaired the VAB meeting.

Posted by Emily at 08:31 PM | Comments (0)

November 08, 2003

Five Senses Wow Training

IMG_1569.jpgTraining today for the upcoming "Five 5enses WOW! Experience" at the Tech -- including floor programs, demos and design challenges like "Hands-on Digestion", "What's That Smell?", "Holy Halitosis!", and "It's Not Snot" (most are tie-ins to Grossology, obviously) I made a kaleidoscope and a batch of purple snot (polyvinyl alcohol, borax, water, and food coloring). Here's some of the group working on the "Snot Shot" design challenge...

Posted by Emily at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2003

All Volunteer Communication Meeting

emily1.jpegTonight was an All-Volunteer Communication Meeting, which we hope to have quarterly. I was the emcee and tried to video tape it but carelessly didn't check the sound and had a microphone with a dead battery so I have an hour of video with absolutely no sound at all. Oh well. I had hoped to put video clips up on the online community, but we'll have to settle for screenshots and notes this time around.

Posted by Emily at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2003

Al Roker at the Tech!

Al Roker was broadcasting from the Tech this morning! Of course to broadcast for the 7am EST Today Show he was there at 4am PST, so I couldn't go and see him in person. He hosted the Tech Awards there last night.

Posted by Emily at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2003

Tech Volunteers Potluck

pastasalad.jpg Tonight was the first potluck for the Tech Volunteers and Staff thrown by the Fellowship Subcommittee of the Volunteer Advisory Board (which I currently chair, the VAB that is, luckily not that subcommittee). It was a great event with over 50 people, good food, a fabulous view from the roof of the Tech Museum, and even games and prizes. I made pasta salad (pictured).

Here's BobbiLynn and her husband Glen (http://www.glenandbobbilynn.com) with Tech President Peter Giles. Plus a view of the crowd.

Posted by Emily at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2003

Grossology Training

IMG_1093.JPG.jpgGrossology training today at the Tech. Its really a first class exhibit and despite the fact that the content is truly and utterly gross, it should be a lot of fun to work with.

Grossology will be at the Tech from Oct 4-Jan 4. The photo is of my friend Laura with "Nigel Nose-It-All."

Posted by Emily at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2003

Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Went to an event this evening at the Tech sponsored by Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network (http://www.jointventure.org/) It was a very interesting event announcing their latest report and trying to get people to join their new Roundtable.

logojv.gif There was an article announcing the new report in yesterday's San Jose Mercuty News. It summed up the report with, "To revive its economy, Silicon Valley must focus on four key areas, according to a report by a group of local experts: expanding its global presence, getting its public finances in order, becoming more livable and merging biotechnology, nanotechnology and information technology into a new industry."

They're starting four intiatives designed to:

  • Promote a strong, long-term fiscal foundation for government to invest in people, infrastructure, and quality of life;
  • Accelerate the convergence of biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology;
  • Expand the use of these technologies to improve health, education, and transportation; and
  • Build relationships among technology leaders in Silicon Valley and other regions of the world for mutual economic benefit.

Posted by Emily at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2003

Tech Board Meeting

boardmeeting.jpgI'm filling in as the Volunteer Representative to the Tech Museum's Board of Directors and attended the fall meeting this morning. (I sat on the Board this past year and am filling in since Asfia took a job in San Diego and had to resign her position).

Here's Rick showing off the All Energy Vehicle Design Challenge where you have to build a vehicle (which will carry a "passenger") to be propelled by wind and water power (as well as gravity). Design Challenges are a key model that the Tech uses -- "The Tech's signature pedagogical approach to learning Science and Technology" -- and over 24,000 Design Challenge curriculum pieces have been downloaded from their web site. I'm hoping to convince BobbiLynn to co-coach a Design Challenge Competition team with me next Spring.

Posted by Emily at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)
Emily's Musings: Tech Museum