Butler's $2.9M grant to create new kind of science museum

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The National Science Foundation has awarded Butler University's Center for Urban Ecology a four-year, $2.9 million grant—money the university will use to create sites along six Indianapolis waterways that will educate the public about the city's water system.
“We’re creating the first science museum in Indianapolis, but it will not be a building,” said Tim Carter, director of the Center for Urban Ecology. “Instead, we’re using the city itself as a learning environment and focusing on six waterways and the adjacent neighborhoods.”

The six waterways are the White River, Fall Creek, Central Canal, Eagle Creek, Pleasant Run and Pogue’s Run.

By spring 2015, the six "city as living laboratory sites" will feature activities such as dance, music and poetry that will interpret scientific content.

In addition, the project will be accessible virtually through an app for mobile devices so that temporary installations will have a life beyond the live performances.

“This innovative form of informal science learning combining scientific content and artistic endeavors of sculpture, music, dance, and poetry has the potential to reframe how future science museums around the country are constructed and programmed,” Carter said.

Funding will go to the artists, for installing sites, and toward research and evaluation.



  • Public Arts = Public Good...
    Using money for public art is better than than giving it to the banks.. How's TARP working out for the Average Joe? Not to good. Pumping 80M per month into Wall Street is not helping Main Street. This way at least the public will SEE a benefit. Pretty basic stuff.
  • Public art
    I guess we should give money away to anything that will make people feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Can't believe I am such a moron to think of $2.9 million worth of better use of this money.
  • Not a Waste...
    This is a good idea. Public art is the best use of money. I painted a mural downtown (Sunflowers mural, 30th and central),it was amazing the comments I got while painting that mural. Here is an actual "quote" from someone driving by as I painted the mural: "Your mural makes me feel happy." A lady driving down the street actually said that. That just blew my mind. When is the last time someone said that about a government OR corporate program/project? All that from just painting a wall. Public art is the BEST use of money, morons just don't understand that it is.
    • Are you kidding?
      Three words: What a waste!

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    1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

    2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

    3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

    4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

    5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.