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ASU builds ‘virtual museum’ with China

November 07, 2007

ASU has entered into a new collaborative relationship to build the China Digital Science and Technology Museum (CDTSM), a “virtual museum” that provides interesting, interactive and educational science exhibits to people in China.

The partnership marks the first international collaboration for the museum project.

Through the new partnership, ASU will contribute materials to the museum. In return, the university will have the opportunity to share its groundbreaking research from all colleges and disciplines, as well as receive increased visibility and promotion in China.

A memorandum of understanding for the collaboration was signed Oct. 29, when a delegation representing the Chinese Association of Science and Technology (CAST), the Chinese academy of Sciences and the Chinese Ministry of Education visited ASU.

The CDSTM is an effort to promote a public understanding of science in China, especially among younger generations. Unlike traditional museums, though, the CDTSM is completely Web-based; there are no physical exhibits for its patrons to visit.

“The Internet-based platform of the museum is original and innovative, and we are excited to be a part of the project,” says Rick Shangraw, vice president for research and economic affairs at ASU. “This is a unique way for ASU’s research accomplishments to reach an international audience.”

ASU’s involvement with the CDSTM project stems from an ongoing relationship with CAST and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which began in 2005 when Jonathan Fink, the Julie Ann Wrigley Director of the Global Institute of Sustainability, led an ASU delegation to participate in the Chinese Science and Technology Week. ASU was the first international institution invited to participate in the event.

“The international collaboration with ASU is sign of great progress for the China Digital Science and Technology Museum, and we look forward to working with a university that has such a rich background in research,” says Zhang Xiaolin, director of the information center for CAST. “By creating this partnership, we will be able expand research internationally, and enhance and expand the information available at the museum.”

The CDSTM project, which began in December 2005, is the only Chinese project addressing public science and technology education. The foundation of the museum already has been created, and it includes interactive exhibits, resource databases, science news columns, and a national platform for sharing science and technology information. The museum creators have plans for significant expansion.

Samantha Irwin,
Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Affairs