As the United States faces both growing science-related challenges (climate change and a pandemic, for example) and an increase in science denial, programs like the one at AMNH are training teachers to help students navigate complicated scientific topics in their classrooms.

Museums have largely escaped the culture wars roiling many school districts and are still seen as trusted institutions. Across party lines, the public supports museums, rating them as one of the most trustworthy institutional sources of information in the nation — more credible than local newspapers, nonprofit organizations and the U.S. government, according to data from the American Alliance of Museums.

Given this public trust, science museums across the nation are taking on a bigger role in supporting teachers in the classroom and helping learners think critically about science. From providing free field trips to creating new, education-focused spaces and expanding teacher professional development opportunities, they are on the front lines of promoting scientific literacy and filling gaps in science education. Their mission is even more important now, in an era where science denial is more virulent, more widespread, and its proponents more dogged, said Lee McIntyre, a Boston University researcher who’s written several books about science denial and the spread of misinformation.

Science centers are uniquely positioned to bring timely lessons on topics like climate change to students, according to Adam Fagen, spokesman for the Association of Science and Technology Centers, which represents about 400 science centers across the nation.

Read the full article about scientific literacy by Rossilynne Skena Culgan at The Hechinger Report.