Drawn to Science Education: Studying Science Teaching and Learning through Drawings

Elsa Bailey

Elsa Bailey, Ph. D., Principal Researcher and Director of Elsa Bailey Consulting, has over eleven years of evaluation experience with museums and museum-school projects and more than twenty-five years of experience as an educator in both museums and schools.  She brings to her work considerable expertise on learning and learning organizations, and holds extensive and direct knowledge of museums, schools, universities, and partnerships among these communities.  Her informal education research experience includes conducting visitor studies in museums, program evaluation, and research on learning in informal science education environments.

Dr. Bailey’s direct experience as an informal science educator includes serving as Director of Teacher Education at the Miami Museum of Science; designing and implementing professional development for teachers; providing museum outreach to schools; and coordinating museum programs serving both children and families. Her doctoral research focused on the professional growth of science museum educators, particularly those who work extensively with teachers.

Dr. Bailey is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) in the role of Division Director of Informal Science Education.  Her writing is well represented in the informal education literature, and she often presents both nationally and internationally at major informal education conferences and other events. 

Professional Preparation:

The City College of New York, Psychology, B.A., 1965
Bank Street College, Education, M.S., 1971
Lesley University, Educational Studies (Museums & Schools), Ph.D., 2003


2/05 -present Elsa Bailey Consulting
San Francisco, CA
• Director and Principal Researcher:
Evaluation of exhibits & museum education projects
3/04-2/05 University of California, San Francisco • Director, Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP)

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

• Director of Programs, Smithsonian Center for Education & Museum Studies (SCEMS)
7/96-2/03 Lesley University, Cambridge, MA • Research Associate, Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG)

Miami Museum of Science, Miami, FL

• Director, Center For Excellence (CFE)

6/87-6/89 Historical Museum of Southern Florida • Curriculum development and implementation, (PreK-6)

A Place to Learn, Miami, FL

• Curriculum development and implementation of (K-12) individualized programs in reading, math, and science

R.C. Bailey Studio, Miami Springs, FL

• Artist, designer, teacher, and business manager for freelance art studio
9/65-6/77 New York City Board of Education, New York, NY • Coordinator and teacher - Head Start Program; Bilingual Kindergarten; First & Second Grade


Bailey, E. B. (2007) “How museum educators build and carry out their profession: An examination of situated learning within practice.” In Emma Nardi, editor, Thinking, evaluating, re-thinking.  Milano, Italy: FrancoAngeli.

Bailey, E. B. (2006) “Researching museum educators’ perceptions of their roles, identity, and practice.  Journal of Museum Education Volume 31, Number 3.  Fall 2006.

Bailey, E. (2006) “Hiring, Supporting, and Developing Museum Educators for your Science Center.” In Cynthia Yao editor, Handbook for Small Science Centers. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press (A division of Rowman & Littlefield Inc.)

Bailey, E.  & Hein, G. E. (2006) “Evaluation 101.” In Cynthia Yao, editor, Handbook for Small Science Centers. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press (A division of Rowman & Littlefield Inc.)

Bailey, E.  (2003) “On the Boundaries of Informal Learning and Schools.”  In Sheila Grinell, A Place for Learning Science:  Starting a Science Center and Keeping it Running (pp. 60-61). Washington, DC: Association of Science-Technology Centers.

Bailey, E. B. & Hein, G. E. (2002). “Museum Educators and Communities of Practice.” ASTCDimensions, Nov./Dec. 2002.

Bailey, E.  & Hein, G. E. (2002) "Museums and the Standards: Perspectives on How Museums in the United States Are Being Affected by the National Education Reform Movement," in Dufresne-Tassé, C. editor, Evaluation: Multi-Purpose Applied Research, Montreal: ICOM/CECA, 2002, pp. 85-96. Also available: http://www.christchurchartgallery.org.nz/ICOMCECA2000/papers.shtml

Bailey, Elsa (1999). “Review of Selected References from Literature Search on Fieldtrips/School Group Visits to Museums.” Washington DC: Association of Science Technology Centers. Available: http://www.astc.org/resource/educator/ftrips.htm

Bailey, Elsa, Bronnenkant, K., Kelley, J., & Hein, G.E. (1998). “Visitor Behavior at a Construc- tivist Exhibition:  Evaluating Investigate! at Boston’s Museum of Science.”  In Colette Dufresne-Tassé (Ed.), Evaluation and Museum Education:  New Trends. (pp. 149-168). Montreal, Canada: ICOM/CECA, Musée de la civilization, Université de Montréal. Also available as PDF: http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=Visitor+Behavior+at+a+Constructivist+Exhibition:+Evaluating+Investigate!+at+Boston's+Museum+of+Science&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Bailey, Elsa (1998). “Two Stories of Collaboration and Cross-Fertilization:  Museum-School Partnerships in Massachusetts.”  Journal of Museum Education Volume 23, Number 2.

Synergistic Activities:

• Evaluations conducted pertinent to this proposal include - Museum of Science, Boston: “Cosmic Questions” exhibit, formative; “Messages” exhibit, summative; “Living on the Edge” exhibit, summative.  New England Aquarium: “Sounds of the Sea” exhibit, front-end, formative & summative; “Aquarium Medical Center” exhibit, summative.  Chabot Science Center:  “Fieldtrip Speedbump”, front-end, formative & summative.  Harvard Project Zero, Underground Railway Theater, DeCordova Museum. Cambridge Schools: “Art Works”
• National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Board 2006-2009, Division Director, Informal Science Education
• Guest Editor, Fall 2006 issue, Journal of Museum Education, “The Professional Relevance of Museum Educators: Perspectives from the Field.”
• Doctoral research on the professional growth of museum educators:  Elsa B. Bailey (2003). How museum educators build and carry out their profession: An examination of situated learning within practice.  Unpublished Dissertation, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA.
• Curriculum development at the Miami Museum of Science: Early Childhood Hands-on Science (ECHOS) (PreK-2); Building and Enhancing Science Teacher Trainers (BESTT), a K- 6 interdisciplinary leadership workshop series

Collaborators & Other Affiliations:

George Hein, Lesley University; TERC
Susan Cohen, Lesley University, Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG)
Wendy Meluch, Visitor Studies Services
Monica Smith, Smithsonian Institution
Dale McCreedy, Franklin Institute
Chris Parsons, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Zahava Doering, Smithsonian Institution
Cynthia Yao, Consultant
Lynn Dierking, Inst. Lrng. Innovation
Amy Lowen, Louisville Science Center
Dennis Schatz, Pacific Science Center
Marilyn Johnson, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Beryl Rosenthal, MIT Museum
Sue Allen, Exploratorium