Emlyn Koster: Biography

With an Honors BSc from the University of Sheffield in England and PhD from the University of Ottawa in Canada, both in geology, his career began with teaching and research appointments at universities in Quebec and Saskatchewan. Field projects advanced understanding about how dinosaurs became fossilized and how glacier-fed rivers transport gravel. Interest to engage schools and the public in science-society-environment matters grew during studies at World Heritage Sites in Canada and China. Choosing the vehicle of major nature and science museums, chief executive appointments followed at Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Liberty Science Center next to New York, and since 2013 at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Recognized at the White House with a national medal for community service, this institution’s mission is to illuminate the natural world and inspire its conservation.

Emlyn Koster

Other honors have included presidency of the Geological Association of Canada, induction into France’s Ordre des Palmes Académiques, and Humanitarian of the Year by the American Conference on Diversity. Board and committee roles have included the Getty and Noyce Leadership Institutes, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of Science-Technology Centers, Challenger Center for Space Science Education, and International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. For the Paris-based International Council of Museums, he is on its 14-member Working Group on Sustainability and on the board for its Committee on Museums and Collections of Natural History for which is founding chair of its Working Group on the Anthropocene. An adjunct professor in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at NC State University, he is an ambassador for Visit Raleigh and legacy committee member for the Dorothea Dix Park project.

The increased relevance of nature and science museums to 21st century needs has become his presentation and publication focus. ‘Museums, Ethics and Cultural Heritage’ includes his chapter on these institutions in externally responsible contexts; ‘Hot Topics, Museums and Public Culture’ includes his summary on the evolution of purpose in science museums and science centers; ‘Fostering Empathy in Museums’ includes his invited foreword and chapter on how museums can be resources after tragedies; and ‘The Future of Natural History Museums’ includes his chapter on their need for a holistic ethos and an embrace of the past, present and future. His opening keynote at a recent international symposium in the UK on museums and climate change led to an invited address the UN in Germany, in turn leading to the addition of museums as a listed agency for public engagement with the Paris Climate Agreement.


Emlyn Koster: From the Director | The Naturalist

Emlyn Koster: Museum Field Publication Highlights

  • Koster, E., In press. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences: in search of relevance. In: Mission Matters, Relevance and Museums in the 21st Century, Anderson, G., (Ed.), Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Koster, E., Dorfman, E. and Nyambe, T., 2018. A holistic ethos for nature-focused museums in the Anthropocene. In: The Future of Natural History Museums, Dorfman, E. (Ed.), Routledge, 29-48.
  • Koster, E., 2017. Citizen science: a needed movement for the Anthropocene. In: Citizen Science, Deutsch, J. (Ed.), Special Edition of The Affiliate, Smithsonian Affiliations, 8.
  • Bell, J., Chesebrough, D., Cryan, J., and Koster, E., 2016. Museum-university partnerships as a new platform for public engagement with scientific research. Journal of Museum Education, 41:4, 293-306.
  • Koster, E., 2016. Foreword. In: Fostering Empathy in Museums, Gokcigdem, E. (Ed.), Rowman & Littlefield, vii-xi.
  • Gaffney, D. and Koster, E., 2016. Learning from the challenges of our time: the Families of September 11 and Liberty Science Center. In: Fostering Empathy in Museums, Gokcigdem, E. (Ed.), Rowman & Littlefield, 239-263.
  • Koster, E., 2016. From Apollo into the Anthropocene: the odyssey of nature and science museums in an externally responsible context. In: Museums, Ethics and Cultural Heritage, Murphy, B. (Ed.), Routledge and International Council of Museums, 228-241.
  • Koster, E. and Cryan, J., 2015. Next generation museum-university partnerships. Center for the Advance of Informal Science Education. http://informalscience.org/perspectives/blog/next-generation-museum-university-partnerships.
  • Koster, E. and Pendergraft, L., 2015. Bringing the mission to the community: state museum opens a satellite in an underserved rural region. Informal Learning Review, 131, 11-15.
  • Koster, E., 2013. New needs for new times. In: Museums and the Paradox of Change. Janes, R. (Ed.), 3rd edition, Routledge, 205-215.
  • Koster, E., 2012. The relevant museum: A reflection on sustainability. In: Reinventing the Museum: The Evolving Conversation on the Paradigm Shift. Anderson, G. (Ed.), AltaMira, 202-211.
  • Koster, E., 2012. Broadening the reflections on science center attendance. Informal Learning Review, 113, 26-28 (literature references fully listed in 114, 27).
  • Koster, E., Yalowitz, S. and Watson, B., 2012. Natural history: past, present, future. Informal Learning Review, 113, 22-24.
  • Koster, E., 2010. Evolution of purpose in science museums and science centers. In: Hot Topics, Public Culture, Museums. Cameron, F. and Kelly, L. (Eds.), Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 76-94.
  • Koster, E., 2009. Sail and bail: navigational tips for museums during economic turmoil. Hand to Hand, Association of Children’s Museums, 1-2, 11-13.
  • Trautmann, C., Grinell S., Cavendish, K, and Koster, E., 2009. Global warming: next steps for the science center field. Dimensions, Association of Science-Technology Centers, September/October, 16-17, 19.
  • Koster, E., 2008. Still in search of relevance. Dimensions, Association of Science-Technology Centers. September/October, 6-8.
  • Koster, E., 2007. The public value of science museums: past, present and future. Museum Communication, National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, February 23-24, Program and Abstracts, 6-7.
  • Koster, E., 2007. The reinvented Liberty Science Center. LF Examiner, The Independent Journal of the Large Format Picture Industry, 10:7, 1, 6-9.
  • Koster, E. and Falk, J., 2007. Maximizing the external value of museums. Curator: The Museum Journal, 50:2, 191-196.
  • Koster, E. and Schubel, J., 2007. Raising the relevancy bar at aquariums and science centers. In: In Principle, In Practice. J. Falk, L. Dierking and S. Foutz (Eds.), AltaMira, 197-120.
  • Koster, E., 2006. The attendance treadmill: best gauge of science center fitness? Dimensions, Association of Science-Technology Centers, May/June, 19.
  • Koster, E. and Baumann, S., 2005. Liberty Science Center in the United States: a mission focused on relevance. In: Looking Reality in the Eye: Museums and Social Responsibility. Janes, R. and Conaty, G. (Eds.), University of Calgary Press, 85-111.
  • Davis, J., Gurian, E., and Koster, E., 2004. Timeliness: a discussion for museums. Curator: The Museum Journal, 46:4, 353-361.
  • Koster, E., 2003. The relevancy-sustainability linkage for museums. Hand to Hand, Association of Children’s Museums, Fall, 3, 7.
  • Koster, E., 2002. A disaster revisited. MUSE, Canadian Museums Association, 20:5, 26-27.
  • Koster, E. and Peterson, J., 2002. Difficult experiences: a museum forum on the lessons of September 11. Dimensions, Association of Science-Technology Centers, May/June, 3.
  • Koster, E., 2001. Statement, Hearing before the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and The Internet of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, US House of Representatives, 107th Congress, First Session, Serial 107-18, March 8, 64-67.
  • Libeau, R., Gyamfi, P., Koster, E. and Wizewich, K., 2001. Supporting and documenting choice in free-choice learning environments. In: Free-Choice Science Education: How we learn Science outside of School. Falk, J. (Ed.), Teachers College Press, New York, 133-148.
  • Schiele, B. and Koster, E., 2000. Science Centres in this Century. Éditions MultiMondes, Québec, 651p.
  • Koster, E., 1999. In search of relevance: science centers as innovators in the evolution of museums. In: America’s Museums. Graubard, S. (Ed.), Daedalus, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 128:3, 277-296.
  • Schiele, B. and Koster, E., 1998. La Révolution de la Muséologie des Sciences. Presses Univérsitaire de Lyon, France, and Éditions MultiMondes, Québec, Canada, 493p.
  • Koster, E., 1997. Presidential address: the human journey and the evolving museum. Geological Association of Canada, Geoscience Canada, 24:2, 73-76.
  • Koster, E., 1996. Science culture and cultural tourism. In: Culture as the Tourist Product. Robinson, M., Evans, N. and Callaghan, P. (Eds.), Tourism and Culture towards the 21st Century, Conference Proceedings, University of Northumbria at Newcastle, England, 227-238.
  • Koster, E., 1995. The human journey and the evolving museum. In: Museums, Where Knowledge is Shared. Coté, M. and Viel, A. (Eds.), Société des musées québecois and Musée de la civilisation, Canada, 81-89.
  • Einseidel, E., Koster, E., Schiele, B., and Williams, R., 1994. Science culture in Canada. In: Schiele, B. (Ed.), When Science becomes Culture. Éditions MultiMondes, 85-118.
  • Koster, E., 1988. Field Station of the Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology: research and public programmes in Dinosaur Provincial Park. Alberta: Studies in Arts and Sciences, 1, 86-108.

Emlyn Koster: Geoscience Field Publication Highlights

  • Koster, E., 2011. The Anthropocene: an unprecedented opportunity to advance the unique relevance of geology to societal and environmental needs. Geological Society of London, Geoscientist, 219, 18-21.
  • Jerzykiewicz, T., Currie, P., Eberth, D., Johnston, P., Koster, E. and Zheng, J-J., 1993. Djadokhta Formation correlative strata in Chinese Inner Mongolia: an overview of the stratigraphy, sedimentary geology, and paleontology and comparisons with the type locality in the pre-Altai Gobi. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 30, 2180-2195.
  • Stott, D., Caldwell, W., Cant, D., Christopher, J., Dixon, J., Koster, E., McNeil, D. and Simpson, F., 1993. Cretaceous; Subchapter 4I. In: Sedimentary Cover of the Craton in Canada, Stott, D. and Aitken, J. (Eds.), Geological Survey of Canada, Geology of Canada, 5, 358-438.
  • Hitchon, B., Sauveplane, C., Bachu, F., Koster, E. and Lytviak, A., 1989. Hydrogeology of the Swan Hills Area, Alberta: Evaluation for Deep Waste Injection. Alberta Research Council Bulletin 58, 79p.
  • Koster, E., 1987. Vertebrate taphonomy applied to the analysis of ancient fluvial systems. In: Ethridge, F. and Flores, R. (Eds.), Recent Developments in Fluvial Sedimentology, Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Special Publication 39, 159-168.
  • Koster, E. and Currie, P., 1987. Upper Cretaceous coastal plain sediments at Dinosaur Provincial Park, southeast Alberta. In: Beus, S. (Ed.), Decade of North American Geology Commemorative Field Guide, Rocky Mountain Section, Geological Society of America, 2. 9-14.
  • Thomas, R., Smith, D., Wood, J., Visser, J., Calverley-Range, E. and Koster, E., 1987. Inclined heterolithic stratification: terminology, description, interpretation and significance. Sedimentary Geology, 53, 123-179.
  • Koster, E. and Steel, R., (Eds.) 1984. Sedimentology of Gravels and Conglomerates. Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, Memoir 10, 441p.
  • Rust, B. and Koster, E., 1984. Coarse alluvial deposits. In: Walker, R. (Ed.), Facies Models, 2nd edition. Geoscience Canada Reprint Series 1, 53-68.
  • Koster, E., 1983. Sedimentology of Campanian paleochannels, Dinosaur Provincial Park, southeast Alberta. Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, Reservoir 10:10, 1-2.
  • Koster, E., Rust, B. and Gendzwill, D., 1980. The ellipsoidal form of clasts with practical applications to fabric and size analyses of fluvial gravels. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 17, 1725-1739.
  • Koster, E. 1978. Transverse ribs – their characteristics, origin and paleohydraulic significance. In: Miall, A. (Ed.), Fluvial Sedimentology. Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, Memoir 5, 161-186.

emlyn.koster@naturalsciences.org August 16th, 2018