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The Shanghai Natural History Museum

Shanghai, China

ILE completed an assignment as a content advisor for the massive new natural history museum during its development. It opened in 2015.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Kalamazoo, Michigan

ILE examined the programs, facility and audiences of this museum which is a part of Kalamazoo Valley Community College. After the assessment, we were contracted by Roto designers to participate in the planning and design of the new science gallery.

National Science Museum of Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Mac was part of the three-person international team – Pelle Persson of Finland and Lesley Lewis of Canada were his colleagues – that evaluated the programs and organization of the three science museums and city outreach center that provide science experiences of the capital city of Thailand.

New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science

Albuquerque, New Mexico

ILE worked closely with then-director Charlie Walter on the initial stages of a master plan for this state museum. This included examination of the statewide role as well as the most effective use (and potential expansion) of the museum building and grounds.

The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School

Pine Ridge, South Dakota

Working closely with The Museum Group colleague Maureen Robinson we developed an implementation strategy and budget for the recently-developed multi-year master plan for the operational improvement of this remarkable museum and collection of Native American art.

Children’s Museum of Oswego

Oswego, New York

ILE conducted the feasibility study for the proposed children’s museum in this modest city on the shore of Lake Ontario. It is progressing nicely, operating today as the preliminary "museum without walls."

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Ilulissat, Greenland

In January 2015 ILE participated in a week-long workshop devoted to interpretation of this UNESCO World Heritage site made up of glaciers and coastal areas in western Greenland. An outcome was a proposed international traveling exhibition investigating the remarkable natural environments, the calving of immense icebergs, and analysis of the indigenous technologies of the Inuit people native to the area. The project awaits full authorization and funding.

Buffalo Museum of Science

Buffalo, New York

ILE worked closely with staff on assessment of existing programs, staffing, and facility uses. We also coordinated with Gyroscope on experience planning.

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

Burlington, Vermont

ILE worked with staff to assess the operations and facilities of ECHO. We developed a new master plan which has largely been implemented.

World War II Manhattan Project

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

ILE developed a strategic plan for the interpretation of the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge and its scientific and technological implications. We recommended preservation of part of the massive K-25 gaseous diffusion plant. This work on the nuclear world continues as he now serves on the board of the Rocky Flats Museum in Colorado which aims to interpret the site of a Cold War nuclear materials manufacturing plant.

Dinosaur exhibit at the Royal Tyrrell Museum

Drumheller, Alberta

ILE conducted (mid-winter) field examination of numerous fossil sites in Alberta in order to extend the programming of this museum to encompass more of the paleontology story of the province.

Mac West at the elephant sanctuary

Pinnawala, Sri Lanka

Mac was appointed a Fulbright Specialist and worked with the Sri Lanka National Science Foundation in 2010 on preliminary planning for that nation’s first science center. Unfortunately the plan has yet to be implemented.

ILR Special Issue 2020 #2

The pieces that follow were written in May 2020 while most museums were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As we were putting them together, the murder of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis sparked unprecedented civil unrest in the United States, with echoes around the world.

We recognize that this, our second special issue of the ILR, may not be as timely or relevant as it might have seemed two weeks ago. We offer it in the hopes that it will still be of use, and with gratitude to the authors.

ILR Special Issue 2020 #2

ILR Special Issue 2020

We offer this special issue of the ILR in the hopes that the pieces in it – all written in the midst of the first weeks of the Covid-19 crisis, will help us come together as a field, keep learning from one another, and build collaborations, especially across field specializations and professional networks.

ILR Special Issue 2020

About Us.

Informal learning environments -- including but not limited to museums, zoos, nature centers, cultural centers, and numerous out-of-school paces -- give people of all ages the opportunity to be engaged and inspired as they learn about a topic particularly through their varied interactions with objects and people. Informal Learning Experiences, Inc. supports museums, government and cultural organizations, associations and societies, universities, foundations, and commercial exhibitions in the development of programs and exhibits as well as effective management strategies that create opportunities for people to connect to their own lives in meaningful ways.

Our Services.

In addition to its broad and effective consulting services, ILE provides a comprehensive list of available traveling exhibitions in its Traveling Exhibitions Database (TED). We share ideas about the informal learning world through articles in the bi-monthly Informal Learning Review (ILR). Each year, we host the Traveling Exhibitions Forum, where we bring together traveling exhibition producers and leaders from potential venues at professional conferences like ASTC and AMM. ILE is a regular participant in and contributor to regional, national, and international meetings and conferences.

Who we are.

Robert "Mac" West, Principal

Mac West has been involved with informal education in a variety of museums and other attractions for more than thirty years. In addition to his extensive teaching experience in the Biology Department of Adelphi University (NY), and the Department of Geo... Read full bio »

Colby Dorssey, Consultant Associate

Colby Dorssey joined ILE in December 2017. She graduated from Baylor University in 2016 with her M.A. in Museum Studies. She completed internships in the Library, Archive, and Museum Services department of the Royal College of Physicians in London, England and at the Mayborn Museum Complex in Waco, Texas. Prior to moving to Denver, Colby worked for the visitor services department of the Mayborn Museum Complex.
Read full bio »

Emilie Khlap, Bookkeeper

Emilie Khlap joined ILE in September 2012. She has 7+ years experience in bookkeeping, payroll, and human resources. Emilie has worked in these fields for many different industries, both large and small businesses. Some examples are the International... Read full bio » Read full bio »


We work with established and emerging organizations of many sorts to help them ensure stability and sustainability, community relevance, and clear and contemporary messaging. 

Traveling Exhibitions Database
ILE's Traveling Exhibitions Database (TED) is a comprehensive, growing database of traveling exhibitions currently available or in development.

Informal Learning Review
The Informal Learning Review (ILR) is ILE's instrument for bringing research and understanding of the informal learning industry to the field in a broad fashion.

Traveling Exhibitions Forum
Each year, ILE hosts the Traveling Exhibitions Forum breakfast at the American Alliance of Museums and at the Association of Science Technology Centers.

Eleventh-Hour Listings
Last-minute availability listings from the Traveling Exhibitions Database. Available to the public.