About Our Consulting Services.
ILE’s principal, Mac West, has devoted his life to informal learning, going back to the “museum” he created in his parents’ basement in Appleton, Wisconsin, when he was 11 years old. He is dedicated to the success and importance of multiple ways of learning and experiencing the world. ILE thus is dedicated to establishing, improving, and ensuring the sustainability of informal learning organizations and opportunities.
We work with established and emerging organizations of many sorts to help them ensure stability and sustainability, community relevance, and clear and contemporary messaging. This is done through on-site planning initiatives, including research and standards measurements, executive consultation sessions, and numerous highly focused planning, assessment, and evaluation initiatives.
Click here to contact Mac about his consulting services.
Our Partners and Colleagues
- AldrichPears Associates
- AMS Planning & Research
- BRC Imagination Arts
- CB Services
- Gallagher & Associates
- Gyroscope, Inc.
- Hadley Exhibits, Inc.
- Hilferty Design
- Independent Exhibitions
- Jeff Kennedy Associates
- Main Street Design
- Market Feasibility Advisors
- The Museum Group
- Museums+more LLC
- Studio Tectonic
- White Oak Associates
- WOLF Consulting
- Asia Pacific Network of Science and Technology Centres
- Association of Science-Technology Centers
- Association of Children's Museums
- American Alliance of Museums
- American Association of Zoos and Aquariums
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- The European Network of Science Centres and Museums
- International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions
- Visitor Studies Association
Akron Zoological Park
Akron, OHConducted feasibility study for a proposed downtown aquarium.
- Alpena River Center
Alpena, MIConducted feasibility study for an interpretative center on the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary.
Ann Arbor Hands on Museum
Ann Arbor, MIDeveloped master plan for audience expansion.
Association of Science-Technology Centers
Washington, DCFacilitated part of a long-range planning program.
Atomic Heritage Foundation
Washington, DCParticipant in the planning team working on a traveling exhibition on the Manhattan Project.
New Orleans, LADeveloped exhibit and program plan for the Audubon Insectarium.
Belmont Bay Science Center
Woodbridge, VADeveloped the experience plan for proposed new science center.
Honolulu, HIPlanned for program and facility expansion with focus on space science.
Brookfield, ILDeveloped comprehensive master plan for the full revitalization of the zoo supported by a major capital campaign.
Bruce Mau Design
Toronto, ONDeveloped parameters for and comparables to the proposed Mississippi River Experience in New Orleans and sponsored by Tulane University.
Buffalo Museum of Science
Buffalo, NYWorked on restructuring efforts, developing new initiatives, recasting the visitor experiences, and developing a long-range plan.
California Academy of Sciences
San Francisco, CADeveloped plan for management of public programs.
California State University
ChicoProvided content development services for the new Gateway Science Museum (Northern California Natural History Museum) on the Chico campus.
Center for American Archaeology
Kampsville, ILDeveloped strategic plan for the repositioning of this center which sponsors and hosts research on the Native Americans of the Illinois and Mississippi River Valleys.
Chicago Academy of Sciences
Chicago, ILDeveloped exhibit master plan for the new Lincoln Park museum facility.
- Children's Museum of Oswego
Oswego, NYConducted feasibility study for children's museum in upstate New York.
Children's Museum of Utah
Salt Lake City, UTIdentified and selected exhibition designers and fabricators for the new Discovery Center.
- Children's Museum of Yuma County
Yuma, AZConducted feasibility study for this city on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Cincinnati Museum of Natural History
Cincinnati, OHConducted strategic planning for changes of programming in Union Terminal.
St. Louis, MOAssessed management, marketing, finance and program efforts and plans required by the Missouri Finance Development Board; provided the outline of a strategic planning process.
City of Brewer
MEPrepared an initial feasibility study for a proposed Penobscot River Discovery Museum. Prepared a plan for the "Brewer Waterfront Historical Trail" to encourage visitors to see the local natural and cultural history.
City of Henderson
NVConducted feasibility study for an as-yet-unnamed museum in downtown Henderson.
City of Rockville
MDConducted the feasibility study for a science center/complex in Rockville and assisted with initial implementation.
City of Salt Lake City
UTDeveloped a marketing strategy for the cultural organizations located adjacent to the east-west light rail line.
City of Sioux Falls
SDAssessed the current operations and program potentials of the Kirby Science Discovery Center.
Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico
San Juan, PRDeveloped programming for this major land conservation agency.
Columbus, OHPrepared grant proposal; researched museum field initiatives.
Dakota Science Center
Grand Forks, NDDeveloped strategic plan for this young science center.
Dallas Museum of Natural History
Dallas, TXConducted an in-depth evaluation of education programming.
Dawber and Company
Bloomfield Hills, MIAssisted Dawber in assessing the audience projections for a major traveling exhibition.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Denver, COAdvised on planning and implementing the Space Science Initiative project.
Detroit Science Center
Detroit, MIConducted an intensive study that resulted in board reorganization and major physical redevelopment.
Media, PAPrepared experience description for the EarthQuest Institute, a proposed environmental/paleontology attraction near Houston.
East Tennessee Discovery Center
Knoxville, TNPrepared master plan for the proposed expansion and relocation.
ECHO (formerly Lake Champlain Basin Science Center)
Burlington, VTReviewed operational proformas and assisted in developing a financial model for museum expansion. Developed a strategic plan for the next five years.
Kansas City, MOProvided evaluation services to the NEH On The Road program.
Firsthand Technology, Inc.
Seattle, WAAssisted in development of a traveling exhibition promoting dental health and hygiene supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Fort Worth, TXConducted initial planning for a new paleontology exhibition gallery.
Philadelphia, PAConducted assessment of the Franklin's traveling exhibition program.
Fresno Metropolitan Museum
Fresno, CAConducted preliminary planning for the California State Agriculture Museum.
Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation
Washington, DCAssisted in early stages of development of new museum.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Chevy Chase, MDProvided broad consultant support to the Science Education in Museums grant program.
Illinois State Museum
Springfield, ILWorked on the master plan for the Museum's expansion.
- Ilulissat Icefjord Station: An Arctic Experience
Ilulissat, GreenlandPlanning for interpretation of UNESCO World Heritage site in west Greenland.
Interactive Learning Center
Boulder, COConducted a feasibility study for a new informal science experience in downtown Boulder proved to be infeasible.
International Museum of Art and Science
McAllen, TXAssisted with planning new science programming and developing a Rio Grande River initiative.
Trenton, NJDeveloped an economic and feasibility plan and economic impact study for a new museum of science, technology, and invention.
Tel Aviv, IsraelRepresented this Israel-based educational film producer as it expanded its motion-base film market into the U.S.
Joint Oceanographic Institutions
Washington, DCConducted research on the traveling exhibitions industry.
- Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Kalamazoo, MIAssessment of the current performance of museum associated with Kalamazoo Community College.
Koshland Science Museum
Washington, DCDeveloped strategies for placing exhibitions in additional venues.
Living Planet Aquarium
Murray, UTConducted a feasibility study for a new aquarium in Salt Lake City.
Lucent Technologies Foundation
Murray Hill, NJManaged a multi-year initiative which granted funds to science center-based youth science programs.
Macomb Children's Science Museum
Mount Clemens, MIConducted a feasibility study for new children's museum.
Provided content development for the initial set of exhibitions in the Fossil Discovery Center.
McWane Center (formerly Discovery 2000)
Birmingham, ALCoordinated planning for exhibition development and collections management for a new facility.
Meridian/Windfall Productions and the University of Oregon
Eugene, ORProvided consulting services in the development of a PBS series devoted to research on cold and the search for absolute zero.
Seattle, WAProvided analysis of an installation at Jamestown, VA.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey, CAConducted research in support of the aquarium's marine conservation education outreach initiative.
Mount Vernon Museum of Incandescent Lighting
Baltimore, MDPrepared an operating proforma for collection of lighting equipment.
Museum of Discovery
Little Rock, ARPrepared a master plan for the reorganization and reprogramming of all the museum's public spaces.
Museum of Discovery and Science
Fort Lauderdale, FLAppraised existing programs; strategic planning for future museum programs and facility expansion.
Museum of History and Industry
Seattle, WADeveloped the strategic master plan for the move of the museum to a new facility.
Museum of Science and Industry
Chicago, ILOrganized charette as the museum developed plans for reorganizing its program offerings and upgrading its visitor experience.
Baltimore, MDWorked on exhibition development; research on exhibition technology for Wings In the Water exhibition.
Washington, DCAssessed educational needs for the aquarium in downtown Washington, DC.
National Aviation Hall of Fame Learning Center
Dayton, OHProvided services to the exhibits and public programs departments
National Flight Interpretive Center
Everett, WAConducted an initial review of the assumptions and operating estimates for the proposed National Flight Interpretive Center (NFIC) to be located at Paine Field in Everett, Washington.
National Geographic Society
Washington, DCWorked on the development and production of a large-format film Sea Monsters.
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MDIdentified and reviewed all NIH science education programs and recommended evaluation strategies as a part of the national FCCSET program.
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Akron, OHConducted research for long-range education program and exhibit development, including focus group research and audience surveys.
National Law Enforcement Museum
Washington, DCWorked on the preliminary education program for this developing museum.
National Model Aviation Museum
Provided master plan for museum improvements.,Provided master plan for museum improvements.
National Museum of Military History
Manassas, VAConducted audience research and development of the first array of educational experiences.
National Museum of Natural History
Washington, DCDeveloped programs and educational materials to accompany the Galapagos 3-D IMAX film.
National Parks and Conservation Association
Washington, DCDeveloped baseline information on the status and success of public education efforts.
Natural Heritage Trust
Albany, NYHelped a broad-based advisory committee develop plans for a world-class river and estuary research and education institute to be located in the Hudson River valley.
- National Science Museums Thailand
Bangkok, ThailandPart of international team that reviewed the multi-institution National Science Museum.
Nature Center at Shaker Lakes
Cleveland, OHAdvised on the center's first strategic planning process.
- New Mexico Museum of Natural History
Albuquerque, NMAdvised on implementation of master plan.
Newark, NJWorked on basic plan and implementation strategy for reinstalling the natural history collections and creating an interactive science gallery.
North Carolina Museum of Life and Science
Durham, NCDeveloped plan for interactive zoo program (BioQuest), including facilitating the national planning session. Conducted research on mathematics exhibitions.
Omaha Children's Museum
Omaha, NECompleted master plan for the 5,000 sq. feet "Owen Science Center" exhibit gallery.
Portland, ORWorked with the Zoo and the California Condor Recovery Program on an educational initiative about reintroduction of an endangered species.
Paleontological Research Institution
Ithaca, NYConducted feasibility study, including rejection of a hospital as a museum site, and developed a preliminary program for a new public museum.
Pennsylvania Veterans Museum
Media, PAContributed to the feasibility study for this museum in suburban Philadelphia.
Monterrey, MexicoPrepared a master plan for reinvention as a more general science center.
Schenectady, NYPrepared an initial feasibility study for the addition of a large-format theater.
Riveredge Nature Center
Newburg, WIConducted a market study for rural nature center preparing for both program and facility expansion.
Rochester Museum and Science Center
Rochester, NYConducted research on signature/iconic exhibits in preparation for major exhibition development.
Rocky Flats Cold War Museum
Arvada, COPrepared the feasibility study for the proposed new museum interpreting the site of a Cold War nuclear weapons parts production facility.
Roger Williams Park Zoo
Providence, RIWorked with staff to obtain support for exhibitions of local species in the new education facility.
Royal Alberta Museum
Edmonton, ABConducted research for a possible traveling exhibition gallery and program.
Royal Tyrrell Museum
Drumheller, ABDeveloped an interpretive plan for eleven fossil sites across the province.
Saudi ArabiaProvided content development for the exhibitions in the Energy Science Center in Dhahran and the Prince Salman Science Oasis in Riyadh.
Science and Discovery Center
Horseheads, NYPrepared a business and strategic plan for this small science museum.
Shanghai Natural History Museum
Shanghai, ChinaExhibition development and content verification.
New York, NYDeveloped master plan for proposed new science center.
Toronto, ONConsulted on a large-format film and accompanying programming related to brain function and neurophysiology.
- Soo Locks Children's Museum
Sault Ste. Marie, MIConducted feasibility study for children's museum in northern Michigan.
Southwest Heritage, Inc.
Naples, FLConducted feasibility study for redevelopment of the historic Naples Depot into a museum.
Space Science Institute
Boulder, COConsulted on exhibition design and educational programming for the traveling exhibitions.
State of Utah
Salt Lake City, UTConducted feasibility study for a career awareness program, subsequently incorporated into the Children's Museum of Utah.
Texas Historical Commission
Austin, TXCompleted a master interpretative plan for the Magoffin Home State Historic Site in El Paso, TX.
Texas Tech University Museum
Lubbock, TXAssisted with exhibit planning, staff and student training, and proposal development for the new paleontology gallery.
- The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SDDevelopment of implementation plan for existing master plan.
Turtle Bay Exploration Park
Redding, CADeveloped a comprehensive master exhibition and education program plan for a $50-million project.
New Orleans, LAContributed to a strategic feasibility plan for the proposed Mississippi River Center, a research and public education facility focused on the culture and environment of the lower Mississippi River.
Union Station Kansas City
Kansas City, MOWorked with staff on preparation of AAM accreditation documentation.
Salt Lake City, UTDeveloped strategies for the production of a large-format film and educational programs featuring the theoretical astrophysics of English scientist Stephen Hawking.
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MNResearched traveling exhibitions to assist the Bell Museum of Natural History in determining an exhibition rental strategy.
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NCWorked with the Search Committee to identify candidates for the Director of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Also researched approaches to the presentation of ongoing scientific research to the public in anticipation of expansion of the facility.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Chicago, ILCreated the master plan for a new Visitor Center to be located adjacent to the Chicago Lock at the mouth of the Chicago River.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
New Orleans, LADeveloped the initial master plan for a public interpretive center for the Atchafalaya Basin Project in Morgan City, LA.
U.S. Department of Energy
Oak Ridge, TNPrepared an interpretive plan for the Manhattan Project facilities and events in Oak Ridge. Developed a followup interpretative plan for the signature facilities at Oak Ridge as well as the larger Oak Ridge Manhattan Project story.
Utah State Department of Economic Development
Salt Lake City, UTDeveloped the Business Master Plan for the Utah State FairPark.
Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences
Sioux Falls, SDAnalyzed the operations of the multifaceted cultural center to provide guidance to the City of Sioux Falls.
WEDU/Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI)
Tampa, FLHelped develop a strategic plan for the co-location of the PBS station to MOSI's campus.
Ontario, City GovernmentContributed to a feasibility study for a new science center.
Atlanta, GAConducted intensive audience research, and provided program development, long-range planning, and fundraising assistance for the Conservation Education and Research Center.
Zoological Society of Florida
Miami, FLConducted basic research on zoo visitors and the state of Hispanic education; facilitated a national invitational workshop; worked with staff to develop a comprehensive plan for the Zoo's Tropical Americas exhibition and program.