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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.


Additional Resources.

Our Partners and Colleagues

General Resources

Associations
Funding Sources

Clients

  • Akron Zoological Park
    Akron, OH
    Conducted feasibility study for a proposed downtown aquarium.
  • Alpena River Center
    Alpena, MI
    Conducted feasibility study for an interpretative center on the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Ann Arbor Hands on Museum
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Developed master plan for audience expansion.
  • Association of Science-Technology Centers
    Washington, DC
    Facilitated part of a long-range planning program.
  • Atomic Heritage Foundation
    Washington, DC
    Participant in the planning team working on a traveling exhibition on the Manhattan Project.
  • Audubon Institute
    New Orleans, LA
    Developed exhibit and program plan for the Audubon Insectarium.
  • Belmont Bay Science Center
    Woodbridge, VA
    Developed the experience plan for proposed new science center.
  • Bishop Museum
    Honolulu, HI
    Planned for program and facility expansion with focus on space science.
  • Brookfield Zoo
    Brookfield, IL
    Developed comprehensive master plan for the full revitalization of the zoo supported by a major capital campaign.
  • Bruce Mau Design
    Toronto, ON
    Developed parameters for and comparables to the proposed Mississippi River Experience in New Orleans and sponsored by Tulane University.
  • Buffalo Museum of Science
    Buffalo, NY
    Worked on restructuring efforts, developing new initiatives, recasting the visitor experiences, and developing a long-range plan.
  • California Academy of Sciences
    San Francisco, CA
    Developed plan for management of public programs.
  • California State University
    Chico
    Provided content development services for the new Gateway Science Museum (Northern California Natural History Museum) on the Chico campus.
  • Center for American Archaeology
    Kampsville, IL
    Developed 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, IL
    Developed exhibit master plan for the new Lincoln Park museum facility.
  • Children's Museum of Oswego
    Oswego, NY
    Conducted feasibility study for children's museum in upstate New York.
  • Children's Museum of Utah
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Identified and selected exhibition designers and fabricators for the new Discovery Center.
  • Children's Museum of Yuma County
    Yuma, AZ
    Conducted feasibility study for this city on the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • Cincinnati Museum of Natural History
    Cincinnati, OH
    Conducted strategic planning for changes of programming in Union Terminal.
  • City Museum
    St. Louis, MO
    Assessed 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
    ME
    Prepared 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
    NV
    Conducted feasibility study for an as-yet-unnamed museum in downtown Henderson.
  • City of Rockville
    MD
    Conducted the feasibility study for a science center/complex in Rockville and assisted with initial implementation.
  • City of Salt Lake City
    UT
    Developed a marketing strategy for the cultural organizations located adjacent to the east-west light rail line.
  • City of Sioux Falls
    SD
    Assessed the current operations and program potentials of the Kirby Science Discovery Center.
  • Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico
    San Juan, PR
    Developed programming for this major land conservation agency.
  • COSI
    Columbus, OH
    Prepared grant proposal; researched museum field initiatives.
  • Dakota Science Center
    Grand Forks, ND
    Developed strategic plan for this young science center.
  • Dallas Museum of Natural History
    Dallas, TX
    Conducted an in-depth evaluation of education programming.
  • Dawber and Company
    Bloomfield Hills, MI
    Assisted Dawber in assessing the audience projections for a major traveling exhibition.
  • Denver Museum of Nature and Science
    Denver, CO
    Advised on planning and implementing the Space Science Initiative project.
  • Detroit Science Center
    Detroit, MI
    Conducted an intensive study that resulted in board reorganization and major physical redevelopment.
  • DinoDon
    Media, PA
    Prepared experience description for the EarthQuest Institute, a proposed environmental/paleontology attraction near Houston.
  • East Tennessee Discovery Center
    Knoxville, TN
    Prepared master plan for the proposed expansion and relocation.
  • ECHO (formerly Lake Champlain Basin Science Center)
    Burlington, VT
    Reviewed operational proformas and assisted in developing a financial model for museum expansion. Developed a strategic plan for the next five years.
  • ExhibitsUSA
    Kansas City, MO
    Provided evaluation services to the NEH On The Road program.
  • Firsthand Technology, Inc.
    Seattle, WA
    Assisted 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, TX
    Conducted initial planning for a new paleontology exhibition gallery.
  • Franklin Institute
    Philadelphia, PA
    Conducted assessment of the Franklin's traveling exhibition program.
  • Fresno Metropolitan Museum
    Fresno, CA
    Conducted preliminary planning for the California State Agriculture Museum.
  • Gettysburg National Battlefield Museum Foundation
    Washington, DC
    Assisted in early stages of development of new museum.
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    Chevy Chase, MD
    Provided broad consultant support to the Science Education in Museums grant program.
  • Illinois State Museum
    Springfield, IL
    Worked on the master plan for the Museum's expansion.
  • Ilulissat Icefjord Station: An Arctic Experience
    Ilulissat, Greenland
    Planning for interpretation of UNESCO World Heritage site in west Greenland.
  • Interactive Learning Center
    Boulder, CO
    Conducted a feasibility study for a new informal science experience in downtown Boulder proved to be infeasible.
  • International Museum of Art and Science
    McAllen, TX
    Assisted with planning new science programming and developing a Rio Grande River initiative.
  • Invention Factory
    Trenton, NJ
    Developed an economic and feasibility plan and economic impact study for a new museum of science, technology, and invention.
  • ITA Explore
    Tel Aviv, Israel
    Represented this Israel-based educational film producer as it expanded its motion-base film market into the U.S.
  • Joint Oceanographic Institutions
    Washington, DC
    Conducted research on the traveling exhibitions industry.
  • Kalamazoo Valley Museum
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Assessment of the current performance of museum associated with Kalamazoo Community College.
  • Koshland Science Museum
    Washington, DC
    Developed strategies for placing exhibitions in additional venues.
  • Living Planet Aquarium
    Murray, UT
    Conducted a feasibility study for a new aquarium in Salt Lake City.
  • Lucent Technologies Foundation
    Murray Hill, NJ
    Managed a multi-year initiative which granted funds to science center-based youth science programs.
  • Macomb Children's Science Museum
    Mount Clemens, MI
    Conducted a feasibility study for new children's museum.
  • Madera County
    Chowchilla, CA
    Provided content development for the initial set of exhibitions in the Fossil Discovery Center.
  • McWane Center (formerly Discovery 2000)
    Birmingham, AL
    Coordinated planning for exhibition development and collections management for a new facility.
  • Meridian/Windfall Productions and the University of Oregon
    Eugene, OR
    Provided consulting services in the development of a PBS series devoted to research on cold and the search for absolute zero.
  • Minotaur Mazes
    Seattle, WA
    Provided analysis of an installation at Jamestown, VA.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
    Monterey, CA
    Conducted research in support of the aquarium's marine conservation education outreach initiative.
  • Mount Vernon Museum of Incandescent Lighting
    Baltimore, MD
    Prepared an operating proforma for collection of lighting equipment.
  • Museum of Discovery
    Little Rock, AR
    Prepared a master plan for the reorganization and reprogramming of all the museum's public spaces.
  • Museum of Discovery and Science
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Appraised existing programs; strategic planning for future museum programs and facility expansion.
  • Museum of History and Industry
    Seattle, WA
    Developed the strategic master plan for the move of the museum to a new facility.
  • Museum of Science and Industry
    Chicago, IL
    Organized charette as the museum developed plans for reorganizing its program offerings and upgrading its visitor experience.
  • National Aquarium
    Baltimore, MD
    Worked on exhibition development; research on exhibition technology for Wings In the Water exhibition.
  • National Aquarium
    Washington, DC
    Assessed educational needs for the aquarium in downtown Washington, DC.
  • National Aviation Hall of Fame Learning Center
    Dayton, OH
    Provided services to the exhibits and public programs departments
  • National Flight Interpretive Center
    Everett, WA
    Conducted 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, DC
    Worked on the development and production of a large-format film Sea Monsters.
  • National Institutes of Health
    Bethesda, MD
    Identified 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, OH
    Conducted research for long-range education program and exhibit development, including focus group research and audience surveys.
  • National Law Enforcement Museum
    Washington, DC
    Worked on the preliminary education program for this developing museum.
  • National Model Aviation Museum
    Muncie, IN
    Provided master plan for museum improvements.,
    Provided master plan for museum improvements.
  • National Museum of Military History
    Manassas, VA
    Conducted audience research and development of the first array of educational experiences.
  • National Museum of Natural History
    Washington, DC
    Developed programs and educational materials to accompany the Galapagos 3-D IMAX film.
  • National Parks and Conservation Association
    Washington, DC
    Developed baseline information on the status and success of public education efforts.
  • Natural Heritage Trust
    Albany, NY
    Helped 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, Thailand
    Part of international team that reviewed the multi-institution National Science Museum.
  • Nature Center at Shaker Lakes
    Cleveland, OH
    Advised on the center's first strategic planning process.
  • New Mexico Museum of Natural History
    Albuquerque, NM
    Advised on implementation of master plan.
  • Newark Museum
    Newark, NJ
    Worked 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, NC
    Developed plan for interactive zoo program (BioQuest), including facilitating the national planning session. Conducted research on mathematics exhibitions.
  • Omaha Children's Museum
    Omaha, NE
    Completed master plan for the 5,000 sq. feet "Owen Science Center" exhibit gallery.
  • Oregon Zoo
    Portland, OR
    Worked with the Zoo and the California Condor Recovery Program on an educational initiative about reintroduction of an endangered species.
  • Paleontological Research Institution
    Ithaca, NY
    Conducted 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, PA
    Contributed to the feasibility study for this museum in suburban Philadelphia.
  • Planetario Alpha
    Monterrey, Mexico
    Prepared a master plan for reinvention as a more general science center.
  • Proctor's Theatre
    Schenectady, NY
    Prepared an initial feasibility study for the addition of a large-format theater.
  • Riveredge Nature Center
    Newburg, WI
    Conducted a market study for rural nature center preparing for both program and facility expansion.
  • Rochester Museum and Science Center
    Rochester, NY
    Conducted research on signature/iconic exhibits in preparation for major exhibition development.
  • Rocky Flats Cold War Museum
    Arvada, CO
    Prepared 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, RI
    Worked with staff to obtain support for exhibitions of local species in the new education facility.
  • Royal Alberta Museum
    Edmonton, AB
    Conducted research for a possible traveling exhibition gallery and program.
  • Royal Tyrrell Museum
    Drumheller, AB
    Developed an interpretive plan for eleven fossil sites across the province.
  • Saudi Aramco
    Saudi Arabia
    Provided 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, NY
    Prepared a business and strategic plan for this small science museum.
  • Shanghai Natural History Museum
    Shanghai, China
    Exhibition development and content verification.
  • SEE/Bronx
    New York, NY
    Developed master plan for proposed new science center.
  • Shaftesbury Films
    Toronto, ON
    Consulted on a large-format film and accompanying programming related to brain function and neurophysiology.
  • Soo Locks Children's Museum
    Sault Ste. Marie, MI
    Conducted feasibility study for children's museum in northern Michigan.
  • Southwest Heritage, Inc.
    Naples, FL
    Conducted feasibility study for redevelopment of the historic Naples Depot into a museum.
  • Space Science Institute
    Boulder, CO
    Consulted on exhibition design and educational programming for the traveling exhibitions.
  • State of Utah
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Conducted feasibility study for a career awareness program, subsequently incorporated into the Children's Museum of Utah.
  • Texas Historical Commission
    Austin, TX
    Completed a master interpretative plan for the Magoffin Home State Historic Site in El Paso, TX.
  • Texas Tech University Museum
    Lubbock, TX
    Assisted 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, SD
    Development of implementation plan for existing master plan.
  • Turtle Bay Exploration Park
    Redding, CA
    Developed a comprehensive master exhibition and education program plan for a $50-million project.
  • Tulane University
    New Orleans, LA
    Contributed 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, MO
    Worked with staff on preparation of AAM accreditation documentation.
  • Universe Partners
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Developed 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, MN
    Researched traveling exhibitions to assist the Bell Museum of Natural History in determining an exhibition rental strategy.
  • University of North Carolina
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Worked 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, IL
    Created 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, LA
    Developed 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, TN
    Prepared 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, UT
    Developed the Business Master Plan for the Utah State FairPark.
  • Washington Pavilion of Arts and Sciences
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Analyzed the operations of the multifaceted cultural center to provide guidance to the City of Sioux Falls.
  • WEDU/Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI)
    Tampa, FL
    Helped develop a strategic plan for the co-location of the PBS station to MOSI's campus.
  • Windsor, ON
    Ontario, City Government
    Contributed to a feasibility study for a new science center.
  • Zoo Atlanta
    Atlanta, GA
    Conducted 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, FL
    Conducted 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.