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GEO leaders

By Heidi Wicks

Three members of the GEO Centre board of directors with connections to Memorial received national awards this spring.

Dr. Alice Collins, Faculty of Education and GEO chairperson, received the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) in Montreal on May 31.

Two other GEO members also received recent national accolades.
Dr. Edward Roberts, 11th Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, was awarded the Order of Canada this April. Dr. Roberts received an honorary doctor of laws from Memorial in May 2003 and served as chair of the Board of Regents from 1997-2002.

Dr. Paul Johnson, GEO Centre founder/owner and Memorial honorary doctor of laws recipient (1994), received a Canadian Museum Association Award of Outstanding Achievement, in recognition of his exceptional museum projects and his abiding contributions to the Canadian heritage sector.

In August 2007 a new GEO board of directors was formed to include six members from Memorial and five members from the Johnson Family Foundation. Their mission was to further expand the centre’s unique, hands-on and tactile museum experience.

In addition to their numerous exhibits, GEO also boasts a number of curriculum-based education programs for primary/elementary through to high school students in the K-12 system.

Most certainly, when you’re an elementary school child, a field trip can’t get more exciting than when it involves digging your hands into dirt and feeling a multitude of rocks, sediments and more.

“What GEO focuses on is a full experience,” explained Dr. Collins, a former dean of the Faculty of Education. “We like people to come and be able to touch, hear and smell the exhibit. It’s not a hands-off centre. People really experience the full palate of what the exhibits have to offer, from sound to smell to feeling the rock wall, and beyond.

“The thing that we hear back from people who visit is that they love being there in the middle of it all.”

Dr. Collins said the board is hoping to expand the education programs beyond their present offerings, and is working with the supervisor of education programs, Andrea van Nostrand, to develop the current programs for distance education, which will be available province-wide.

Keith Moore held the position of supervisor of Education Programs from 2006-09, and is now manager of Interpretation and Exhibits at GEO. Mr. Moore is proof positive that an education degree can lead to careers beyond the classroom.

GEO’s ties with Memorial continue, as the centre’s public lecture series frequently includes speakers from Memorial.

As well, Memorial faculty and staff receive free entry into the museum (excluding special exhibits).

For further information on GEO education programs, visit