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Awarded Grants Search
The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) will partner with the AmeriCorps VISTA program to establish the ASTC VISTA Volunteer Community STEM Initiative. The program is designed to strengthen local networks of community-based STEM programs and to offer new youth development activities specifically targeted at inspiring a future STEM workforce. AmeriCorps VISTA members will be placed in strategically selected science centers and museums to serve as coordinators and facilitators of these community-based activities. The seven science centers and museums involved in the project are Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland, CA; Discovery Cube, Los Angeles, CA; Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley, CA; Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA; California Science Center, Los Angeles, CA; New York Hall of Science, Queen, NY; and Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI.
In partnership with the North Carolina Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will work with a software developer to prototype a state-of-the-art software application that will enhance and make more meaningful the museum experience for visually impaired and blind visitors. The application, based on one developed for hotel environments, will provide detailed way-finding maps and enhanced exhibition interpretation. The application will be made available for other museums to adapt for their own environments.
San Diego Society of Natural History will use popular technology, social software, and digitized natural history collections to reconnect the public with nature. NatureSpace addresses the challenge of making digitized natural history collections, which are traditionally not designed to be accessible to the average person, more engaging through a new user-friendly front-end interface. Working with volunteer organizations interested in interpreting three local natural areas in the San Diego region, the museum will prototype 18 user-centered tools such as scavenger hunts and interpretive walks for the NatureSpace mobile application. The final products will be openly shared with the museum community.
The Chabot Space & Science Museum will produce Random Acts of Science, a pop-up science education program for underserved neighborhoods in Oakland. Inspired by, and in partnership with, the Oakland Firefighter’s Random Acts (a philanthropic outreach organization of Oakland Firefighters), the program will pair trusted and respected firefighters with astronomers and science educators, arriving by fire engine to communities whose members are least likely to come to the Science Center. Chabot will use mobile technology and equipment such as a traveling telescope, computer hookup, and large portable screen. The combination of portable astronomy equipment with the excitement of a fire engine has the potential to serve as a model for science education community outreach programs.
The African American Civil War Memorial Freedom Foundation and Museum will use its grant for the training of museum staff and volunteers in the interpretation and management of historic sites. The goal of the project is to provide the necessary skills to lead tours of twelve United States Colored Troops sites in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Once trained, the staff and volunteers will then lead tours for local teachers, who will have the opportunity to attend a special workshop that provides a certificate of completion and continuing education credits. Project content, including video of each site, will be available to the educational community, and to the public, on the foundation’s website. The training component will be sustained as a required, self-paced, web-based training program.
The North Carolina State University Libraries and its partners will create a model framework for an interactive learning environment, applying the principles of gaming, artificial intelligence, systems automation, and experience design. Display screens, interactive applications, and computerized information systems have become almost ubiquitous within informal learning spaces in libraries and museums. The resulting convergence of physical and virtual environments, with the attendant urgency to fill screens with content that is meaningful and interactive, creates new challenges for keeping labor-intense digital content and applications fresh and relevant. The model will include an integrated assessment loop and tools for improving services to users.
The Knowledge Management/Eskind Biomedical Library at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center will develop a model for delivering patient-specific, consumer-friendly information that will lead to more informed patients, who are more likely to take a proactive, participatory role in their health care. The project’s test bed will be My Cancer Genome (mycancergenome.org), a freely available web-based tool that provides information on tumor-based genetic mutations that can impact cancer treatment, the study of which is called pharmocogenetics. The team has selected two cancer types, melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer to demonstrate broad applicability of the model framework developed. Key project components include drafting guidelines for developing consumer-friendly educational material about pharmacogenetic principles; creating consumer-friendly pharmocogenetic content; and detailing a process for content refinement and evaluation.
Howard University’s Moorland Spingarn Research Center, with project partners, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at New York Public Library, OCLC, the Washington Research Library Consortium, and the Social Networks and Archival Context Project, will develop the “Portal to the Black Experience. This will better support the needs of researchers interested in the cultural heritage of diverse and under-represented communities by providing enhanced metadata, beyond what is traditionally supplied in bibliographic catalogs. As a model, this will demonstrate the potential of new metadata practices and technologies as the means to search across collections held by different institutions.
The Howard County Library System (HCLS), in partnership with the University of Maryland Baltimore County, will use this grant to enhance the teen digital media lab at the Savage Branch Library by adding science, technology, engineering, and math projects and implementing that same STEM-focused model in three other libraries. The “Hi Tech Academy: The Road to a STEM Career” project will address the increasing demand for workers with STEM-related skills as the number of college graduates in these fields decreases. This program will create a model to be replicated at other libraries, bring awareness of how to best teach these skills, increase interest in STEM for youth, and address the demand for these skills in the community.
Pacific Resources for Education and Learning will use its grant to implement, “Successful Early Eco-literacy Development” (SEED), a project-based learning curriculum that will focus on local food and cultivation practices and nutrition in order to increase childhood literacy. The program will specifically address the need to close the reading gap for third grade students on Majuro in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This program will address the achievement gap that separates many Pacific Island students from their U.S. mainland peers by bringing together libraries and museums to collaborate in support of student literacy. The project impact will close the gap in literacy, raise the reading standard, and ensure that all children have the necessary supports to meet the new higher standards.
Providence Community Library will partner with Ready to Learn Providence on “Ready for K!,” a school readiness program designed to reduce the achievement gap for children who are entering kindergarten and have not participated in formal early learning programs. Major project components include professional development for children’s librarians and family literacy programming, including the creation of literacy kits with books and activities. The project will help ensure that students enter kindergarten ready to learn and will demonstrate the library’s important role as a partner in meeting this essential community need.
Florida State University and partner University of Alabama will collect and analyze data on how STEM teachers can most effectively collaborate with librarians. The data will be collected at focus groups held at four national conferences: the American Association of School Librarians, the Public Library Association, the National Science Teachers Association, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. This variety of participants at these conferences will allow for diverse opinions, thoughts, and ideas to be compiled, supporting the analysis of how the collaboration between STEM teacher and librarian is working today and providing recommendations on how it could be improved. The overall goal of this planning grant is to assess what is happening in the field so the information can then be shared with the educational and library communities for greater impact.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory with partner the Rockefeller University will undertake initial planning for a proposed shared bioscience information resource center. The planning will include collaboration with university leadership and faculty to conduct surveys, form a committee, and organize discussions about the proposed center, resulting in a pilot program. This proposed digital center will bring together collections and content and will promote policies that allow access for others throughout the scientific community. Strong collaborations are a critical need when planning the future of science libraries at academic research institutions. The collaborations within this grant will generate new models, strategies, and relationships in order to best serve the changing need for access to information at science libraries.
The Hartford Public Library, in collaboration with Hartford Public Schools and other community partners, will conduct two surveys and eight focus groups with teachers, parents, and caregivers to study why many families do not engage in summer learning. The information collected from these activities will create the framework for the “Summer Learning! Family Engagement Continuum.” The Hartford Public Library will analyze data to better understand the current landscape, identify potential solutions, and seek training to address identified challenges. The framework created through this planning grant will be a summer learning model, and the final report will be distributed to maximize community awareness of this need in the community. The final project will offer comprehensive summer learning services to the community in addition to year-round resources that will help facilitate families learning together.
The American Association of School Libraries will host a national forum to determine if a causal relationship exists between strong school library programs and student academic achievement. The forum will lead to the creation of an interdisciplinary, networked community of researchers focused on causal research in school libraries that meet the rigorous criteria for scientifically based empirical research. While past studies have suggested a correlation between school libraries staffed by professional school librarians and containing adequate resources to increased student achievement, further progress requires the more rigorous experimental design of causal studies. Fifty invited scholars from the school library and related research fields will participate in the forum, which will lead to the publication of a white paper that will guide further inquiry on this topic.
The Adult Literacy Resource Center at the District of Columbia Public Library, in partnership with Academy of Hope, will create a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) Institute for instructors of GED preparation classes. In January of 2014, there will be a new GED exam with more rigorous content that requires instructors to teach higher-level skills to youth and adults who already struggle. Activities include recruitment of ten teacher-trainers, facilitation of ten workshops, and development of curricula available through an open source textbook and online learning platform. The institute’s scripts, agendas, handouts and video will be made freely available online for use by seventy-five to one hundred paid and volunteer teachers and tutors of GED preparation and others.
The Great Lakes Science Center will develop an interactive multimedia exhibit focusing on northeast Ohio hot topics related to fresh water and the Great Lakes as part of its Great Lakes Story gallery. The exhibit will have in-depth content including topical scientific facts and balanced expert opinions and let visitors draw their own conclusions about potentially controversial issues such as hydraulic fracturing and its potential impact on the watershed that feeds the Great Lakes. The exhibit will feature touch-screen monitors, game-format activities, interviews with experts, and an interactive map. The exhibit will use current issues to provide informal STEM education rooted in real-world scientific challenges relevant to the region.
The L.C. Bates Museum will collaborate with second grade teachers to bring science and art education programs to 14 schools, and offer family activities and fieldtrips for rural, mostly low-income second graders and their families. Designed to support both the schools’ curriculum and enhance lifelong community learning, the initiative will provide interactive programs to increase academic success for children with diverse learning styles and special needs. The museum will bring a series of 10 educational programs to 40 classrooms each year; sponsor 16 family fieldtrips to the museum; loan four science/art literacy boxes to teachers; film and broadcast two cable television programs on the project; and develop two museum exhibits showcasing the students’ work. The project will strengthen museum/school collaborations to support learning, and enable family access to the arts, museum, and outdoor activities to build understanding and stewardship of the community’s natural environment.
The Newark Museum will conceptualize and develop a new Exploration Center, a space that will engage new and traditional audiences in a process of learning enhanced through use of touchable objects, hands-on activities, and interactive interpretive approaches. The museum will design and evaluate interactive programming for these spaces that will make use of the museum’s teaching collection of touchable objects, and design and fabricate a new physical ‘launching point’ space called the Touch Base, intended to provide visitors with resources to connect with collection objects and the rest of the museum. The results of this project will guide the museum’s future programming design and establish a culture of visitor-centered learning.
The Living Arts & Science Center will purchase a new mobile planetarium, sound system, planetarium star shows, as well as upgrade its current analog projector to digital. The new equipment will allow for an expansion of the museum’s outreach efforts by increasing off-site programming in Lexington-area communities and across Kentucky.
Building on early childhood research, the Lawrence Hall of Science will develop activities to engage children ages 4-7 in “design thinking.” Engineering design activities use hands-on learning to promote design thinking and 21st century skills. The project will incorporate the new activities into existing programs and train staff and volunteer educators in effective strategies to engage families and young children. The project will result in several products to be disseminated to the field, including a research-based effective practices framework for developing design experiences for young children in museums; a set of engineering design activities for early learners; a facilitator professional development program; and research and evaluation reports. Design Thinking through Play will contribute to the research and evidence base regarding the learning potential of these methodologies to nurture the habits and mindset of engineers and innovators.
Pacific Science Center will implement Exploring Earth System Science, a two-year project designed to increase visitors' literacy of Earth system science through the delivery of programming on Science On a Sphere, a global display system using computers and video projectors to display planetary data on a six-foot-diameter sphere. Museum staff will develop nine content strands covering topics such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and ocean science, with an emphasis on issues related to climate change. A rapid response framework for presentations about emerging natural disasters will be developed so that staff will be prepared to interpret data when a natural disaster occurs. As a result of the project, staff and volunteers will be prepared to provide an enhanced Science on a Sphere experience for community members who visit the museum.
The Jewish Museum of Maryland will develop a temporary interpretive exhibition exploring historical and contemporary Jewish approaches to healthcare. The exhibition will examine the cultural implications of medical training, the relationship between patient and healer, and communal responses to taking care of the sick, such as the establishment of Jewish voluntary hospitals in the nineteenth century, and promoting wellness via Jewish community centers in the twentieth. In addition to the exhibition, the project will develop a book-length catalog and a free interpretive brochure, a series of public programs, and a dedicated project website.
The Chicago Children’s Museum will develop a multimedia Story Hub that allows visitors to create and share video documentaries of their museum experiences. The onsite Story Hub will allow visitors to verbalize their understanding of the meaning and value of their experience with the museum’s exhibits by creating and recording a reflective narrative, accompanied by photos of different exhibits. Visitors will also be able to access these videos from the Internet after their visit. The project is based on research that shows that learning is more complete when experiences can be processed verbally, reflected upon, and shared. The videos will also provide museum staff with valuable information about the impact and perceived value of specific exhibits and activities to inform planning for the museum’s expansion. The Story Hub will provide a model for other museums seeking strategies to learn how their visitors understand and value their offerings.
The Discovery Center at Murfree Spring will use its grant to convert a retired school bus into a mobile science classroom. The Mobile Super Science Bus, manned by the museum’s Super Science team and volunteer guest scientists, will be used throughout middle Tennessee for outreach visits that feature hands-on discovery-based programs tailored to Tennessee state science curriculum standards. This project addresses the need for substantive informal science education for elementary school students in middle Tennessee and provides an innovative solution to the lack of time and funding for students to visit museums during the school day.
George Eastman House will use its grant to support the creation of nine short videos that will educate students, professionals, and lifelong learners on the history of photographic processes. Each four to six minute video will explain an important photographic process through hands-on demonstrations; behind-the-scenes footage of the museum; examination of collection objects; and conversations with curators, conservators, and historians. The addition of the new videos will supplement the existing videos and present a more complete history of photographic materials and processes.
The American Museum of Natural History will develop, test, and evaluate a suite of adult learning courses on climate change through on-site and online instructional methods. The suite of courses, entitled Our Earth’s Future, will focus upon three themes – Islands, Oceans, and Our Species and Others – and will be built around individual “case studies” that provide narratives about the impact of climate change to guide participants’ learning. Each of these topics will be offered as a five-week on-site course and a facilitated three-week online course. These offerings will reach a total 450 adult learners over the course of the project. The project’s greater goal is to deepen the understanding of engagement strategies for adult learners in the 21st century museum.
The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will expand staffing and make programs more accessible and audience-focused in its Nature Research Center. Since opening, the Center has hosted 1.4 million visitors in a seven-month period, providing authentic research projects, scientific exercises, and other hands-on activities. To support this high volume while allowing visitors to experience science in action, the museum will hire a part-time Lab Outreach Coordinator for the Microbiology and Genomics lab, a part-time Educator for its Investigate Labs, and a part-time Curator of Veterinary Services for the Window on Animal Health. The museum will assess the impact of greater scientist-visitor interaction on public understanding and engagement with science. The project will also expand efforts to bring underserved K-12 students to the museum in support of the museum’s mission to engage the public with science that affects their daily lives. IMLS funding will provide interim support until the museum can incorporate increased staffing costs into its annual operating budget.
The Minnesota Children’s Museum will plan and prototype a new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) gallery as the centerpiece of its expansion and renovation. The gallery will reflect current research on the role of play in developing 21st century skills. Play is thought to foster inquiry and problem solving among early learners by helping children learn and practice scientific skills such as observation, classification, measurement, collection, and hypothesizing. The museum will prototype and test elements relating to building, sorting, counting, and using interactive technology to explore STEM concepts within its current gallery spaces and will use evaluation results to inform the overall project. The project will expand the museum’s understanding of designing playful learning experiences for children and families and support the museum’s efforts to promote open-ended, child-directed playful learning.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium will use grant funds to support Teen Conservation Leaders, a hands-on opportunity for teens to make a contribution to their community while learning science content and practicing leadership skills. Teens will attend intensive summer training with time dedicated toward team building, natural history and ocean literacy content, customer service, interpretation and communication training, and an introduction to the aquarium’s history, mission, and educational programs. After training, each teen will commit to a minimum of 75 service-learning hours per year at the aquarium. The 150 teens participating in the program will gain valuable leadership and professional skills along with science content and hands-on work experience. The project aims to encourage participant to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) career pathways.
California Indian Museum and Cultural Center staff members and youth from the center’s Native Youth in Action Service Learning Program will create datasets for California Indigenous, an interactive Geographic Information System (GIS)-based map exhibit designed to enhance K-12 instruction on California Indian history and cultures under existing curriculum standards. The grant will support a GIS consultant to train Native youth on GIS procedures to produce datasets for exhibition maps and consolidate datasets into a complete exhibit database; fund two week-long GIS Tribal Ambassador summer camps where Native GIS professionals and cultural center staff members will provide information about GIS careers and potential educational training opportunities to pursue those careers; and support a STEM college/career fair at the cultural center to present STEM educational opportunities to Native youth. The project will spark Native youth interest in STEM education and careers and build their digital media technology skills while increasing the cultural center’s GIS capacity.
The John G. Shedd Aquarium will develop From Classroom Walls to Museum Halls: Transforming the Science Field Trip for the 21st Century Learner, a program that will use in-depth research, stakeholder input, and innovative technology to design, implement, and evaluate the next generation of impactful science fieldtrips at the museum. By aligning teacher motivation and expectations, classroom curriculum goals and fieldtrip content, these enhanced school group experiences will improve student learning outcomes. The project will serve as a template for successful student engagements at the aquarium and as a model for other institutions to develop research-based fieldtrip experiences.
The New England Aquarium will create a program called Connecting to Oceans, which will help kindergarten through third graders develop science and literacy skills, using live animals and the exploration of outdoor habitats. Partnering with community-based organizations who are already serving these children in out-of-school programs, Connecting to Oceans will provide ocean science content with a focus on literacy skills. Each community-based organization will be matched with a dedicated aquarium educator and a teen intern from the inner city. Over the three-year grant period, more than 300 five- to-eight-year-olds will participate in an estimated 162 learning experiences during the school year and 54 summer program days.
The Lincoln Park Zoo will implement a comprehensive interpretive program for its new Japanese macaque exhibit, combining current behavioral research with live and video interpretation. The program will provide visitors with daily live interpretation, direct observation, video observation, an interpretive mobile app, a mobile learning station cart, and dynamic multi-media content shared through the zoo website. The program is intended to engage visitors and enhance education through authentic science experiences, including research projects on cognition, tool use, behavioral economics, and social dynamics. Program goals include stimulating interest in science and research, increasing understanding of non-human primates, presenting young scientists as role models, extending interpretive programs to students and others outside the zoo grounds, and expanding the visitor audience.
The DuPage Children’s Museum will fabricate ten new air exhibits for AWEsome Air, which is part of a larger new exhibition: AWEsome Energy (Air, Water and Electricity). They will direct special attention to 7 to 10-year-olds to align their experiences with school curriculum and Common Core science standards and to offer independent, sophisticated, and complex experiences. Through a partnership with the Illinois Math and Science Academy, the project will develop a software application (tablet computers on-site and a mobile application to allow remote access) to expand and deepen children’s and adult’s science learning. AWEsome Air is designed to ignite young children’s interest in science and encourage STEM careers, building a stronger future workforce.
The Desert Botanical Garden will develop a new interpretive master plan to guide the integration of revised interpretation with physical site improvements, programming, and collections development. To implement this project, the museum staff will engage with interpretative planning and audience research consultants, as well as an advisory committee of experts and community members. With the completion of the plan, the museum will be positioned to serve visitors as a resource for forging stronger connections with nature, understanding the relationship between plants and people, increasing appreciation for the Sonoran Desert, and taking action to conserve the natural environment.
The Mattress Factory will build upon a previous IMLS-funded archival digitization project, to develop educational programs and a mobile application to make this historical material accessible to a broad, diverse audience. The application will let visitors enhance their museum experiences and delve into the creative process of artists who have worked at the museum. The museum will invite visitors to incorporate their own stories into the active archive, helping staff evaluate audience needs and educational impact. The project will enhance education programs for the general public, students and teachers, scholars and researchers, museum and cultural professionals, and individuals in rural communities in western Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, and the urban Pittsburgh community. The project will increase audience technology skills and help museum educators, teaching artists, and education staff integrate technology into museum education.
The Textile Museum will design a new interactive Learning Center gallery as part of its relocation to the George Washington (GW) University campus. The Learning Center will provide hands-on and technology-enhanced interaction to promote understanding of the textile arts and their connection with world culture, history, economics, mathematics, and other disciplines. It will put the learner at the center through self-guided activities and serve as a resource for museum educators. The museum will work with an advisory group of potential users and content experts to design the Learning Center, drawing on new technology and research, and lessons learned from its existing activity gallery. The museum will engage GW museum education degree candidates to conduct front-end evaluation to help ensure it meets audience needs and engage interns from the education department, helping to train the next generation of museum professionals.
The Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo will redesign, update, expand, and digitize its Pablo Python K-3 curriculum toolkit for early learners, teachers, and parents. The project will add interactive online components, and make the toolkit available across all digital platforms, including the zoo’s website, social media, email, and YouTube. The zoo’s new digital education resources will be designed to increase knowledge about animals and appreciation of nature, deepening audience engagement with science and conservation. The museum will collect baseline audience data; work with technology consultants to create, test, refine, and launch new digital products; and measure their impact and effectiveness. The resulting suite of digital learning products will include a microsite for digitized education resources, fieldtrip preparation kits, and videos and games for early learners. The project will bring new science and literacy learning resources to key audiences at five New York City wildlife parks.
The New York Botanical Garden will undertake a two-year project to develop, implement, and evaluate new edible gardening programs and to measure the effectiveness of existing programs. This project will help the garden expand its gardening initiatives, culminating in the opening of a new year-round edible gardening complex that will be known as The Edible Academy. Scheduled to open in early 2015, The Edible Academy will expand the footprint of the existing Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden through additional gardening space, new classrooms, and a greenhouse. The garden’s programming will increase from six months per year to year-round, which will double the number of people served by edible gardening programs to approximately 80,000 visitors.
The Seattle Aquarium will design, implement, and evaluate an aquarium classroom program, giving middle school students opportunities to experience how science is actually done. The project is designed to increase science and ocean literacy and STEM performance, and improve attitudes towards animal conservation. The museum will develop the program content in cooperation with practicing scientists, emphasizing the process by which scientists arrive at their conclusions. The project will include two introductory science-process inquiry activities and two content modules based on sea otter research conducted at the aquarium and ocean acidification research by a leading government researcher. The project deliverables will also include one kit based on each research module for interpretation in the aquarium galleries; one for community outreach programming; and one each for the outreach activities conducted by the researchers’ labs. The final product will be a set of guidelines for creating a research-based inquiry activity in cooperation with an active scientist.
The San Diego Model Railway Museum will partner with the Balboa Park Online Collaborative and Balboa Park Learning Institute to fabricate, evaluate, and launch a Centennial Garden Railway Exhibit. The exhibit will be part of EDGE2015, a yearlong festival of technology, art, commerce, and culture honoring the historic 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The exhibit, built through traditional model techniques and 3D and laser printing, will transport visitors to Balboa Park as it appeared in 1915. Entirely solar powered, the model garden will use fewer than two gallons of water weekly, reinforcing the museum’s role in promoting emerging technologies. Visitors will be able to operate model streetcars and electriquettes (wicker-bodied electric vehicles), building lights, and sound through a mobile application. The exhibit will educate visitors on Balboa Park’s accomplishments over the past century, innovative transportation developed for the exposition, and entrepreneur John Spreckel’s contributions to the success of Balboa Park and San Diego’s railways.
The San Diego Natural History Museum will design and create two interactive exhibit maps with extended content. One map will reside in a free app accessed via smartphone and take advantage of indoor mapping technologies, and the second map will be accessed on the museum’s website. Both maps will encourage visitors to customize their tour of the new exhibition, Habitat Journey/Viaje por los Hábitats, and to deepen their involvement in the exhibit’s content. The museum’s goal is to foster and deepen a visitor’s sense of place for their region through digital tools that complement the exhibit, Habitat Journey/Viaje por los Hábitats.
To encourage children and families to engage with nature and become active outdoors, The Discovery Museums will design and build a fully accessible tree house and other outdoor exhibits, and develop associated programming. The “Natural Connections” project is designed to counteract a decline in outdoor play, and encourage the positive impacts of nature on children’s activity levels, concentration, and creativity. The museum will partner with the Massachusetts Audubon Society and EcoTarium to develop strategies to engage families outdoors. It will work with the Institutes for Human Centered Design, Children’s Hospital’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, the Perkins School for the Blind, and Autism Alliance of MetroWest to make the tree house and surrounding activities accessible for children with physical, sensory, or cognitive issues. The museum will also conduct front-end audience research to develop activities that attract families and overcome barriers to outdoor participation.
The Port Discovery Children’s Museum will design, fabricate, install, and promote a new exhibit that explores agriculture through themes of science and technology, history, local ecology, global economy, and art. The “Here We Grow” exhibit will be rich in words, ideas, images, sounds, and interactive elements to support diverse learning styles; build school readiness skills; promote self-directed and multi-generational learning; and help children develop logic, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills necessary for success in the 21st century. It will link to Maryland’s Social Studies and STEM curricula and help motivate students who have difficulty engaging in classroom settings. The museum will partner with Towson University to develop front-end, formative, and summative evaluation, with prototype exhibit elements being revised and finalized based on evaluation results. The museum will promote the exhibit to families and educators through a targeted marketing campaign, including public relations, social media, and outreach to schools, school districts, and teachers.
ECHO will partner with the Greater Burlington YMCA, Vermont’s largest childcare service provider, to provide environmental education resources and programs to high need, culturally diverse preschool children and their caregivers. The “Science Play” project will create an immersive watershed resource and activity area to support preschool children and caregivers in exploring their watershed community. It will expand the museum’s preschool programming to reach an additional 500 preschoolers and 1,000 caregivers through drop-in programs, class field trips, family visits, and professional development for teacher-caregivers. The project will provide caregivers with tools and resources to support early science learning and environmental stewardship, and help YMCA and ECHO educators improve their knowledge and skills to support developmentally appropriate science education. The museum will use outcome-based assessments with children and caregivers; surveys and informal feedback from visitors; and quarterly Advisory Team Meetings to review progress and results.
The Iowa State University of Science and Technology will design a site plan for Reiman Gardens. Part of an overall master plan that will be developed for the gardens over the next two years, the site plan will lay out the long-range comprehensive vision for physical enhancements and new development that will occur over a 10- to 20-year timeframe. The project activities will include landscape design and architectural and engineering investigation. Site improvements will address programming needs and visitor experience. Designs will also address operational deficiencies, facilities and maintenance needs, and energy efficiency standards.
The Coastal Main Botanical Gardens will complete a new master plan to manage and schedule its development through 2035. The planning process will include staff, stakeholders, community leaders, and visitors, facilitated by a nationally recognized planning consultant. A group of leading professionals in horticulture and garden design will further advise the project. The plan will guide the creation of sustainable facilities, gardens, programs, and staff positions and investment in new ideas to keep the museum positioned to fulfill its mission. The plan will build on the strategies that have been used to develop the museum in less than a decade as a nature preserve and community anchor that serves more than 90,000 learners and brings significant tourism and revenue to the Maine economy.
The Center for Science & Industry (COSI), in partnership with the Columbus Idea Foundry and the Columbus Museum of Art, will increase staffing to focus on program development for COSI’s Center for Innovation. The three partners will collaboratively develop and implement “maker” educational programs at STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) high schools and within their own organizations that focus on 21st century and innovation skill building. Sharing staff will spark a culture shift in each partner organization in order to more deeply understand each other and to develop programs that embody the maker values of collaboration, risk-taking, creativity, and personalized learning. The program will train staff to “educate to innovate” using outcomes-based learning tools and evaluation.
Recognizing the power of community members as agents of change, the Shedd Aquarium will target three key constituencies through its Keep the Lakes Great: A Call to Action project: engaged citizens, motivated students, and environmental stewards. The Shedd will reach engaged citizens by using social media to share content and foster conversations that support its focus areas for the Great Lakes. A suite of learning programs, including immersive outdoor experiences, will be delivered to students, pre-teens, and teens. Environmental stewards will be invited to participate in direct, on-the-ground Great Lakes conservations through single-day beach sweep events; ongoing aquatic habitat restoration projects; and field research with a citizen scientist component. The project is expected to inform management plans for migratory fishes, increase access to Great Lakes science content, and support the STEM curriculum, while creating the next generation of care for a treasured freshwater ecosystem. The museum will share project results with local peer organizations and nationally through journals and via presentations at conferences and Great Lakes forums.