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ESMoA will work with a community partner, Mychal's Learning Place, to develop a model to support free and accessible instruction for museum educators that will increase their comfort and expertise in creating educational internship experiences for young adults, ages 18-30, with developmental delays. An online learning platform - consisting of instructional videos, lesson plans, worksheets, questionnaires, case histories, and supplementary reading materials - will be created to give institutions tools that they can use to design and implement programs that will provide this unique constituency with real-world challenges, which can build independence and self-esteem while teaching skills that increase overall employability.
The Children's Creativity Museum will test an adaptation of the Augmented Reality Sandbox (AR Sandbox) targeted at children aged 2-12. The AR Sandbox is an existing open-source educational tool that allows older users to manipulate the surface of a sandbox and create colorful visualizations in real time that convey sophisticated geological and hydrological concepts. By developing new facilitated activities and interpretive signage for young children using the AR Sandbox, the museum intends to deliver STEM content; offer a new tool for creative expression with the sand and color projections used as an artistic medium; and support early childhood literacy by inviting children to use their fingers to write letters and numbers. The results of this work will be shared through the existing AR Sandbox Forum community.
The Springfield Art Museum will collaborate with the Missouri Job Center and Springfield Public Schools to create and evaluate the Art@Work program for fourth graders. Art@Work is intended to provide valuable information to the museum field, arts organizations, educators, and workforce professionals regarding the role that museums and arts organizations might play in workforce preparation. The project will develop a curriculum through a collaborative process that includes the classroom teacher, the museum educator, and the workforce development specialist. Classroom activities, followed by fieldtrips to the museum, the job center, and other sites, will lead students through exercises designed to cultivate communication and organizational skills, as well as skills related to conflict resolution and teamwork. Intended outcomes include the development of workforce skills in elementary schools and the identification of strategies for partnerships between art museums and workforce preparation organizations.
ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, will collaborate with a network of community organizations to develop and launch an online platform that provides shared services for creating a new culture of clean water. Past efforts to help clean up the Lake Champlain Basin have been fragmented and unsuccessful. This new effort will enable network participants to establish a shared measurement of success, host a dashboard of community level indicators, and share stories articulating the values of clean water. The project's process and results will provide guidance for institutions that are exploring the value of engaging a network of partners addressing a shared social, cultural or environmental community challenge. With ECHO as the backbone organization, this project will serve as a model that demonstrates how to strengthen museums and libraries as essential partners in addressing the needs of their communities.
The Mountain-Plains Museum Association (MPMA) will create a retiree think tank to identify effective ways to bring retirees back into the museum field as participants, volunteers, trainers, and mentors. With the baby boom generation turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 per day, MPMA will explore how museum retirees are redefining this life stage through a year-long series of meetings designed to develop no-and low-cost ways for retired museum professionals to have easier access to and better involvement with the museum community. With a cohort of retirees who want to stay connected to the museum field, MPMA will test multiple ideas to create a model that supports the implementation of this kind of programming by individual museums. MPMA will document the most promising findings to share with other museum associations to replicate in their regions.
The New England Museum Association will explore the "generative meetups" concept by launching the Museumhive project. This new professional development model will connect regional museum professionals with thought leaders to create local content on topics of national interest to the museum profession. The initial theme will focus on "the distributed museum," a museum not bound by its physical location but integrated throughout its community. The project will support six in-person meetups featuring presentations by national thought leaders talking about their work via live Google Hangouts. After each meetup, staff and volunteers will index and archive the Hangout video, summarize the event on a Wordpress site, invite additional contributions via email and Twitter, and then prepare a short e-publication summary designed to help staff connect the topic to their own experiences at their museums. This experimental format for hive-created content will be shared with other museum associations for national replication.
The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture will test a multi-faceted exhibit concept designed to resonate with audiences and create effective learning opportunities. The museum is in the process of constructing a new facility that will enable staff to provide better care for the collections and reimagine the traditional natural history museum visitor experience. The project will test key ideas of the "New Burke." The new facility will include a research lab space where staff can interact with visitors on a regular basis; a flexible space for groups to gather for hands-on learning that bridges the more traditional galleries and the collections side of the museum; and spaces for collections managers to do their work while visitors watch, interact, and sometimes participate in the process. The project will enable the museum to prototype these spaces, get feedback, and make adjustments before opening to the public.