Public Works for Public Learning: The Golden Gate Bridge Outdoor Exhibition Project
While some public works are monumental civil engineering structures like the Eiffel Tower or the Sydney Harbour Bridge, most are commonplace, even invisible, and they are taken for granted. The reason for existence of public works is to provide basic services, but both large and small infrastructure facilities also present opportunities to engage the public in understanding fundamental concepts of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). We review here lessons learned in the National Science Foundation-funded Golden Gate Bridge Outdoor Exhibition project. Using the title of the conference held as part of the project in San Francisco in June, 2012, Public Works for Public Learning, we explore first the opportunities for this type of STEM learning and then the challenges that can arise with such efforts.