In 2021, we worked with the Smithsonian Institution’s American Women’s History Initiative (AWHI) to design and implement a baseline study that would measure the long-term impacts of the Because of Her Story (BOHS) internship program on participants. The program is a cross-Smithsonian initiative that matches interns with museum projects meant to amplify women's stories to tell a more complete American history, reach a diverse audience, and empower and inspire people from all walks of life.
Together, we articulated clear and measurable mid- and long-term outcomes for internship
Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Access from the Ground Up project at the Palo Alto Junior Museum & Zoo (JMZ) seeks to better serve children with disabilities through a combination of partnerships with community, staff professional development and training, and the development of accessible STEM-focused exhibits and resources at the new JMZ facility, which opened in November 2021. This summative evaluation report seeks to answer the following evaluation questions:
To what extent does the Access from the Ground Up project build or strengthen relationships with
This document is the final evaluation report for the Teen Science Cafes for Advancing STEM in Rural Places project.
A Teen Science Café is a free, regularly occurring event during the school year in which a local scientist, engineer, or STEM expert discusses their field experiences with the teen attendees. Ideally, a Teen Leader cohort, under the mentorship of an Adult Leader, organizes and implements each Café.
The Teen Science Café Network is a community of practice linking the various youth-serving organizations, institutions, community settings, and individuals that host Teen Science
Life on the Edge is a traveling exhibition focused on educating children ages 8-14 and their families about how understanding Earth’s extreme environments helps us search for life in space. Created by Sciencenter in Ithaca, NY, the big idea of the exhibition is: “our exploration of extreme environments expands our understanding of life on Earth and the possibilities for life in our solar system and beyond.” Through five unique exhibit sections, the exhibition offers visitors information, activities, and questions focused on scientific exploration and discovery, life in space, and the origins
The Ka Makaiwa: Strengthening Digital Access for Native Hawaiian Futures project will develop an approach to producing online exhibits and related programming for the Bishop Museum. The project will address barriers to physical access to collections expected to continue beyond the pandemic by expanding access to information by developing a high-quality, thoughtfully designed, and user-friendly online exhibit platform. The museum will capture photographs, video footage, and other content from the (Re)Generations: Challenging Scientific Racism in Hawaii exhibition, which explores racism and bias in scientific research while celebrating Native Hawaiian voices and collaborative endeavors. The project team will test a beta version internally and conduct a thorough internal review before launching the online exhibit publicly.
The Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture will address low science and math proficiency achievement rates for Native Hawaiian students by designing more relevant STEM learning activities. The INPEACE Indigenous Science Center’s Mahina Exhibit Project will create three exhibit designs with learning objectives targeted for students ages 4-14. Focused on the Mahina (moon), the exhibits and related activities will be designed to be enjoyable and thought-provoking for Native Hawaiian communities to engage in STEM learning through a framework that is familiar. Through consultation with experienced exhibit designers, the science center’s staff will gain a stronger understanding of best practices in exhibit design, and indigenous communities will benefit from approaches that translate their own histories into relevant and fun STEM learning experiences.
The Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, in partnership with six science centers and museums, will promote and invest in science education in rural communities with limited museum access. This coalition will work with two cohorts of rural school communities (12 total) and focus on engaging, learning from, and supporting rural school districts, teachers, families, and communities through relationship building, asset mapping, and the collaborative integration and implementation of museum resources. Additional activities include the production of publications, virtual presentations, and a virtual tool kit. The project will illustrate the ways in which museums can collaborate to support STEM and literacy at the K-2 level, enhance teacher self-efficacy, attitudes and beliefs, and engage family and community, strengthening services for Americans who live in the most rural areas.
DuPage Children’s Museum will conduct an in-depth, iterative evaluation of the museum’s Questioneers traveling exhibit and create a permanent 2,000 square-foot, bi-lingual Questioneers exhibit along with related programming that promotes inclusivity and ignites children’s interest in mathematics, science, engineering, and architecture. The exhibit and programming also will help reduce the impact of socioeconomic disparities that are known to discourage underrepresented and underserved populations from pursuing their interest in STEM fields. The exhibit and its related programming will feature characters, activities, and challenges from bestselling children’s books. The museum will coordinate exhibit design and fabrication with community partners.
The DoSeum will re-imagine its exhibition, “Dream Tomorrow Today,” focusing on underserved students in San Antonio. The community-driven exhibition will provide a space for children ages 4 to 11 to develop key learning and STEM leadership skills to approach their desired futures. In developing the exhibit content, the museum will partner with academic futurists, local organizations with a focus on underserved students, STEM-focused organizations, and a community network of families connected to those organizations. Community conversations will be convened for children and families throughout the exhibition development process to elicit feedback from key stakeholders.
The Detroit Zoo will partner with community-based organizations serving youth in metropolitan Detroit to implement a program to develop and present remote STEM programming for students in this area, targeting low- to moderate-income students of color. Staff from the zoo and three afterschool programs (American Institutional Management Services, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Michigan) will participate in professional development workshops on virtual, inquiry-based, humane STEM education. They will then utilize skills developed in the workshops to develop and lead virtual education programming for a total of 24 groups of 20 middle school youth.
The University of Montana will create “Transforming Spaces” to foster a more inclusive, culturally responsive space for Missoula’s urban Indian population and to better meet the community’s needs. The project will explore cross-cultural, collaborative approaches to STEM and Native Science. In collaboration with Montana’s tribal communities, the museum’s education team and advisory groups will design and implement hands-on activities that engage visitors with Native Science. The project will engage tribal role models and partner with tribal elders to create a library of videos for tribal partners, K–12 schools, and organizations. The project will offer teachers professional development designed to fulfill the statewide mandate of Indian Education for All. The exhibit will connect Native and non-Native museum visitors, close opportunity and achievement gaps, and ensure that all Missoula children feel a sense of belonging in museums, higher education, and STEM.
To inspire more youth to seek careers in science, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is adding a new, permanent paleontology exhibition, “Dueling Dinosaurs,” and a public lab that will allow middle school students to explore a variety of fossils using hands-on tools and techniques. The exhibition, which will include the fossils of a Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops found intertwined and thought to have died in an apparent predator-prey battle, will demonstrate how fossils are key evidence used by scientists to understand life on a changing planet. Students will have the opportunity to participate in interactive exercises that replicate scientific processes and procedures, and as they learn, see possible career paths for themselves as scientists.