Orlando Science Center Advocates for STEM Learning in Museums!
For more than ten years, the American Alliance of Museums has been providing the essential training and support museum advocates need to meet face-to-face in Washington, D.C. with members of Congress. This year, National Museum Advocacy Day is February 22 and 23.
Being an advocate of our work is vitally important to promoting lifelong STEM learning. Teaching our nation’s leaders about the impact of federal government funding on our local projects helps Orlando Science Center garner funds to do exciting work. Many of our offerings have been supported by the federal government through grants. For example, construction of the Flight Lab and its public programming was supported by a grant from the Office of Naval Research (ONR). With their support, we were able to generate a unique learning experience using virtual reality to teach visitors about the science of aviation and US Navy/Marine Corps careers.
“The Flight Lab increases student exposure to STEM...in a way that is engaging and interactive through the use of virtual reality to understand STEM principles.”
The Science Center has also been actively engaged in promoting inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA). Our IDEA efforts began with a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in 2017.
What started with IDEA staff training branched into a new IDEA Council made up of employees from various areas of Orlando Science Center charged with pursuing IDEA efforts and creating an institutional culture focused on IDEA. The council is also external-facing to better serve our diverse community.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has also contributed to our programming to reach underserved populations of children. The $1.2 million in funding for the program ensures chronically and critically ill, hospital-bound children ages 9 through 19 have access to high-quality STEM education resources.
Orlando Science Center and our collaborators at the University of Central Florida, AdventHealth for Children, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, and external evaluator from Illinois State University are working together to create mobile carts filled with educational STEM activities that educate and inspire learners to delve into the science and engineering behind NASA’s missions.
If you are curious to learn more about this project please visit www.osc.org/learn/stem-satellites/.
Did you know you can help advocate for OSC? Celebrate the day by writing letters to your local officials and state and federal representatives and senators to share our good news about OSC’s responsible use of taxpayer dollars to meet the needs of our community.