Newark Museum: Ahead of the Curve
In President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address, he spoke about two major initiatives that the Newark Museum is already providing for the community.
The President spoke about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and how 3-D printing has the potential to revolutionize the future of our nation. In 2012, we launched Makerspace at the Newark Museum, which utilizes all facets of STEM. We even took it a step further and added the A for Art creating STEAM and putting creativity at the center of innovative thinking.
Youth and adults are inspired by their own interests and explorations to create by having access to state-of-the art technologies. Makerspace invites users to “build to think” by utilizing rapid fabrication equipment and materials. Equipment and supplies range from 3-D software to 3-D printing robots; microscopes to micro-controllers; Dremel tools to DC motors; and soldering to soft-circuits. Art, craft, science, engineering and technology form the platform for discovery, creativity and collaboration.
These skills are developed in the Makerspace, as well as within the Museum’s galleries and collections. Participants are exposed to the vast object and intellectual resources the Museum has to offer, which makes Makerspace at the Newark Museum a unique learning experience.
Makerspace at the Newark Museum is made possible through Cognizant’s Making the Future Program.
The President’s State of the Union Address also focused on the need to strengthen early childhood education in the United States and he is proposing a system that will provide universal pre-K education. We are committed to serving early childhood. In 2012, with the support of TD Charitable Foundation, the Museum launched an initiative to expand its services in this area. In collaboration with the Newark Public Schools, the Newark Preschool Council, and La Casa de Don Pedro, the Museum developed new curriculum-based programming for 3-8 year olds and their teachers. Since 2010, the number of early learners has increased from less than 5,000 children to slightly over 17,000 in 2012.
In June 2012, a special ‘preschool families night’ was held at the Museum in collaboration with the Newark Public Schools’ Department of Early Childhood and the Newark Early Childhood Advisory Council. More than 600 families with preschoolers came to the Museum for hands-on activities, tours, summer learning ideas, free children’s books, and more – all with fun in mind! The second special evening for preschool families is already being planned for June 2013. More and more early learners and their families are now visiting the Museum on weekends for free drop-in activities in art and science.
This initiative focused on early childhood education has enabled the Museum’s Deputy Director for Education, Ted Lind, to be included in a national committee, hosted by the Smithsonian, that is planning a symposium focused on ‘early learners and museums’. The director emeritus of the Smithsonian’s Early Enrichment Center (a museum-centered preschool), Dr. Sharon Shaffer, is authoring a book about early childhood and museums. Dr. Shaffer is featuring the Newark Museum’s successful work with young learners as a case study. Early childhood education is clearly a major area of interest for us!
TD Charitable Foundation continues to support the Museum’s early childhood initiative.
Entry filed under: Uncategorized.