Category Archives: Philanthropy

6 STEM Museums across the Country Were 2018 National Medal Finalists

6 STEM Museums across the Country Were 2018 National Medal Finalists

Science museums are leaders in providing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. In 2018, six STEM-related museums were among 14 libraries and 15 museums named finalists for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service for their community programming and services. Awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, this is the highest honor for museum and library outreach in the United States. Read on to learn more about these six museums.

Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo

The Brookfield Zoo is managed by the Chicago Zoological Society and housed on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. It is a 216-acre nature park housing an arboretum and more than 2,000 animals, including big cats, bears, dolphins, penguins, primates, bison, wolves, amphibians, wombats, giraffes, kangaroos, rhinoceroses, seals, and a bald eagle.

The zoo offers several learning initiatives. One is King Conservation Science Scholars, a college and career readiness program for teens. Students focus on animal conservation and participate in 120 hours of yearly volunteer service. Another initiative is Zoo Camp, available to children ages 4 to 14 with a special emphasis on disability and special needs inclusiveness.

High Desert Museum

Located in Central Oregon, the High Desert Museum is devoted to the wildlife and history of the High Desert region of the western United States. Helping visitors explore the landscape, cultures, wildlife, history, and art of the region, the museum maintains a multidisciplinary approach. Its connection to STEM disciplines is via its wildlife exhibits, which include river otters, Gila monsters, desert tortoises, rattlesnakes, turtles, porcupines, bobcats, and various species of native fish and birds.

The museum offers multiple education opportunities, including visits by schoolchildren to the museum’s outdoor classrooms. Here, students in kindergarten through eighth grade participate in one of 12 classes. The museum also offers educational programming for teachers, such as workshops that show how to enhance outdoor school experiences with lessons on fire ecology and soil science, and how to integrate environmental studies with STEM education.

Orlando Science Center

The Orlando Science Center has plenty of competition with many theme parks nearby. However, it greets 627,000 visitors each year and conducts outreach to 146,000 students and educators annually. The museum includes four floors of exhibits, labs, theaters, and an observatory, with a variety of workshops, hands-on activities, and programming offered in these spaces.

One highlight is the STEM Discovery Center programming available both at the center and at local schools. These programs focus on collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, and hands-on learning and provide access to the latest technology and learning approaches, such as making, tinkering, and exploring. The STEM Discovery Center offers an onsite preschool, sponsors science competitions, provides professional development for teachers, and hosts events for homeschooled children, among other opportunities.

Science Museum of Virginia

The Science Museum of Virginia is housed in a converted train station designed by famed architect John Russell Pope, designer of the Jefferson Memorial, the National Archives, and part of the National Gallery of Art. The museum is also known for its Dome Theater 3D planetarium, 29-ton solid granite globe of the earth, and SR-71 Blackbird supersonic jet.

In addition to three floors of exhibits, the museum’s educational offerings include a blog, videos, and educator resources. It also provides resources for learning about climate change through the Climate Connections video and audio programming available on its website. In addition, the museum hosts community events, such as lunchtime science-related guest speakers, science-themed cocktail parties, teacher appreciation days, lunar eclipse viewings, and special evening hours for sensory-sensitive individuals and people with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities.

South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium aims to connect people with water, wildlife, and wild places. It offers opportunities to learn about otters, ocean fish, sea turtles, alligators, stingrays, and eagles. Other animals displayed include horseshoe crabs, sea horses, sea urchins, fiddler crabs, and sand tiger sharks. The exhibits highlight the state’s diverse ecosystems, such as mountain forests, coastal plains, saltmarshes, the open ocean, and a backyard featuring native plants.

Image by David Ellis | Flickr

The aquarium also has a focus on conservation and education with its Sea Turtle Care Center, where visitors can observe the rehabilitation of ailing sea turtles. It also sponsors citizen science projects that track litter removal, document sea level rise, and count and cull invasive lionfish. In addition, the Good Catch program educates the public about local and sustainably harvested seafood.

University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History

The University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History was not only a finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, but also a medal winner. It houses hundreds of thousands of ethnographic and archaeological objects, fossils, and biological specimens, with many available online. Its exhibits include a sabertooth salmon, a giant sloth, life-size sculptures of Columbian mammoths, and a native plant courtyard.

The museum also offers 60-minute, interactive classroom presentations focused on the last Ice Age, fossils, rocks, ancient animals from what is now Oregon, and other topics. Similar outreach to libraries and community organizations is also provided, with programs focusing on space, engineering, and mammoths. Via the museum’s website, teachers have access to lesson plans, activities, and worksheets about geology, fossils, animals and their habitats, and Native American history and culture.

2 Ways Verizon Is Diversifying the STEM Field – What You Need to Know

2 Ways Verizon Is Diversifying the STEM Field – What You Need to Know

Recently, many organizations have focused on diversifying the STEM pipeline, which is designed to draw in people from the general population and lead them to the desired endpoint of employment in a STEM field. However, in the United States, the STEM pipeline has attracted mostly white and Asian men to STEM career paths. To change… Continue Reading

Top Science Museums around the Country Support STEM Education

Top Science Museums around the Country Support STEM Education

Education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has been a national priority for several years now. Beyond the public school systems, many of the country’s science museums are also working to provide STEM education opportunities for their communities. These museums provide access to science education for the general public, including youth… Continue Reading

EHTP Benefit Gala Raises a Record $4 Million for Youth in Need

EHTP Benefit Gala Raises a Record $4 Million for Youth in Need

The East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) hosted its 60th Anniversary Benefit on May 21, 2018, at New York City’s American Museum of Natural History. The annual gala honors those involved in EHTP’s mission to raise college graduation rates among East Harlem’s youth. This year’s gala raised $4 million and drew 600 guests, which are both… Continue Reading

5 of the Best Ways to Become Involved with EHTP

5 of the Best Ways to Become Involved with EHTP

Since its inception in 1958, the East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) has expanded from a small children’s reading group and tutoring program into an organization that has transformed the lives of children from across the East Harlem area. Led by the driving core values of service, courage, humility, originality, leadership, achievement, and reflection (SCHOLAR), the… Continue Reading

4 of the Best Moments from the 31st Annual EHTP Spring Benefit

4 of the Best Moments from the 31st Annual EHTP Spring Benefit

At its annual Spring Benefit, students, staff, family members, and supporters of the East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) gather to recognize the organization’s past year of service to the East Harlem community. The event provides an opportunity for the nonprofit’s leaders and stakeholders to look back on its recent accomplishments, recognizing the innovative programs and… Continue Reading

Charles Phillips Included on List of Most Influential Philanthropists of Color

Charles Phillips Included on List of Most Influential Philanthropists of Color

America has been a melting pot of people, cultures, and ideas since its inception, and with each passing year, our nation only grows more diverse. It is likely that, by 2050, over half of all Americans will be of non-white ethnic descent. As our country’s demographics shift, people of color are having an increasingly greater… Continue Reading

5 Ways the Apollo Theater Continues to Inspire You Need to Know

5 Ways the Apollo Theater Continues to Inspire You Need to Know

Since 1934, the Apollo Theater in Harlem has served as a major performing arts venue for established and emerging African-American talent. Here are just five of the ways the Apollo Theater continues to foster talent and inspire the broader community: A festive annual gala to support the arts. On June 12, 2017, Charles and Karen… Continue Reading