National Children's Museum to Reopen in November

A rendering of the Dream Machine at National Children’s Museum.

A rendering of the Dream Machine at National Children's Museum. Rendering by Gyroscope, Inc.

When the National Children's Museum reopens next month, it will be hub for children ages 12 and under to learn and interact with exhibitions focused on STEAM activities.  Microsoft has announced a $300,000 gift and a separate "donation of technology" made possible by Microsoft Philanthropies.

Guests entering the facility will see the Dream Machine, a climbing structure and slide that focuses on the "early discovery of computer science," according to Microsoft.  Technology provided by the company will give visitors the ability to use "simple loops and programs to create custom color, light and other atmospheric reaction sequences" at stations on the concourse and plaza floors.

Microsoft is also funding the Tinkerers Studio, an interactive space that has hands-on and project-based learning experiences with the goal of sparking "a passion for STEAM from a young age." The studio will be built to look like a 21st century classroom.

The museum is offering monthly coding programs for children at the Tinkerers Studio and Microsoft will provide Surface Pro tablets for those who participate in this program.

"We want to give young people the tools they need to forge their own paths and make their dreams a reality. Providing access to this technology through National Children's Museum is just one way we are honored to be a part of this new chapter in the museum's history," Fred Humphries, Microsoft corporate vice president of U.S. government affairs wrote in a blog post.

In August, Amazon announced a $250,000 gift to the museum to fund the fabrication and installation of the Data Science Alley. The exhibit focuses on making "data literacy accessible and fun," according to an Amazon blog post.

Visual rendering of Data Science Alley

A rendering of the Data Science Alley at the National Children's Museum. Rendering by Gyroscope, Inc.

More than 200,000 visitors will get free access to the museum through a new Virginia Access Program supported by Amazon.

More information about the National Children's Museum can be found here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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