The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced the launch of a new special initiative focused on building the museum field’s capacity to connect with teachers and students. Museums for Digital Learning is a two-year cooperative agreement that enables museums to broadly share their digitized collections and other resources with K-12 schools across the country.
The project aims to build a suite of innovative digital resources with content spanning STEM, history, arts, culture, and the humanities, providing a broad spectrum of free, easy-to-access, adaptable resources for teachers across disciplines. IMLS envisions all types of museums—art museums, children’s museums, botanical gardens, history museums, science museums, zoos, aquaria, and more—will be able to contribute their content to the pilot platform.
The initiative, funded through an IMLS National Leadership Grant for Museums, will be led by the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in collaboration with The Field Museum in Chicago, Denver-based History Colorado, and a technical consultant. A team of K-12 teachers will co-create the educational resources using standardized templates, then test the content in their classrooms. A cohort of up to ten additional museums of various sizes, disciplines, and geographic locations will also test and validate both the platform and the educational resources.
“A number of organizations have already taken steps to address the growing need for digital resources in the K-12 educational system. Museums are also individually providing solutions, but current efforts are still fragmented, and there’s tremendous opportunity to more effectively engage today’s learners,” said Gangopadhyay.
“Collections, whether they are from a small, medium, or large museum, have the power of providing contextual hooks that can spur students’ interest in learning and applying new knowledge in real-world situations. This initiative will help to generate the powerful shared outcomes and collective impact we as a sector have the potential to create.”