The Congressionally-designated National Children’s Museum is nearing the end of a major renovation project, with its doors set to open in November. The institution has been serving local, national and international visitors for almost half a century and as such was in need of modernisation.
With the company’s imposing head office being located in the state and having embarked on a campaign to fund community projects in areas nearby its operations, Amazon saw an opportunity to get involved.
Falling under the remit of the Amazon Future Engineer programme, which supports organisations to increase access to computer science education for students in underserved communities, the firm is stumping up $250,000 to help fund the fabrication and installation of Data Science Alley, an exhibition designed to make data literacy accessible and fun.
In addition to this exhibit, Amazon’s funding will go towards providing free museum access to more than 200,000 visitors as part of the new Virginia Access Program – which the retailer also supports.
Crystal Bowyer, President and CEO of National Children’s Museum, said the organisation is “very excited” to have received support from the company, noting: “Amazon’s donation will support our new data literacy exhibit which is truly ground-breaking for any museum – especially a children’s museum.
“In this exhibit, we will have age appropriate, tactile content for all kids. In one of the experiences they will connect dots on a cloud with yarn, to represent their data footprint, and to see how the data created through their preferences connects them to other visitors. It will help them understand a network diagram while also being fun.”
Delivering educational and enjoyable activities for children up to the age of 12 is a key mission statement for the soon to be re-opened museum, with a particular focus on delivering science, technology, engineering, arts and maths learning sessions to underrepresented groups.
Bowyer also added that Amazon’s support via the Virginia Access Program will enable the museum to stay true to its aim that “the cost of entry of our museum is not a barrier for any family,” no matter what their financial situation.