Interactive Family Learning in Support of Early Brain Development
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), in collaboration with neuroscientists at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), museum professionals, and community partners, proposes to create a 1,000 to 1,500-square-foot traveling exhibition, accompanying website, and complementary programming to promote public understanding of neuroscience research and its relevance to healthy brain development in early childhood. The exhibition and programs will focus on current research on the developing brain, up to age 5, and will reach a national audience of adult caregivers of young children and their families, with a special emphasis on Latino families. The project will be developed bi-culturally and bilingually (English/Spanish) in order to better engage underrepresented Latino audiences. The exhibition and programs will be designed and tested with family audiences.
The exhibition project, Interactive Family Learning in Support of Early Brain Development, has four goals that primarily target adult caregivers of children up to age 5:
- Foster engagement with and interest in neurodevelopment during early childhood
- Enhance awareness of how neuroscience research leads to knowledge about healthy development in early childhood
- Inform and empower adult caregivers to enrich their children’s early learning experiences
- Reach diverse family audiences, especially Latino caregivers and their families
A collaborative, multidisciplinary team of neuroscience researchers, experts in early childhood education, museum educators, and OMSI personnel with expertise in informal science education and bilingual exhibit development will work together to ensure that current science is accurately interpreted and effectively presented to reach the target audiences. The project will foster better public understanding of early brain development and awareness and confidence in caregivers in using play to enrich their children’s experiences and support healthy brain development. Visitors will explore neuroscience and early childhood development through a variety of forms—multi-sensory, hands-on interactive exhibits, graphic panels, real objects, facilitated experiences, and an accompanying website.
Following the five-year development process, the exhibition will begin an eight-year national tour, during which it will reach more than one million people.