By Christopher Collier, guest writer of the MAS
Educators and civic leaders founded the Museum of Arts and Sciences in 1956, envisioning the expansion and enrichment of the educational opportunities available to Bibb County school children. While the Museum has expanded from a single rented room to a state-of-the-art, 50,000 square foot facility spanning 14-acres, its past is not too dissimilar to its present. Despite its many decades of life, the museum’s commitment to education remains as expansive and impactful as ever. Heart and soul unaltered, the MAS has maintained the vision of its founders while also expanding its initial focus on students to a broader mission that supplies lifelong learning to all ages. Today, a commitment to education is one of the organization’s core values:
COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION
“The Museum believes that exposure to the real thing—actual works of art, live animals, and three-dimensional natural and scientific objects, as well as hands-on opportunities to explore nature and humankind’s impact upon it—are key to developing knowledge of and appreciation for the world in which we live. It encourages children, adults, and families alike to pursue life-long learning.”
But the museum’s commitment to education isn’t just a statement—it’s a plan put into action. Today, the MAS is a respected regional supplier of education for all who possess a passion for learning. The largest general-purpose museum in Georgia, the MAS is equipped with a diverse array of educational tools. The museum features art and science exhibitions, a full-dome planetarium, Science on a Sphere®, a mini zoo with over 70 live animals, an interactive discovery house, nature trails, outdoor amphitheater and classroom, pavilion, and a 200+ seat auditorium.
Through a variety of programs, the MAS continues to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to learn and discover. For example, the Museum protects the economically disadvantaged with programs like the “$1 Annual Youth Membership” for Bibb County public-school students.
Further, the MAS has tailored its experiences to match the educational needs of Georgia. For example, Georgia students are lagging behind in math and science, and substantial economic growth is predicted for STEM-related (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professions. Concern has grown as Georgia parents and educators want to ensure that their children and students are prepared for the careers of the future. The MAS is addressing the problem with an innovative STE+aM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) program.
The museum’s 64-year-long mission of supplying educational enrichment is one that has been nationally recognized for over three decades. Initially accredited in 1986, the Museum of Arts and Sciences is currently accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the highest national recognition that a museum can earn. But the MAS’ mission to educate is just beginning. Over the next 12 weeks, I will highlight this mission through Impacting Education, a blog detailing how the MAS has impacted, is impacting, and will impact the educational landscape across Georgia. I will cover the power of the field trip, the importance of an informal education, the ability to gain knowledge through edutainment, and more. Join me as I take a deeper look into the museum’s everlasting commitment to its permanent purpose—educational enrichment.