Museum in a Box

Program Contact

Cathy Regan

The goal of Museum in a Box is to provide museum STEAM activities with all necessary materials to support members of the Boulder County community whose limited access to resources are being exacerbated by restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program targets two populations – families with early learners (preschool – 3rd grade) and senior citizens with early stage memory loss.

We are partnering with BVSD Offices of Equity and Partnerships, and Early Childhood Education to understand the needs of low-income, mostly Latino families and to create a distribution plan to deliver materials to 125 families. In partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, we will create activities for 25 participants in the SPARK program who are home-bound because of age and memory loss.

Activities have been developed and used with comparable audience in past museum programs where their success has been demonstrated through surveys on audience satisfaction. The themes and topics of the projects were devised as tools to communicate CU Boulder scientific research in collaboration with CU Museum curators and collection managers, faculty in museum cognate departments (EBIO, GEOL, ANTH), and their graduate students.

Effort is required to make the transition from guided, in-person activities to self-guided at-home activities.   The Museum in a Box project will provide supplies and use a variety of platforms to lead participants through activities – with assessment to determine the value of each approach. The most basic will be printed instructions – words and images to guide the activities. We will provide links to prerecorded virtual guidance that can be accessed at any time – either via internet or flash drive; and will deliver some programs in a synchronous, live setting. Students will be involved in all steps of the creation of facilitation instruments.

Museum in a Box activities are designed to create durable, meaningful products that serve as tangible memories of time spent engaged in exploration. They serve as prompts for further inquiry and can be used in multiple settings and contexts. Activities promote skills and concepts, including:

  • Observation
  • Scale (size and time)
  • Fine motor skills
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Measurement
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Communication

Museum in a Box materials and activities will be used in participants’ homes. Museum staff will access the museum to gather materials to be distributed for students to work on. Students will work in their homes or other safe space of their choice. All engagement between participants and facilitators will be virtual.

Museum in a Box will provide enrichment to students who will not have access to before and after school programs. Activities acknowledge potential limitations on digital access and other resources.

Older people most at risk for severe illness from coronavirus exposure are facing social isolation that is detrimental to physical and mental health. Museum in a Box materials and associated virtual programming will provide much needed connections, and incentive to engage with nature outside their windows.

    Sponsoring Units

    • University of Colorado Museum of Natural History
    • Research Institutes

    Program Partners

    • CU Nature, Environment, Science, Technology (NEST) Studio for the Arts. Joanne Marras Tate
    • BVSD Office of Equity and Partnerships
    • BVSD Office of Early Childhood Education
    • City of Boulder OSMP
    • Environment for the Americas
    • Alzheimer's Association of CO

    Audiences Served

    • Adult Learners
    • At-Risk Youth
    • Children & Youth (outside school)
    • Families
    • Minority Group(s)
    • Socio-Economic Disadvantaged
    • Special Needs Individuals
    • Students - Early Learning
    • Students - Elementary School