Press Release National Children’s Museum receives donation from Amazon for Data Literacy Exhibit and Free Museum Admission for Thousands of Northern Virginia Children and their Families

press release

National Children’s Museum receives donation from Amazon for Data Literacy Exhibit and Free Museum Admission for Thousands of Northern Virginia Children and their Families

For immediate release:
August 8, 2019

– New $250,000 gift from Amazon will help fund Data Science Alley – an exhibit making data literacy accessible and fun – as well as create the Virginia Access Program, which is part of the Museum’s broader initiative to provide free admission for more than 200,000 children and families from underserved communities in the region each year –

Washington, DC –  National Children’s Museum, a nationally recognized cultural and educational institution that will reopen in downtown Washington, DC in November 2019, received a new $250,000 gift from Amazon. The gift will support both the fabrication and installation of Data Science Alley – a new data literacy exhibit designed to inspire young audiences in STEAM fields – and contribute to the Museum’s robust access programs that will offer free admission for 200,000 children and families from underserved communities in the region. The Virginia Access Program Supported by Amazon will remove the barrier of admission cost for thousands of Northern Virginia residents. Data Science Alley is designed to unpack the complex subject of data literacy for young children and encourage mindsets and skills critical for a future informed by data. The Museum will be visited by 500,000 national and local visitors annually See brand new renderings of the exhibit here

Data literacy serves as a foundation in a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, including computer science, the fastest-growing profession within the field. Given that leading research indicates children form career aspirations before the age of 14, National Children’s Museum and Amazon are engaging the region’s youngest residents and visitors at a pivotal moment in their development to ensure a robust, diverse pipeline of future STEM professionals. In addition to inspiring experiences within the innovative exhibit, National Children’s Museum will develop accompanying field trip learning opportunities for students and educators to dig deeper into the robust connections between data and their daily lives. 

Amazon is also helping to ensure free museum admission for Northern Virginia residents from underserved communities. Through the Virginia Access Program Supported by Amazon, families will have the opportunity to access a Museum membership through more than 20 local community partners that have existing relationships with families living in under-resourced communities in Alexandria City, Arlington County, Fairfax City, Fairfax County and Falls Church City. The partner organizations will have a membership pass that can be “checked out” and utilized by families. A critical component of the Museum’s mission is ensuring that all children can access its exhibits and programs. 

“Data literacy is an important topic but one that has not yet been widely covered for young audiences within many cultural institutions,” said Crystal Bowyer, President & CEO of National Children’s Museum. “We are reimagining what is possible inside a children’s museum and believe connecting the dots on data literacy in an age-appropriate way for a diverse population of children is vital. As a leader in innovation and STEM education, Amazon is the perfect partner to present this cutting-edge exhibit and we are incredibly grateful that the Virginia Access Program Supported by Amazon will remove barriers of entry for so many families.” 

“Amazon is thinking long term about education, especially when it comes to STEM and computer science,” said Alice Shobe, Director, Amazon in the Community. “We are excited to donate to one of our new HQ neighbors, National Children’s Museum – we believe their unique and hands-on data literacy exhibit and the Virginia Access Program Supported by Amazon will benefit a generation of future innovators in the greater Washington, DC region.” 

The National Children’s Museum data literacy exhibit navigates concepts through personal storytelling and physical play. Guests will enter Data Science Alley through two doorways, each corresponding to a choice presented by a question. Visitors may be asked: “Would you time travel to the past or future?” or “Do you prefer summer or winter?” Guests then vote with their feet, stepping through the LED-ringed doorway that correlates with their response. The doorway sparkles as the guest walks through, and the choice is recorded and translated into a large-scale data visualization. The data point is then displayed in context to other visitors to encourage conversation. 

Amazon is committed to bringing more resources to children and young adults to help them build their best future. Amazon has invested more than $50 million to increase access to computer science/STEM education and has donated more than $10 million to organizations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country. Amazon’s primary computer science access program is Amazon Future Engineer. Launched in November 2018, Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue careers in the fast-growing field of computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire more than 10 million kids to explore computer science; provide over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; award 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offer guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience. 

About National Children’s Museum

Reopening in November 2019, National Children’s Museum is poised for its greatest chapter yet, just steps from the White House and National Mall at 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. With accessible Metro and transportation options, locals and tourists alike will meet at National Children’s Museum for a playful learning experience dedicated to providing interactive science, technology, engineering, arts, and math exhibits and programs. Founded in 1974, the Congressionally-designated Museum has served Washington’s youngest learners for over 45 years. 

For more information about National Children’s Museum and Amazon Future Engineer please visit: www.nationalchildrensmuseum.org and www.AmazonFutureEngineer.com. Nonprofits and organizations interested in participating in the Virginia Access Program should contact membership@nationalchildrensmuseum.org for more information. 

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