Friday, February 5, 2010

DSC + DPS = Hope

One year ago, I was battling single-digit temperatures and icy winds in Motor City as I worked on the installation of an exhibit at the Detroit Science Center. I can tell you, in the middle of winter Downtown Detroit is a wasteland. It felt like the crew and I, stationed right in the heart of downtown at the Holiday Inn Express, were the only ones alive in that deserted place. In September, we returned to deinstall the show and, while the temperatures were kinder, the landscape was nearly as empty, except for when the Tigers played.

So I was saddened, but not surprised, to read that the actual unemployment figure for Detroit is actually probably pretty close to 50%. I truly believe it.

Which made me all the more excited when I read this article, forwarded on to me by the CFM Dispatch from the Future, about a new partnership between the DSC and Detroit Public Schools to re-open the Detroit Children's Museum.

The Detroit Children's Museum, administered by DPS, had closed about a year ago due to funding cuts. But the new partnership with the DSC will allow the Museum to re-open--and with increased access to funding and exhibit and programming opportunities.

What makes me so excited about this brief little article? Hope. Informal education has been shown to play an important role in helping children to develop critical skills and improve their ability to learn academic subjects such as science. Informal educational experiences, such as the ones offered by children's museums around the country, are a great way to stimulate children's curiosity, imaginations and critical thinking skills. In short, the opportunities that this new partnership will open up to the children of Detroit are invaluable.

What this means to me is that, although Detroit is facing dire times right now, there is still hope for its children; a commitment is being made to jump-start their educations and their lives, thereby offering hope to the whole community.

Thanks, DSC, for taking on this important mission.

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