Goals & Values
Inclusive & Community Focused
CACM recognizes the Columbus community contains many underserved, non-traditional, and special-needs families. The design process is charged with soliciting input from diverse segments of the region to ensure the experiences are accessible and welcoming to the whole community. CACM’s focus is to provide age-appropriate experiences in their style of engagement and designed for children ages 0 – ten and their adult caregivers. The museum will feature a special, protected area for young children ages six months – two years old, but all of the areas of the museum will offer toddler accessible activities. The museum will also feature several amenities for special needs families, such as a ”sensory room,” which provides a semi-private area to escape the stimulation of the main gallery and take a break when kids need it.
CACM’s experiences are inspired by STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) style activities and focus on building skills in creating, inventing, collaborating, experimenting, and problem solving. These 21st Century Learning skills are fundamentally different from those intended to disseminate information simply. Content-based exhibits are designed to deliver accurate facts and explanations, while skill-based exhibits are designed as toolsets for visitors to explore their own ideas—outcomes are therefore as widely varying as the age levels and abilities of the visitors themselves. By constructing skill-based activities for young children, they are encouraged to invent and create, build and test. As a result, we spark their innate curiosity and empower them to author their own experience. This self-authorship drives confidence and allows visitors to see themselves as scientists, engineers, and artists of the future.
Changeable & Repeatable
High levels of repeat visitation are anticipated, so the ability for some experiences to transform over time and for others to be highly repeatable are key values that will drive activity selection and design. Experiences that change provides new encounters for frequent visitors and offer incentives for return visitation, while highly repeatable activities offer experiences that can grow in depth and engagement with continued engagement. The decision to focus on STEAM-inspired activities and open-ended experimentation and skill-building naturally result in repeatable experiences—visitors do not grow tired of building, making, and doing. As younger visitors grow up, their rapidly changing creative powers, motor skills, and intellect unlock new opportunities with the same exhibits used when they were younger. Where possible, the experiences should provide multiple modes of engagement to provide depth and appeal to visitors with varying interests and abilities.
Reflect the Community
Creating activities and experiences that reflect the local community builds connections, familiarity and a sense of ownership with visitors, conveying this is a museum by and for the local community. The activities and exhibits should create opportunities for children to recognize local environments and landmarks they encounter in the ‘real world’ and to extend learning opportunities beyond of the museum walls and back into the community.