For Kids, By Kids

When we say we’re a hands-on museum, we mean that in more ways than one! We’ve had children hands-on with our project from the start and are committed to including children in the development of the museum every step of the way.

The vision was inspired by an early partnership with the University of Maryland’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) in 2007. The HCIL’s director, Dr. Allison Druin, is a leading expert in child-centered design. Under Dr. Druin’s guidance, the Children’s Science Center first utilized a “Kids Team” to capture children’s input into every aspect of our facility, exhibits, and programs.

The methodology involves children, generally ages 7-12, who work with talented researchers from computer science, education, art, robotics, and other disciplines. Dr. Druin explains, “While children do not have the same specialized expertise that adults have, they have equal opportunity to contribute in any way they can to the design process. For example, adult researchers that are visual artists or educators can support the technology design process with domain-specific expertise and experience. The same can be said of child researchers. They too have special experiences and viewpoints that can support the technology design process. When children act as design partners they contribute at all stages, from the initial idea to the final product, and the end result is far richer for the collaboration.”

Over the years, the Children’s Science Center has convened many teams of children to inspire our plans. Whether through special design workshops or camps that enable children to actively design their dream museum, the Children’s Science Center is committed to being a museum built “for kids, by kids”!