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State of Education: Museums offer educational value during school recess
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During school recess, there are still many learning opportunities outside of the typical classroom. Some of the most popular destinations are museums. Here at the NYS Museum, the theme this year was education and public health.
"And I saw an opportunity to merge the two and create a week-long event for the visitors that focuses on education in an interactive and fun way,” said Samantha Cathers, NYS Museum Visitor Services.
The main hot topic is nanotechnology in the medical field. One station focused on molecules in balloons, simulating a protection similar to latex gloves. Another featured implants and how they adhere to the bone in a medical situation.
"That's a real area of need and researchers are looking at either improving the material that the implant is made out of or patterning it in some way to make it a better implant. Make it last longer,” said Hallie Morgan, NanoHealth Project Coordinator.
Then it was off for a little fun with interactive videos. Educators say students should keep busy over the summer and winter breaks. Many who participate actually do better in school when it's time to head back to class.
"The museum is part of the New York State Education Department, so just because school is on break doesn't mean the education at the museum has to be on break too,” said Cathers.
On the other hand, many museums across the state have been feeling the results of budget cuts, including layoffs and fewer operating hours, but most educational programs continue, as it's less expensive than other options and alternatives over the holidays.
“During the economic downturn museums actually see a rise in visitation and also the New York State Museum is a free museum, so it's open to everybody," said Cathers.
A trend many museums hope to continue.