Paper No. 13
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM


RICHARDS, Samantha, Strategic Programs and Partnerships, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, 2001 Colorado Boulevard, Denver, CO 80205,

Since its founding in 1900, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS) has used its geoscience collections to inspire curiosity and excite minds of all ages. Three permanent exhibitions Coors Gems and Minerals Hall, Prehistoric Journey and Space Odyssey, encourage guests to explore Earth through space and time. Coors Gems and Minerals Hall displays the Museum’s collection in a series of displays organized systematically that show representative minerals from the mineral groups and displays of minerals from the major mining areas of Colorado as well as state gem, gold and silver. Prehistoric Journey teaches the history of life on Earth through the rock and fossil record. The exhibit shepherds guests on an expedition through 600 million years of earth history, from the dawning of multicellular life in the Ediacaran Period to the demise of the mammoths in the Pleistocene. In Space Odyssey the universe is yours to explore. This highly interactive exhibit brings space news headlines to life and provides guests the chance to talk to an astronaut on the surface of Mars in 2047.

Geosciences play a large role in our programming to help stimulate a more scientifically literate public. Geoscience topics are popular with our adult audiences through lectures, classes, canoe trips and evening adult only cocktail parties called Science Lounges. Using the Next Generation Science Standards we have revamped our on-site school program offerings creating a new preschool dinosaur focused experience called “Dig It!” Our children’s summer camps continue to remain wildly popular with topics around dinosaurs, fossils and space.

As we reflect back on the 125 years of GSA and the Museum’s 113 years of geosciences, we must also look forward. While our programming continues to stay innovative, how can our exhibitions also remain relevant? Rather than start with our collection and expertise, the DMNS wants each guest to be able to create “My Museum Experience”, a personal experience that each guest can tailor. We are now looking to our audience to learn more about the topics that interest them and how the Museum can help to create a more science literate public, especially around Earth system science, that is connected with their natural world. With a laser focus on our audiences, how can the DMNS move forward for the next 125 years of geosciences in museums?