Informal STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities (programs) and exhibits are common in science centers, children’s museums and natural history museums. As museums change to Museum 4.0 models (1), the STEAM exhibits and programs in museums also change. Museums 4.0 is the transformation of museums from a monolithic fixed location institution to a nimble community driven event driven organization. The Museum 4.0 becomes personalized to the visitor without fixed outcomes and without the physical restrictions of a single fixed location. As museums evolve to a Museum 4.0 model with visitor lead activities, STEAM activities within museums also change to peer to peer activities that begin outside the museum and continue as part of activities. Museum 4.0 STEAM will be a “host” connecting communities that existed before, during and after a museum’s “bricks and mortar” experience. Instead of “cookbook” experiences where you follow a specific pattern, STEAM activities become experiences that grow and change depending on the user and community involvement. Museum STEAM experiences are transitioning from workbench activities to workbench and smartphone experiences where tactile, and digital involvement are integrated. The future of STEAM Museum 4.0 experiences are opened-ended community based experiences that are customized to a user’s interests, knowledge and skills.

(1) Museum Generations 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 http://museumplanner.org/future-of-interactivity/

Author/Artist Bio

Mark Walhimer is an Industrial Design professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey and a museum consultant. Mark’s company, Museum Planning, LLC, specializes in the planning, design, and management of interactive educational experiences. Walhimer started his firm in 1999 to assist startup and expanding museums with museum master planning, exhibition design and museum project management. His firm has completed more than 40 projects worldwide for an international clientele that includes science centers, art museums, history museums, libraries, and corporations. Projects include Museo Interactivo de Economía (MIDE) in Mexico City, “Alcatraz: Life on the Rock,” traveling exhibition and Trans Studio Science Center in Bandung, Indonesia. Prior to starting his company, Walhimer held positions at Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, California, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, and Liberty Science Center. Mark is author of Museums 101 how-to guide for creating and organizing all varieties of museums and the editor of Museum Planner http://museumplanner.org/. Walhimer has a bachelor’s degree in studio art from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, and a master’s degree in industrial design and exhibition design from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.

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