It’s a national, exhibit-based initiative that mixes the best of science-center interactives with the compelling stories and programs of a history museum. It was developed at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park in Fishers, Indiana, where it’s been a test bed for a range of facilitation techniques and methods.
The activities and programs of Create.Connect were built around the idea that conversations—between family members and between staff and visitors—reveal points of personal relevance and connection. It’s in these conversations that museum visitors are bridging the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math and the people, places and events of history.
Conner Prairie started Create.Connect because staff and advisors saw a growing need for STEM-learning opportunities among their central Indiana audiences. In 2010 the museum created an initiative that would encourage visitors to explore, experiment, and experience the diverse ways that science, technology, engineering and math are woven into the daily life’s of Hoosiers past, present and future. The new initiative promised to fill the need for more informal STEM learning opportunities and attract a broader audience to Conner Prairie.
With funding from the National Science Foundation (2012 – 2016), the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Duke Energy, Conner Prairie worked with the Science Museum of Minnesota to develop a 2,500 square-foot exhibit and related programming. The project reaches national audiences through the participation of four history museums, each of which is hosting exhibits that include STEM-learning activities developed for Create.Connect.