STEM in History Museums

Paving the Way for STEM in History Museums

Explore effective and affordable ways to incorporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) topics into history museums in this series of virtual workshops. Each two-part workshop includes a teaching webinar and a Zoom-based group activity session and is designed to pair an interpretive tool with a STEM-based resource, highlighting how to use writing, oral presentation, hands-on activities, and interactive strategies to effectively connect to visitors both onsite and online. Using examples from Texas transportation history and environmental topics around the state, each workshop provides tangible examples and tools that can be adapted and implemented at institutions of any size.

Tuesdays, June 8, 15, and 22 at 2:00 p.m. CT
Register now for all three webinar sessions!
Click on the drop-down links under Part 2 below to learn more about each week's sessions. All webinars will be recorded and all materials will be posted below following the presentation. Group activity sessions will be held Thursdays at 2:00 p.m. CT and Fridays at 10:00 a.m. CT following each webinar. Zoom links will be emailed to all registrants.

This free workshop series is supported by the Texas Department of Transportation. Watch this video (17 minutes) to learn more about local history resources available from TxDOT.

Part 2

Constructing a Narrative:
Writing About STEM for a Specific Audience

Dive into best practices in writing for accessibility, readability, and voice. Learn how to use these strategies in onsite and online applications including exhibition text, lesson plans, and website text to incorporate STEM topics into history exhibits. Using road construction techniques particular to Texas as an example, practice different methods for clear and concise writing for your institution's primary audience. During the group activity, participants will practice writing an exhibit label on a STEM topic (provided in advance) using the principles learned in the webinar.

Webinar: Tuesday, June 8, 2:00 p.m. CT
Group Activity Sessions: Thursday, June 10, 2:00 p.m. CT and Friday, June 11, 10:00 a.m. CT

Webinar sessions will be recorded. A Zoom link to the group activity sessions will be emailed to all webinar registrants each Wednesday.

Becoming a Habitat for Teachers:
Designing Educator Workshops with STEM in Mind

Explore how to create engaging and useful teacher programs and resources that can be used at your site and online. Learn how to build connections with teacher audiences that will make them feel at home at your site, and how to design and execute multidisciplinary educator workshops of several different formats. Using examples on Biology and Environment, practice program planning skills on how to integrate STEM content into teacher programs at history-based sites. During the group activity session, participants will practice program planning skills to develop a STEM-based teacher program based on resources related to bats, bridge habitats, and the environment.

Webinar: Tuesday, June 15, 2:00 p.m. CT
Group Activity sessions: Thursday June 17, 2:00 p.m. CT and Friday, June 18, 10:00 a.m. CT

​Webinar sessions will be recorded. A Zoom link to the group activity sessions will be emailed to all webinar registrants each Wednesday.

Engaging STEM Topics Through Interactivity

Explore planning processes used to create high- or low-tech interactive components that incorporate STEM-based ideas into history exhibits. Using examples drawn from TxDOT's work on historic bridges in Texas, this workshop will discuss readily-available tools and techniques for both digital and tactile interactives, including low-cost solutions for creating and presenting interactive content to the public. During the group activity session, participants will practice writing learning and experience goals for an interactive, as well as creating a schedule for prototyping and development.

Webinar: Tuesday, June 22, 2:00 p.m. CT
Group Activity Sessions: Thursday, June 24, 2:00 p.m. CT and Friday June 25, 10:00 a.m.

​Webinar sessions will be recorded. A Zoom link to the group activity sessions will be emailed to all webinar registrants each Wednesday.


 

Part 1

Writing About Science for a History Museum Audience
(When You're Not a Scientist)

Discover how interpretive writing techniques can be a powerful tool in making technical topics accessible to visitors of any age. Using examples from historical bridge building and renovation, this workshop discusses the importance of a multi-disciplinary approach to storytelling and gives concrete examples of how history-based sites can easily incorporate STEM into exhibits.


Workshop Materials:
Workshop Recording
Presentation Slides
Themes vs. Topics Handout
Historic Bridge and Road Specifications
NRHP Listed and Eligible Bridges of Texas

Discussion Group Materials:
New Technology for Building Bridges (3 minute video)
Transcript of New Technology for Building Bridges
Discussion Group Guidelines and Activity

TxDOT Resources on Bridges:
New Technology for Building Bridges (3 minute video)
Leading Innovation in Texas Bridge Design (3 minute video)
Pre-Stressed Concrete in Texas Bridge Construction (40 second video)
Neoprene Pads in Texas Bridge Construction (50 second video)
Bridges of Exceptional Length in Texas (1 minute video)
Across the Rio Grande: International Bridges (50 second video)
"Flying" Across Texas Bridges (50 second video)
Historic Iron Bridges of Denton County, Texas (school curriculum tied to TEKS)
History of a Hamilton County Truss Bridge (5 minute video)
The Stories Behind the Bridges (StoryMap)

If You Build It, They Will Come:
Incorporating STEM Topics into School Programs at History Museums

Learn how to create engaging educational activities for student audiences, and how these programs will benefit both the students and your site. Explore different programming types and interpretation techniques, and learn how to implement them both at your site and as outreach into the classroom. Using resources on Biology and Environment, discover program planning skills that can be applied at your own site to connect history with STEM to create well-rounded, multidisciplinary programs sought out by schools.

Workshop Materials:
Workshop Recording
Presentation Slides
TEKS Walkthrough (4 minute video)
Monarch Glider Activity

Discussion Group Materials:
School Program Planning Template
Monarch Migration TEKS
Perpetuating Pollinators (5 minute video)
Discussion Group Guidelines and Activity

TxDOT Resources on Biology and Environment:
Perpetuating Pollinators (5 minute video)
Texas Bats and Bridges (2 minute video)
Bats and Bridges (StoryMap)
TxDOT Wildflower Program (webpage, includes links to wildflower facts)
Designing a Butterfly Garden (PDF)
Monarch Butterfly Teacher Guide (PDF)
The Monarch Highway (PowerPoint)

Using Visual Storytelling to Add Science to History Exhibits

Explore impactful use of digital images and video as a tool to discuss STEM in history exhibits. Learn how to use graphics, images, and video as storytelling techniques to create meaningful digital content. Using examples from Texas transportation history, this webinar shares examples across multiple platforms and provides tools for participants to implement methods both onsite and online.


Workshop Materials:
Workshop Recording
Presentation Slides
Resource Handout

Discussion Group Materials:
Discussion Group Guidelines and Activity
The Development of Highways in Texas

TxDOT Resources on Transportation History:
Texas' Broadway of America: The Bankhead Highway Interpretive Plan (PDF)
Adventure and Agriculture: Texas Aviation Interpretive Plan (PDF)
Incorporating Transportation History into Exhibits (webinar)
Icons of a Century: Historic Texas Gas Stations (StoryMap)
History Texas Highways (webpage)


 

Meet the Instructors

Kate Betz is the Deputy Director of Interpretation at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, where she leads the Museum's education, exhibitions departments, web, and digital media departments, seeking to tell the continually unfolding story of Texas through meaningful educational experiences. Serving more than 300,000 people annually, education programs and exhibitions have at their core the desire to share unique experiences with a diversity of people in an environment that encourages life-long learning and development. In addition to programming, Kate also ensures coordination of interpretive messaging, manages the museum's ongoing evaluation efforts and leads the team responsible for the Museum's social media channels. Prior to coming to the Bullock in 2009, Kate managed public programming at The Farmers’ Museum and the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

Kaitlin Lloyd-Leva is the Head of School Programs at The Bullock Texas State History Museum, where she works to bring the Story of Texas to life for students and teachers, both at the Museum and in their classrooms. She creates on-site experiences for students and provides professional development to teachers that encourages the study of multiple viewpoints and a multi-disciplinary approach to teaching at the Museum and in the classroom. She also manages the distance learning programs which bring the Museum into the classroom regardless of where students live. Prior to coming to the Bullock in 2013, Kaitlin managed the traveling trunk program as the Distance Learning Coordinator at the North Carolina Museum of History. She has a B.A. in History from Texas Christian University and an M.A. in Public History and Museum Studies from North Carolina State University.

Evan Windham is the Senior Digital Producer at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, where she develops and supports digital projects through design, content creation, and evaluation. Evan oversees user experience and interaction for exhibition technologies and designs meaningful interactive environments to support museum programming and exhibitions. Evan also oversees institution website updates and works to provide engaging educational experiences across all of the Museum's online properties. She has a B.A. in Film Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an M.P.C. from Edith Cowan University.



Paving the Way for STEM in History Museums
 is a collaboration between the Texas Historical Commission, Texas Department of Transportation, and the Bullock Texas State History Museum.