Digital Learning in the Indiana State Museum and the State Library Education Center

21 Feb

When creating an exhibit in a museum or other entity, more and more organizations are turning to digital components as a teaching device rather than just relying on the material objects and carefully placed panels. Not only does using digital aspects heighten the educational experience, if done correctly, they can be the stand-out in the whole exhibit. However, there can be some problems that arise when using digital technology, especially in a place where the public will be in constant contact with the devices. Both the Indiana State Museum, and the new, Education Center located at the Indiana State Library have interesting digital aspects that enhance the experience for visitors and enhance the quality of the exhibit overall.

The Indiana State Museum is currently undergoing a major turn-around of all their exhibits, and is expected to be done by the fall of 2018. While during my visit only one of those sections was done, the museum is still a great place to visit and as a first time visitor, I really enjoyed myself. The digital aspects in the State Museum range from the very simple to a state of the art, one-of-a-kind digital experience. The best digital thing that I saw at the museum was located in an exhibit dedicated to the lives of Hoosiers when Indiana became a state in 1816. The set up was, a full size covered wagon was placed in the entrance to the exhibit, and where the driver would sit to steer the horses, was a touch-screen that was transparent so the visitor could see all the way to the back of the wagon. The task was simple, pack enough items that would get you safely from Kentucky to the new state of Indiana. While touring with a member of the Education department, I learned that this exhibit is one of the only ones of its kind. The online digital aspect of the State Museum is like any other website for a museum you could think of. They have the very modern scrolling page like many other organizations are utilizing, but they do have an easy to use site, unlike that of my next site, the Education Center.

The Statehouse Education Center, which is located at the Indiana State Library, just recently opened as a project that was a part of the 2016 Bicentennial. Designed to cover not only the history of the Indiana State House, but also cover Indiana civics. Most of the exhibits in the Education Center are digital, with only four display cases for artifacts. One of the standout exhibits at the Education Center is a scale model of the Statehouse with several touch screens that go on a virtual tour of the building. Another exhibit at the Education Center goes through how all three branches of government are involved with how a bill becomes a law. This is a very interactive exhibit, especially for children, and it is a very well done digital exhibit. The digital aspect of the Education Center really changes the small space in the State Library. The website for the education center is in the same format as all of the other state websites in Indiana. However, the website, while not that pretty, gives a lot of information on the center.

 

 

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