As President of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, I get to see first-hand how every day we help make a difference by simply fulfilling the museum’s mission to honor, educate and inspire.
As a former WWII aircraft carrier now located in New York City, the Museum is an educational platform from which science, engineering, history and social studies are explored. Innovative programming designed and delivered by the Museum’s Education Department is at the heart of the Intrepid Museum’s aspiration to make a difference. We encourage learning that is engaging and accessible for visitors of all needs and abilities to provide an educational foundation for our future generations. For example, building on the Museum’s content we explain things like how a 40,000 ton aircraft carrier floats, how a jet engine works, and how to send humans into space. Our programs focus on skills, content, and discussion along with guest speakers and mentors, community based projects, and hands on investigations of artifacts and aircraft.
Access to Intrepid and our teaching tools are paramount, and we have recognized the need to broaden our audiences and community reach beyond the steel walls of the aircraft carrier that the Museum calls home. In 2012, we will continue to welcome school groups regularly and bring our programs to diverse audiences, including students confined to hospitals and living in homeless shelters. Through our distance learning programs, we will deliver Intrepid’s educational message to students world-wide via video conference technology. And, the Museum’s Access Initiative offers programs for visitors and students affected by physical (blind, low vision, deaf, hard of hearing, mobility) disabilities, and developmental and emotional disabilities, including autism. I am so proud of our ongoing efforts to secure government and private funds to underwrite these programs.
Our annual intensive summer camp programs include Camp G.O.A.L.S. for Girls (Greater Opportunities for Science and Leadership) now preparing for its fourth summer in 2012. This free six-week camp is generously supported by the Motorola Solutions Foundation for girls entering the 8th and 9th grades in New York City Public Schools. Camp G.O.A.L.S. uses the science behind the Intrepid as a platform from which to provide nurturing, positive experiences in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) studies so the girls develop self-confidence and the belief that they have a future in any STEM field they choose. This signature program helps develop the next generation of female leaders providing opportunities for girls at a critical high school age to be empowered, and meet female scientists and engineers as mentors.
As we look to the New Year, we are excited to welcome Enterprise (OV-101), the first Space Shuttle Orbiter to its new home at Intrepid this summer. Not only are we honored to help perpetuate the legacy of one of our country’s greatest technological achievements, but we will inspire our youth to be inquisitive, embrace STEM principles, and of course to think big and believe anything is possible.