American Museum of Natural History educates the educators
The American Museum of Natural History is an incredible place to visit – it’s one of the largest museums in the world, occupying 2 million square feet. But it’s a lot more than a museum. It’s a national center for learning and research about the natural world. It has one mission statement: ‘To discover, interpret, and disseminate—through scientific research and education—knowledge about human cultures, the natural world, and the universe’. A field trip to the Museum on New York’s Central Park West & 79th Street is pretty much de rigueur for the average American schoolchild at some point in their passage through the education system.
The AMNH’s education offer helps to keep America’s classrooms humming. It caters for all ages from pre-K to postgraduate, as well as for people who are following their own interests outside the education system. But it is also a global center for learning; the fact that the Museum’s website is in over 70 languages is a testament to its scope, reach and ambition.
Part of this project is to teach the teachers, sending them away back to their schools buzzing with knowledge and enthusiasm for the natural sciences. AMNH’s Master of Arts in Teaching is the first urban teacher residency program offered by a museum. The 15-month program comes with a stipend and ongoing professional support after graduation. It is open to graduates in Earth science or a related discipline (Geology, Meteorology, Oceanography, or Space Science, or a Bachelor’s in Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science, or Biology.
Developed and delivered in the context of a natural history museum, the program integrates academic theory and learning with application in a school setting, with a specialization in Earth Science for grades 7-12. Addressing a critical shortage of science teachers in the New York metropolitan area, the program aims to help teachers to change lives by teaching science.