The Bay Area Discovery Museum Announces the Award of an IMLS Grant in Support of Its Engineering-Lab-on-Wheels

Sausalito, CA – The Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) is pleased to announce that it has received a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support the museum’s mobile engineering lab, the Try It Truck.

The two-year grant supports the operation of the Try It Truck, BADM’s mobile engineering lab, which brings hands-on engineering programming to children throughout all nine Bay Area counties by visiting elementary schools, community centers, and libraries. The truck’s programming introduces children to the engineering design process through Next Generation Science Standard-aligned activities that appeal to children’s interests, and spark their curiosity to learn more. Through collaboration and experimentation, children use a variety of tools—everything from hand tools like hammers and pliers to high-tech tools like tablets and laser cutters—to design solutions to creative engineering challenges.

The idea for the Try It Truck stemmed from a partnership between BADM and the national network 100Kin10, which was created to train and retain 100,000 STEM teachers by the year 2021. As part of BADM’s fellowship with 100Kin10, the museum participated in a design challenge to identify creative solutions to prepare educators to share engineering with their students—a need identified by the Bay Area teachers tasked with this work. The Truck It Truck arose from this collaboration and was made possible by seed funding provided by 100Kin10. In February 2017 the truck began piloting engineering programming during visits with elementary schools; later that year, the truck began visiting libraries as well.

“It is part of our goals as an institution to share research-backed STEM programming with the broader Bay Area community,” said BADM CEO, Karyn Flynn. “We recognize that not everyone is able to engage with us by visiting the museum, and so are dedicated to finding ways that we can bring the museum to them. To this end, the Try It Truck has become part of our identity as an institution. It represents a unique opportunity for us to take the museum’s on-site STEM programming to an off-site audience.”

As it begins its second year of operation, the Try It Truck will continue to be an important way that BADM ensures all children have access to the same quality early learning experiences. We are committed that at least 50 percent of the schools the Try It Truck serves are Title I schools who receive need-based scholarships, and to continuing to provide scholarships to libraries and community centers serving low-income families throughout the Bay Area. Funding from IMLS—as well as additional support from the greater philanthropic community—will allow us to uphold this commitment and bring truck programming to more than 21,600 children throughout the Bay Area over the next two years.

When children participate in the Try It Truck’s programming, it is an opportunity for them to see themselves as an engineer, solving real-world problems with creative design solutions and engaging with the tools and technologies that will shape their futures. We are grateful for the generous support of IMLS, and are excited to see the evolution of the Try It Truck over the next two years and beyond.

About the Bay Area Discovery Museum 
The Bay Area Discovery Museum is a children’s museum in Sausalito, that applies the latest research to develop early learning experiences that inspire and build creative problem-solving skills in children, transforming the way they learn and the way they contribute to the world. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the museum provides STEM-focused, inquiry-driven experiences that develop creativity and conceptual thinking, critical components of problem solving.

###