Bringing the Mayborn Museum Complex discovery boxes into the 21st century.
Museums have realized the sustaining benefits of school partnerships over the last fifty years and are better meeting the needs of teachers through outreach. This project focuses on one successful outreach program employed at the Mayborn Museum Complex in Waco, TX called Discovery Boxes. Discovery Boxes are thematic kits containing related 3-D objects, media, books and lessons to aid teachers in science and social studies. This project consisted of redesigning elements of selected boxes based on evaluation from area classroom teachers, in order to increase their accessibility and effectiveness. In order to evaluate these boxes, interviews were conducted with six elementary school teachers who had previously used the Discovery Boxes. The feedback provided from these teachers guided the redesigning of the boxes; and the same teachers then used the redesigned boxes in their classrooms. The teachers evaluated the redesigned boxes and made further recommendations. This project also includes a brief literature review of museum-school partnerships and outreach throughout history and the specific development of Discovery Boxes at the Mayborn Museum Complex. The results of the project provide recommendations to staff at the Mayborn Museum Complex for the continuation of redesigning the remaining Discovery Boxes. The process and recommendations can also be used as a model by other museums with similar outreach programs.