When the world is facing a pandemic, and community needs have abruptly changed, museums have needed to quickly adapt to continue serving their communities. The Hutchings Museum in Lehi has long been an educational resource, facilitating field trips and outreach programs to thousands of school children each year. With a grant from Utah County, the Hutchings Museum staff have embraced the task of adapting to changes in education, to continue to provide necessary resources to teachers and students across the state.
“Here at the Hutchings Museum, we have taken on the challenge of how we can help teachers, students, and parents. With that goal in mind, we are working with Alpine School District in creating and recording online science classes and educational resources,” said Daniella Larsen, Hutchings Museum Executive Director.
The Hutchings Museum has been awarded a $25,000 grant from Utah County C.A.R.E.S., an economic relief fund created to assist businesses and non-profits during the coronavirus pandemic. Larsen said, “The museum was forced to close from March to July, and truly our goal at the museum is not about getting people to come in to see our stuff. This grant has allowed us to reimagine how we can carry out our mission of cultivating exploration, a love of nature, and curiosity in the community. We are excited to be working with the Alpine School District in creating this online resource that will continue to help teachers and students.” The curriculum will be designed for all students in kindergarten through high school.
The Hutchings Museum’s online educational resources will include video modules with quizzes, outdoor hands-on activities, ways to use technology in science and conservation, and local conservation and research projects. Virtual field trips using Google Cardboard will be offered along with a learning management system where teachers can monitor student progress and completion of assignments and quizzes. A 3-D virtual walkthrough of the museum is a highlight of the program as well.
This program’s cost to the museum, including necessary resources and equipment, is around $50,000. By combining grant money and operational funds supplied annually by the City of Lehi, the Hutchings Museum will provide all of these resources free for Utah County educators and students.
The museum is currently open to visitors by appointment. Available online resources, including a virtual tour of the museum, can be found by visiting the museum website at johnhutchingsmuseum.org.