Does Digital Media Have a Place in Hands-On Science Learning Space?

I reached out to Rebecca Bray, the chief of experience development at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., to learn about how the museum developed and now runs its innovative Q?rius (pronounced “curious”) space, opened in 2013 as an interactive and educational lab with microscopes, touch screens, interactive activities and a “collection zone,” housing over 6,000 different specimens and artifacts visitors can handle.

In our conversation below, we explore their design process, the role of youth learners, the pros and cons of integrating digital media into a hands-on learning space, and more.

Welcome to DML Central, Rebecca. So, how do you describe Q?rius?

Q?rius is a space, an interactive space, in the museum. We always said that it’s not an exhibit, right? It’s really an interactive learning space, designed mainly for 10- to 18-year-olds and their loved ones.

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