When Computer Museum of America reopened in June, we focused on the best way to meet the needs of our audience during this unprecedented time. We improved safety measures throughout the space but we quickly learned there were more needs to consider.
We spoke with parents who, after being home with their children for many weeks, and already aware that summer camp options were limited, told us they wanted a safe, educational, and fun activity to do with their kids. We quickly implemented what became known as Tech Tales: Storytime for Young Explorers.
Some of the books read these last few weeks include: Hidden Figures, What Do You Do With a Problem, One Giant Leap, and Albert Einstein to name only a few. The children sat on the floor surface of the moon in our Apollo 11 exhibit, in front of the Byte magazine cover wall, and in the activity rotunda. They participated in activities together (and took more home), met Aibo (our artificial intelligence dog), and ventured throughout the museum to find items on a scavenger hunt.
One of the most exciting days was when Shanda McCloskey, author and illustrator of T-Bone the Drone joined us. She read her book with gusto, outlined step-by-step instructions how to draw a drone (we met some budding artists), and topped it all off with a drone demonstration. The children even had a chance to play with a few hands-free hovercrafts provided by CMoA.
Another Friday, mother and daughter engineers Kavita and Tara Chavda read about female engineers! The books Grace Hopper, Queen of Computer Code and Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life tell the story of their innovations that have left a lasting legacy on the technology we use today.
Summer of 2020 will be remembered for being like no other but for a few minutes on a few Fridays, children sat six feet apart, wearing masks, and experienced a normal summer activity – storytime. We have enjoyed being able to bring such a simple pleasure to our guests and already look forward to bringing it back next summer (minus distancing and masks – please).