Feature Story: The Boston Museum of Science
What do oversized models of molecules, science teacher sabbaticals, and bread-making have in common? They've all played some part in Genzyme's longstanding partnership with Boston's Museum of Science. Together, we develop innovative and exciting ways to promote life sciences learning and inspire museum visitors, teachers, and students.
The results of our joint efforts have been many and varied, from exhibits that put biology and biotechnology into a meaningful context, to hands-on educational programs. For instance, oversized molecular models were designed and created by Museum staff and Genzyme employees working hand-in-hand for the "Human Body Connection," an exhibit on the inner workings of the body. The Genzyme – Museum of Science Teacher Sabbatical Program lets local teachers step out of the classroom and immerse themselves in the Museum environment for five days of intensive learning. And bread-making? It was part of a workshop teaching biotechnology principles using yeast as a research biosystem.
We are grateful...for the opportunity to collaborate with Genzyme scientists to develop compelling programs and exhibits on the science and technology of human life.”
Although a historical institution founded in 1830, the Museum of Science's vision is firmly forward-looking – making it an excellent match for Genzyme's philanthropic and educational goals. We started working together in the early 1990s and have funded a variety of Museum programs over the years.
The partnership rose to a new level in 2006 with the largest corporate philanthropic gift ever received by the Museum or contributed by Genzyme: $2 million distributed over five years to establish the Genzyme Biotechnology Education Initiative, which funds a variety of programs. In 2010 we distributed $400,000 under this initiative, as well as approximately $55,000 to support several other Museum projects.
But our relationship is based on far more than financial support. Genzyme employees speak at Museum events, take Museum employees on tours of our facilities to provide an industry perspective, and contribute volunteer time, industry knowledge, and hands-on skills, working side-by-side with Museum staff toward our shared goals.
Science education has long been a priority for Genzyme. Outreach to science teachers has been a major focus of our work with the Museum, and we've jointly developed a variety of professional development programs.
Since 1997 Genzyme has funded the Teacher Sabbatical Program, which helps elementary and middle-school educators from the surrounding communities strengthen their understanding of science, technology, and engineering and learn new teaching approaches. The "Forces That Change Us" lecture series brings together expert speakers, Genzyme employees, and local teachers to discuss key biology topics and teaching strategies. Other activities have included curriculum and material development and informal discussion groups. By creating opportunities for teachers to experience the latest biotech tools, interact with industry professionals, and connect with their peers, we hope to support them in creating the next generation of scientists.
Amazing! I taught science for the first year this year, and after the sabbatical I felt as if I finally understood why I am a science teacher. It ignited my passion for science, which therefore helped me ignite and engage my students.”
Learn more at the Museum of Science website