OMA Award Spotlight - Buckeye Imagination Museum

Recognizing excellence in Ohio museums during Arts and Humanities Month

To help celebrate October as Arts and Humanities Month, and to kick-off the call for nominations for this year's OMA awards, we'll be highlighting our 2021 OMA Award of Achievement winners throughout the month with our OMA Award Spotlight. We are featuring these Award Winner Spotlights during Arts and Humanities Month to help champion the amazing projects, programs and professionals that make Ohio's museum community strong.

The Awards of Achievement are presented to reflect the outstanding quality and caliber of work by Ohio museums and their professionals in two categories: Institutional Achievement Awards and Individual Achievement Awards.

Nominations for these awards are incredibly detailed. This in-depth process helps to illustrate how these institutions and individuals have gone “above and beyond” the normal call of duty to support their institution, serve their public and advance the cause of the museum community.

Each year, the review panel is overwhelmed by the outstanding projects, innovative programming and dedication to our field as exhibited in each of the institutional and individual nominations. Congratulations again to each of our 2021 award winners! 

Today, we'll be featuring our winner for the 2021 award for Best Education and Outreach under $500,000.

Buckeye Imagination Museum -Traveling Exhibits

The Buckeye Imagination Museum knows that not all children have access to places like children’s museums in their home life, which means not all children have access to the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual benefits of play, exploration and learning that children’s museums provide.

That idea of accessibility and the need to serve the public and meet the children where they are led to the launch of Buckeye Imagination Museum's Traveling Exhibits. These portable versions of the museum’s in-facility hands-on, imagination play-based exhibits are ideal for children ages 4-8, and are available on loan to schools, libraries, and daycares completely free of charge.

The Traveling Exhibits can be flexibly arranged in any 50 sq. ft. area, and can be borrowed for 4-12 weeks. The exhibits are designed as open-ended and self-directed, allowing children to build self-confidence and independence, develop their imaginations, and learn critical problem-solving skills. And, each exhibit includes specially curated books matching each exhibit’s theme to promote literacy.

The Buckeye Imagination Museum's first collection of Traveling Exhibits includes a Veterinary Hospital, Pizza Parlor, Train Tables, Dentist, Baby Doctor, and Dollhouses, with plans to expand the collection in the future – including a new Animal Farm exhibit for 2022 with Malabar Farm State Park.

The program was jumpstarted by a generous grant from The Shelby Foundation, which believed in the goals of the exhibits to 

address the need for safe, accessible child development activities and play opportunities in the local community. As one reviewer noted, “Showing true service to their community, the traveling exhibits are a perfect example of the importance of accessibility being a key factor in future educational programming.”

Did your museum have an innovative and impactful education or outreach program during the 2022 season? Be sure to nominate it for the 2022 award for Best Education and Outreach! Learn more here. 

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