OMA Award Spotlight - COSI

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 2020 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 2020 award winners! 

Today, we'll be featuring our winner for the 2020 award for Best Community Partnership over $500,000.

COSI - 2020 Learning Lunchbox Distance Learning Initiative

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced museums to close their physical doors, museums across the state – including COSI – looked for ways to deliver on their mission at a time when the public couldn’t visit their buildings.

In response, COSI created not only a digital portal for science engagement called COSI Connects, but an entirely new physical means of connecting the public to hands-on science: the COSI Learning Lunchbox. COSI recognized that digital tools were not enough to serve youth impacted by school closure who were struggling because of the “digital divide,” and created these hands-on STEM kits to serve those who do not have access to digital infrastructure and resources.

The Learning Lunchboxes are filled with five activities targeted for grades K-8 and spotlight fun science themes, including water, nature, space, dinosaurs, and more. To assist educators and caregivers, the Learning Lunchbox content is tied to Next Generation Science Standards, plus specific state of Ohio learning standards.

To ensure these kits were reaching those most vulnerable during the pandemic, COSI planned distribution across Ohio alongside meal providers and foodbanks in a socially distant manner at no cost to participation families. At the time of award submission, over 18,000 Learning Lunchboxes have been assembled with over 11,000 distributed.

External partners have been involved in every step of the initiative, including local, state, federal, museum, and private partners. As of submission date, over forty partners have teamed up with COSI to implement Learning Lunchbox distribution, content creation, and funding, along with a growing number of other partners as the project expands into 2021.

As one reviewer noted, “the quick, herculean efforts of organizing all of those community partnerships is astonishing, and showcase how successful a cardboard ‘lunchbox’ can be with providing and promoting hands-on education for all.”

Did your museum have an innovative and impactful collaboration during the 2021 season? Be sure to nominate it for the 2021 award for Best ! Learn more here.


The Team from COSI Accepts the Award During the OMA 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony

One of the fun features of OMA's 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony was being able to recognize our honorees "accepting" their award via video message. See below for the COSI's award acceptance video.

COSI OMA 2020 Award Acceptance Video

Support OMA with your
tax-deductible donation!

A contribution to the Ohio Museums Association will help us continue to provide important programs and services to Ohio’s Museums.