A team from the Museum of Science recently had the opportunity to visit the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington, for two whole days of tours, demonstrations, conversations, and brainstorming. It was a truly eye-opening experience that will help us to advance our thinking about new engineering, computer science, and technology exhibits at the Museum.
The Museum’s exhibit staff is currently in the early stages of planning for the transformation of the Blue Wing, our largest exhibition space. Our goal is to create a state-of-the-art, integrated experience that excites, empowers, and engages everyone to be the critical thinkers needed to shape our technological future. To do this, our exhibits will help visitors to practice the habits of mind that allow them to think like engineers, scientists, computer scientists, and innovators.
Our trip to Redmond, which was facilitated by our partners at Microsoft’s New England Research and Development Center, was an amazing chance for our team to learn more about the direction and potential evolution of technology in the coming years, find out how Microsoft engineers and designers think about their work and solve problems, and also learn about specific technologies that we could incorporate into our exhibits to create incredible, one-of-a-kind experiences for our visitors.
The visit had many highlights. We received a demonstration of the HoloLens, a wearable technology on the cutting edge of augmented reality and virtual reality, with many potential applications in commerce, education, and entertainment. Our tour of Microsoft’s Envisioning Center was an amazing look into the near future in which cloud-based artificial intelligence helps us to be more productive and to integrate technology more seamlessly into our lives.
We ended our visit with an incredibly productive brainstorming session with Microsoft staff. After two jam-packed days full of information and conversation, we quickly filled a wall-length whiteboard with ideas that we could turn into real exhibit components at the Museum. The visit clearly had our team excited and inspired about the potential to create amazing new experiences at the Museum to facilitate learning about science and technology.
The trip also reinforced the incredibly close alignment between Microsoft and the Museum’s values and mission. Everyone we talked with at Microsoft quickly understood what the Museum is trying to achieve, and why it is such an important goal. We have no doubt that we will be able to achieve great things working together.