About Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
Founded in 1944, OMSI is an educational and social community hub for people of all ages. A 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization with over 219,000 square feet of exhibits, educational programs, and experiences, OMSI makes science exciting and relevant by inviting visitors to explore, invent, problem-solve, and think creatively. OMSI programming reaches nearly one million people from every county in Oregon, as well as throughout the region, the country, and the world.
How does your organization promote/use brain science with children birth through 5 years of age?:
OMSI is committed to quality, research-based learning experiences for all ages. Within our Early Childhood Education areas, we provide developmentally appropriate, play-based experiences that support healthy cognitive, physical, and emotional development from zero to six. We also commit to providing a unique science-based experience for parents eager to learn more about their children’s development through interactions with professional staff and working scientists.
Can you discuss a specific program/event you do that promotes brain science?:
Our Living Laboratory® program connects our research partners from Lewis & Clark College with museum visitors. Through participation in active research studies, families can learn about current topics and methods in child development research, and discuss these ideas with local working scientists. Some ideas being investigated by our researchers include impulse control around food choices, the intersection of creativity and technology, and social interactions in infants. Please inquire for the current research schedule.
Featured Exhibit Hall
The 7,000-square-foot featured exhibit gallery features national touring exhibits for temporary engagements, including OMSI-produced traveling exhibits before they hit the road. Past exhibitions include the world premiere of “The International Exhibition on Sherlock Holmes,” “Body Worlds,” and “Dinosaurs Unearthed.” The current featured exhibition is “Journey to Space,” which will be followed by the LEGO-themed, “Art of the Brick” in February 2017.
Early Childhood Education (“Science Playground”)
This 7,000-square-foot colorful and vibrant early childhood education area (for infants to kids up to age 6) includes a water area, a sand pit, nature play, an infant area, and a discovery lab, all of which foster hands-on play to build motor skills and drive development.
Experiment with physical science and technology in this historic hall named for the large turbine generator that serves as its focal point. The Turbine Hall is also home to the Vernier Design Lab, the first “wet” chemistry lab in the United States, a physics lab, a holography lab, the “Inventors Ball Room,” robots, water tables, the famous earthquake house, etc.
This hall focuses on the characteristics of Planet Earth such as geology and tectonics, weather and climate and their inter-relationships with life, both past and present. It features the Watershed Lab, Paleontology Lab, and “Science On A Sphere,” a six-foot suspended sphere that uses computers and video projectors to display dynamic animated images of the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, animal migration patterns, global warming trends, hurricane paths, as well as the surface of the Sun, Mars, Moon and more.
Life Science Hall
Here, visitors learn about the complex systems within their own bodies. They can explore human growth and development with fun exhibits including a giant ear and auditory canal and a life-sized transparent woman whose organs light-up. The Life Science Hall also houses the Life Science Lab where visitors can touch and hold a variety of animals and insects while learning about these animals’ amazing adaptations.
Camps and Classes
In addition to great exhibits, OMSI also runs the largest museum-based outdoor science education program in the country! For over 60 years, OMSI has been offering camps and classes throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest for youth as well as families and adults. Camp programming is based out of two locations, Hancock Field Station located in Fossil, OR, and the brand-new Coastal Discovery Center in Newport, OR. Programs are offered for youth grades 2-12, as well as adults and families, and generally last one week. Camps are science-oriented with hands-on activities designed to be active, fun and educational. Campers can sign up to dig for dinosaur fossils, hike across mountains, discover Pacific Ocean, raft whitewater rapids, try their hand at documentary filmmaking, and more. And kids don’t get to have all the fun! Families are invited to participate in “family camp” over Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends at both Hancock Field Station and the Coastal Discovery Center.
OMSI classes offer the widest variety of science topics and programs in the Northwest. Students aged 4-14 can take part in sequential, in-depth study in one or more of their favorite fields of science including astronomy, robotics, coding, chemistry, engineering and more. In OMSI Science classes, young scientists investigate scientific phenomena using a hands-on approach. They design and create their own inventions and experiments, interpret data, control variables, present conclusions and develop new thinking strategies while they gain lifelong learning skills and attitudes.