History - Education & Arts Roundtable | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

". . . the Roundtable is different from what is happening in education right now--standards, a list of rules and protocols, and must-dos.  It's about finding the interrelatedness of [arts organizations, a school, and the Museum] and how each one can contribute to the other."

Lena Garcia, District Teacher, Lennox SD

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What's New?

Interplay: Inspiring Wonder, Discovery, and Learning Through Interdisciplinary Museum Community Partnerships

Learn about the origins of the Roundtable program and explore case studies of community partnerships in this new 124-page Museum publication.

Hard copies of Interplay are now available from the Museum Store, or download PDF of full publication here. (3.5MB)

Did You Know?

The Roundtable is a national award-winning education program!

In winning AAM’s 2009 EdCom Award, the Roundtable is recognized by the American Association of Museums as providing exemplary creativity and innovation in museum education programming.



History of the Education & Arts Roundtable

The Start of a "Think Tank"

In 2002, the Natural History Museum developed a new strategic plan, expanding its focus from research and collecting to more active engagement with the community. The Museum’s new mission statement sought “to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds.” In response to this new vision, the Education Department formed a “think tank” of Museum staff and community members — artists and educators — to discuss not only how the community could access Museum information, but how they could also be actively engaged with Museum content.  In 2005, this "think tank" became the Brain and Heart Trust (known today as the Education & Arts Roundtable) — a dedicated group of community-minded thinkers with strong beliefs in creative collaborations.

At the beginning, Roundtable members were asked what would happen if they were given project stipends, materials, transportation for students, time, thinking space and ongoing member encouragement — that is, what sorts of student learning opportunities would emerge when unencumbered by practical needs and logistics? The results of this exploration led to a wide range of arts-integrated, interdisciplinary projects, in which students were able to deeply engage with the Museum’s exhibits and collections, and explore content in uniquely challenging and creative ways.  A dedicated space at the Museum, called Inter/Act, became a place where students showcased their findings and made their learning visible to the community.

The Roundtable Today

The Roundtable today is an award-winning education program that continues to be a vibrant collective supporting creative interdisciplinary learning — a place where science and art meet and reinforce each other — with the Museum and the community as collaborators and partners in meaning-making for students of all ages.