Students at schools in Benton and Washington counties will be able to attend field trips at the Scott Family Amazeum in Bentonville at no charge for the next three years, thanks to a more than $1 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, the Amazeum announced Thursday (Dec. 8).
The Amazeum calls school visits “Unfield Trips.”
“We’re a platform for learning for all of our guests, members and community,” Amazeum Executive Director Sam Dean said, according to a press release. “An ‘Unfield Trip’ here isn’t the end of the experience. It is the spark, whether for learning at home or igniting a lifelong interest, maybe even a career. The impact of an ‘Unfield Trip’ for a student may, in fact, affect the rest of his or her life.”
The Walmart Foundation paid for student field trips to the Amazeum before, during its first year after opening, between October 2015 and May 2016, according to the press release. The grant resulted in 25,310 visitors from 263 school visits.
As a part of their visit, students write postcards about their experience at the Amazeum. Many students wrote that they were inspired to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, art and math.
“The wonder and curiosity we see on display here is amazing and might not be possible without their school trip,” Dean said.
An Amazeum trip inspired a lesson plan for students from The New School in Fayetteville, where they brainstormed ideas for exhibits and participated in a mind-mapping exercise. Students at Willowbrook Elementary were inspired by the Homestead Cabin and Farm to learn about the concept of community and built a model community in their classroom, according to the press release.
“We are honored to be a partner with the Scott Family Amazeum,” Erin Hogue, senior manager of Northwest Arkansas giving at the Walmart Foundation, said in the press release. “The mission of the Walmart Foundation is to create opportunities for people to live better. That is what the Amazeum is doing every day with Unfield Trips and collaborating with educators.”
This year, the Hershey’s Lab and 3M Tinkering Hub have been added to the field trip experience.
Walmart Foundation support also has allowed the Amazeum to develop a breadth of resources for teachers to use and to share with students and parents. Materials are also being translated into Spanish, Hmong and Marshallese to encourage more inclusiveness during Amazeum trips.