The Children’s Museum of Houston (CMH) and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) collaborated to create and travel a museum exhibit on children’s environmental health for a target audience of children (ages 5–10), their parents, caregivers, and teachers. My Home Planet Earth (MHPE) is based on the NIH-funded interdisciplinary My Health My World educational program developed at BCM and disseminated nationally through Carolina Biological Supply.
The aims of the project are to:
- Expand understanding by children (ages 5–10) and their caregivers of the health consequences of human induced changes in the environment. and increase their abilities to make healthful decisions through informal self-directed activities in a museum setting;
- Encourage linkages between formal and informal education settings by providing a model for connecting classroom-based curricula to museum-based exhibits and informal learning programs based on the My Health My World educational materials, and the My Home Planet Earth exhibit and support programs;
- Help parents provide additional environmental health-related informal learning experiences for their children and promote awareness of science and health careers; and
- Partner scientists and educators in the creation of a model environmental health sciences exhibit and support program for the field of family-centered informal learning. The exhibit and support programs are in the process of touring 18 youth museums science centers and health museums over six years of travel (2002–2008). An estimated 1.5 million visitors will participate in the project by the end of the tour in 2008.
In addition to these visitors, 1,000 families will participate in MHPE Family Learning Events; 9,000 teachers will be introduced to the My Health My World curriculum—360 of whom will participate in a day-long MHMW workshop; 36 scientists will partner with host museums to enhance the learning and community impact of the project; and 180,000 children will visit the exhibit during a school field experience.