Preparing People For the Future

Why OMSI is Renovating, Updating and Restructuring the Turbine Hall [Part 3 of 4]

With a strong focus on preparing people for the future, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is working to enrich visitors’ experiences while responding to the educational needs of the community. The organization understands how critical Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) skills are for the future workforce, and is part of an educational ecosystem delivering those skills and training.

“The world is changing, especially the way people get information and the speed at which they get it. We are constantly thinking about the methods we use to engage people,” said Nancy Stueber, president and CEO of OMSI. “OMSI is one piece in a much larger learning ecosystem, and we want to ensure we bring in as many different tools and partners as we can to cultivate this ecosystem.”

Stueber is a strong advocate for high-quality STEAM education and its essential role in both Oregon’s economy and the health of its communities. She believes future success depends on citizens equipped to understand complex systems and solve problems using critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration.

“One of the core aspects of OMSI’s mission is to advocate for informed action. My hope is that the new design challenges our team has developed through our center for innovation will offer visitors a glimpse of their part in a bigger system, and empower them to feel like they can participate and have an impact in the world around them,” said Stueber.

The Innovation Stations – the new design experiences to which Stueber refers – have been thoughtfully created to build STEAM skills, bolster young visitors’ confidence and enable them to see themselves successful in STEAM subject matter. Vernier Software & Technology, another of OMSI’s key partners, is highly focused on creating a community of independent and informed thinkers – both of which are good for society now and in the future.

“Oregon needs citizens who understand science,” said David Vernier, founder and co-president of Vernier Software & Technology. “Many of the best jobs in the future are going to be in STEAM and we want Oregon kids to have a good shot at those jobs.” 

According to Vernier, the way people work is changing, especially in STEAM-related fields. The programming and educational experiences offered in the Turbine Hall will promote collaborative problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity and innovation, all of which are important for 21st century workers.

OMSI’s partner institution Autodesk plays a critical role in the STEAM career pipeline. 

“We have a shared mission with OMSI to develop the next generation of innovators,” said Greg Fallon, vice president, strategy & marketing – design & manufacturing at Autodesk. “We recognize it can be challenging for educators to keep up with the incredibly rapid pace of change in technology. Places like OMSI provide a bridge for people of all backgrounds to explore and gain a better understanding of the skills they’ll need to thrive in this new economy. When kids get a taste for design and technology, they feel inspired to participate and have the confidence to succeed.”

Fallon said diversity of experience and thought is also vital to innovative design and the future of technology. He believes connecting with communities and educational institutions like OMSI will help prepare tomorrow’s generation to think creatively, feel comfortable with technology, and design solutions with sustainable outcomes in mind. 

Read more about the exciting transformation taking place at OMSI:
•    [Part 1] OMSI Makes STEAM Learning Accessible and Fun: STEAM is Pouring Out of a Place that Used to Spout Steam
•    [Part 2] Connecting People to STEAM: OMSI’s Turbine Hall Gets a New Look and Updated Programming
•    [Part 4] The Global Goal: How Compelling Narrative is an Effective Way to Engage People With STEAM