Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum creates new learning environment for community

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 6:24 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) -The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (PPHM) opens a new STEAM Lab learning facility.

STEAM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.

The purpose of the lab is to provide an engaging and interactive learning environment for students of all grades and ages.

Stephanie Price, PPHM Marketing Director, is excited about the new space and hopes it will invite students from across the region.

“Our STEAM lab is going to be full of kids from the Texas Panhandle and all around, learning about these subjects and how the museum can tie into their daily lives,” says Price.

The new Lab is one of three new spaces being renovated inside the PPHM.

For the past three years the PPHM has worked on better educating students on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

Heather Friemel, Director of Finance and Business has helped in the process of bringing the STEAM Lab to life.

“Three years ago, when we started talking about the STEAM Lab, we really needed a place for kids to get messy and interact with things and when you’re walking through a gallery that can be hard to do, in order to meet the needs of the community and what we saw that kids needed to do to have a really all-encompassing learning experience, we decided that we needed to implement a space that allows them to dig into a fun interactive learning experience,” says Friemel.

“The museum is not just a place full of things, it’s a way to impact our community, we want to be a community gathering space where kids see an object and can go create that object themselves or learn about how things worked in the past and all the way up till now, and they can chart the future; this is a way for us to bridge the gap between the past and the future through this generation of kids who will go and change our community,” says Price.

The STEAM Lab will be open for school bookings through May 2022, and in the summer, it will be open for public days where the community will be able to experience different experiments and lessons.

Price says ‚”Right now we’re focused on bringing our schools in and we want to see them and we’re so excited to have them be a part of this, and then in the summer we can’t wait to welcome the public.”

The Lab will also function as a space to prepare local schools for TEK education standards.

Future TEKS with projects include:

  • Designing roller coasters - (Force, Motion, and Energy: 5.6D, 3.6B)
  • Plant water filtration experiments- (Organisms and Environments: 3.9A, 3.10C)
  • Heating and cooling experiments - (Matter and Energy: 1.5B)

The PPHM believes this will allow students to meet their learning objectives and have fun while doing so.

Friemel says her favorite part of the Lab is yet to come, “It’s the kids getting in here and interacting and learning with our educators and having a fun time and seeing a windmill and coming in here and building it and seeing the mechanics and engineering behind some of those concepts I think that is going to be the most exciting part.”

The PPHM partnered with West Texas A&M University on the construction of the Lab.

“We are very thankful for West Texas A&M, we had one of their senior engineering classes design the duct work in the Lab, I think this space will be a catalyst WT and it will be a great way for kids to get an introduction here and want to attend the University,” says Price.

The PPHM is excited for the future of the STEAM Lab and all it will encompass.

“We’re really excited to be a part of the education of the youth of the Texas Panhandle,” says Price.

“What we can give back to the community via this space is the best part, I think we’re trying to meet the needs of our children, the community, and the future- this space helps us to do that and anyway that we can give back we’re fulfilling our mission and I think that’s the most important part,” says Friemel.

The grand opening of the STEAM Lab is Thursday, January 27, at 2:00 p.m.

To make a reservation at the STEAM Lab, click here.

For more information about museum admission hours and costs, click here.

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