What do you want to tell the world about your work?
The MIT Museum is offering Institute departments the opportunity to show their stuff during FAST Sundays -- Family Adventures in Science and Technology. The FAST pilot programs over the last few months drew nearly 2,500 visitors eager to understand what really happens behind laboratory doors at MIT.
The museum is now planning six new FAST Sundays for the next academic year and is accepting proposals from MIT departments interested in taking advantage of this unusual public outreach opportunity.
The next FAST Sundays will take place at MIT Museum from 1-4pm on the last Sunday of September, October, November, January, February and March. Each FAST will showcase a different department. The students and staff of that department will work with museum program specialists to offer a host of fascinating family-friendly activities that will illustrate the research being done in their labs. Activities must be appropriate for large crowds of visitors of all ages and interests.
During the spring FAST Sundays, families from all over New England worked with students from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics building model aircraft in "Come Fly With Me"; examined the anatomy of robots with students from the 2.007 contest during "Race of the Robots"; and experimented with slime and constructed magnets with materials science students in "It's A Materials World."
FAST Sunday is an excellent opportunity for public relations, public outreach and public service. Just as important, the event gives MIT students an opportunity to help develop educational programming, get a little teaching experience, and serve as diplomats for their discipline and the Institute in general. Programs developed for FAST Sunday may then be used by the department when future opportunities for outreach arise.
The museum is also launching a FAST Kids Club which will offer families a variety of benefits to augment the FAST experience. Departments interested in participating in a FAST Sunday should get in touch with FAST coordinator Marcia Conroy at x3-1766 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A version of this article appeared in the June 9, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 33).