Child with modeling clay at computer

HASTINGS, Neb., May 14, 2020 –
     Registration for Hastings Museum’s new Digital Learning Lab is now open. The five-week lab is a unique museum-from-home family option available from June 1-July 3. Each day hands-on learning and fun will be provided that focuses on art, science, nature, and history.
     Hastings Museum is a long-time leader in providing summer youth classes to area youth, said Becky Matticks, director of the Hastings Museum.
     As the Museum’s normal summer classes came in to jeopardy from health guidelines discouraging people to gather in groups, Matticks said her staff started asking, “How do we still serve the community under these new conditions? How do we still give kids the kind of summer fun they’ve grown to expect from us?” Something new had to be created, she said.
     Russanne Hoff, Curator of Education for the Museum said, “We had to rethink everything. Instead of groups of similar-aged kids meeting here at the Museum, we’ll now be serving multi-aged family groups from their homes. How do we get them the supplies they’ll need? Select the right topics? And what do we charge for this?” So many things would be new, but some things needed to stay the same, she said. The Museum is known for interactive experiences for kids.
     “When kids come to the Museum for a summer class, they get their feet muddy and their fingers covered in paint. They measure, and build, and create. They go home with glitter in their hair and smiles on their faces. We wanted all of that to stay the same,” said Hoff.
     “One of the benefits of offering the Lab online, is that kids can now enroll with friends and family far away, she said. They can connect with cousins they normally wouldn’t be able take a class with, Hoff said.
Each day of the week will be themed: Masterpiece Monday, art; Try It Tuesday, science;
Wilderness Wednesday, nature; Throwback Thursday, history; and Freebie Friday, a random topic. The lab will take place Monday-Friday at 2 p.m. CST. The cost for members is $90 and non-members is $100.  There is no prorated cost if they sign up later in the month or only want to participate on one of the days of the week.  Because everything will be recorded, families will still get all 5 weeks of classes, regardless of when they sign up.
     There is no limit to the number of people in a household who can sign up and there are no restrictions on the ages of kids. Instead of providing materials to each family that registers, Hoff said the lab is designed to use only common household items. If an item is less common, like tempura paint, plenty of notice will be given to those who are participating.

     The Digital Learning Lab is replacing the June Summer Fun classes that the Museum generally offers. Thus far, July classes for Summer Fun have not been cancelled. As these groups are limited in size, the Museum is waiting to make an announcement until staff know more about the Directed Health Measures that will be in place at that time.

Sign up here or call (402) 461-2399 and we’ll help you register over the phone!