Museum Spotlight: Experiential Learning Center (ELC)
Located off the main Lobby of the National Museum of the United States Army (NMUSA), the Experiential Learning Center (ELC) will be a premier feature of the Museum. Sponsored by Lockheed Martin, the ELC will promote geography, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (GSTEM) educational programs.
Visitors will first enter the ELC’s Assembly Area, which will include a number of interactive features to be explored by the casual visitor as well as those waiting to participate in the ELC’s training exercises and simulated rescue mission.
Located on the greeting wall in the Assembly Area are two different interactive experiences: Army Innovations and The Army Behind the Army.
On the left side of the greeting wall, visitors can interact with military innovations and technology that have had an impact on civilian life. The visitor can select one of eight Army innovations to learn about, including space travel, the ENIAC Computer, Medevac, the National Highway System, Rhino Tanks, the Panama Canal, the National Weather Bureau, and cellular communications.
On the right side, The Army Behind the Army will provide visitors the option to choose one of six videos to learn more about what takes place behind the scenes in the Army. These videos align with the GSTEM approach found throughout the ELC and are focused on the following topics: Army chow, mess halls, mail, service animals, logistics, and signals and codes.
Next is the Training Area itself, which will feature a learning simulation and interactives designed specifically for school-aged visitors but no doubt of interest to visitors of all ages. Here visitors will use GSTEM skills to engage in a simulated Army humanitarian mission called “Operation Safe Passage.”
Also included in the ELC is an area called Growing Up Army, an interactive experience that tells the story of the people who grow up in an Army family. A monitor at the center of the experience will show a looping video of testimonials describing what growing up in an Army family entails. A kiosk to the left of the main monitor will contain a Growing Up Army trivia game for visitors to play. An additional touchscreen will control the Brats to Boots content which tells the unique stories of Army kids who grew up to be Soldiers themselves. Overall the Growing Up Army experience will offer insight into the realities of the lives of men and women in Army families.
All of the experiences within the ELC are designed to offer a GSTEM-focused look at the Army and highlight the important work Soldiers do every day. The ELC will afford visitors of all ages a rare look into many important but often overlooked aspects of Army life.