Located directly adjacent to the lobby of the National Museum of the United States Army, the Experiential Learning Center (ELC), sponsored by Lockheed Martin, is considered one of the marquee features that will give the Museum an important part of its identity. This unique, state-of-the-art interactive resource center will feature geography, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (GSTEM) educational programs especially designed to challenge, excite, and entertain middle school and younger Museum visitors.
An especially engaging ELC space for even the youngest of visitors will be “Fort Discover,” which will emulate life on an Army post, allowing the younger generation to experience and discover the GSTEM skills through imaginative play. Several activities offered in “Fort Discover” invite children to engage in assorted aspects of Army life. Throughout the allocated space, the area comes alive with interactive challenges that encourage children to work as a team to keep the fort alive. Camouflage gear will be provided to set the mood for the children. Once they dress the part, children can learn how to deliver the mail, work in the chow line, and drive a jeep. They can use radios located throughout the area to communicate with the other stations within the fort. There also will be a play table where they can build their own fort to size. Children will use conveyer belts to move equipment from the ground level up to the tower. From the tower’s observation deck, they will be able to view safely the entire area from a new perspective. A cargo plane is staged above the fort and the children in the tower can direct the plane to drop supply crates.
While there are other equally inviting GSTEM-oriented areas in the ELC such as the “Operations Center,” “Training Area,” and “Growing Up Army” display, the “Fort Discover” interactive visitor experience is destined to be a favorite site that offers a fun and educational adventure into the day-to- day life at an Army fort.