I have the extreme pleasure of working at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Our mission priorities include an effort to become a place where we listen and respond to our community and actively involve them in planning for the future. As a result, we have learned that our guests want a place to learn that will engage them in active and inclusive ways. They want to be a part of the learning experience, and we are changing to provide just that.
If you visit our museum on any given day, you can participate in an on-going citizen scientist genetics of taste experiment, talk to an astronaut on Mars, join Galileo as he performs his ball drop experiment from the Leaning Tower of Pizza (yes, I know it's really Pisa, but that's part of the fun), dissect sheep hearts and lungs, take a tour of our solar system and visit the places you want to see, dig up dinosaur bones, pet a tornado, talk to figures from history about the dioramas you are viewing, and many other first-hand interactive experiences. At this time, our entire gallery about space is being redesigned and, about a year from now, will become a brand new, state-of-the-art experience that seriously puts you into space.
Many other museums around the country are working hard to create this same sort of experience for their guests. The days of the static displays to simply look at and read a plaque are on the way out. One of the things that makes this possible for us is our huge staff of volunteers. DMNS has almost 2,000 volunteers, and almost 50 staff members exclusively dedicated to interact with our guests in a wide range of activities. If you are looking for some way to volunteer that can make a difference, then check into volunteering at your local museums. You will be impacting the learning experience of thousands of school-age visitors as well as adults. You will also have a blast being there.