A mobile museum is a museum educational outreach program that bring the museum to the people rather than vice versa. Typically they can be in Recreational Vehicles (RVs) or trucks/trailers that drive to schools, libraries and rural events. Their business model is to use grant or donor support, as they goal is to make the museum exhibit accessible to underserved populations. Below are some examples of mobile museums.
The Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME) is a nonprofit founded in 1976 that maintains two traveling STEM-museums-on-wheels that visit thousands of students a year across Texas. Established in 1980 as the Expo-Tex traveling engineering exhibit, the Trailblazer program expanded in 2013 to a fleet of two upgraded 40-ft trailers. Both Trailblazer I and Trailblazer II contain five interactive STEM exhibit areas: Aerodynamics, Biotechnology, Energy, Space, and Weather. Exhibits include Robotic Surgery, Van de Graaff Generators, Virtual Reality Spacewalk, Green Screen Technology, Thermal Imaging, Wind Tunnels, and more.
"The Trailblazers invite everyone to get excited about the world around us, from outer space to inside the human body. Based out of Austin, Texas, the Trailblazer program reaches potential where it lives, bringing interactive exhibits to communities all across the state of Texas. Students visiting the Trailblazer are stepping into a network that is designed to support them as they advance—from after-school TAME Clubs to STEM Competitions, and on to college scholarships and mentoring."
The Moveable Museum is produced and managed by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (NYC) under the auspices of the Gottesman Center for Science Teaching and Learning. The program is available free of charge to all schools in the five boroughs of New York City and consists of one themed vehicle outfitted with hands-on, interactive exhibits covering paleontology. The Moveable Museum formerly also included vehicles about anthropology and astronomy. The Moveable Museum program has been in operation since 1993, in which time it has visited over 700 schools in NYC and many libraries. The Paleontology of Dinosaurs (Grades K-2) has been active since 1998, and is focused on teaching children how paleontologists use fossils to study dinosaurs and other ancient life. The Structures & Culture (Grades 3–8) lets students study actual pieces of material culture, and become anthropologists and investigate how culture allows people to use various environmental resources to meet basic human needs.
The Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries and Structures & Culture was donated to the Institute for the Study of Mongolian Dinosaurs in 2013 The Paleontology of Dinosaurs is the oldest vehicle in operation. The Structures & Culture allows students to enter the homes of three modern nomadic cultures, the Gabra of Kenya, the Mongols of Mongolia and the Blackfeet of Montana. Discovering the Universe (Grades 6–12) resides at the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Planetarium.
Other mobile museums
- Shark in a bus
An ex MTT Perth 1957 vintage Leyland Worldmaster Bus featuring a 5m long Great White Shark (White Pointer) and hundreds of marine objects collected around Australia primarily in the 1960s and 70s. This private collection tours Australia and contains the shark purported to have inspired the artist Damien Hurst. Shark in a Bus is completely self funded.
- Van of Enchantment
A pair of RV museum vans with themes related to cultural history that operate in New Mexico and is ran by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, with primary funding from the Department of Transportation. The grant-supported program focuses on children in elementary schools, especially those in remote and rural communities.
- Strange Old Things
Based in Wiltshire, UK, it aims to tell the story of Britain through interaction with items from various periods. It focuses on donations of items as opposed to money and operates out of a period military tent.
- Go van Gogh (Dallas Museum of Art)
- VanGo! (Susquehanna Art Museum)
Brings art works to schools, community festivals, retirement communities, and businesses. Runs during the school year. Started in 1992.
Media related to Mobile museums at Wikimedia Commons
- Virtual museums — museum exhibits that are online
- Photo features a 40 ft trailer attached to a pickup truck, with colorful images on the side to show what exhibits the museum houses. These images include: a hurricane for weather, a fighter jet for aerodynamics, an athlete with a J-leg prosthetic for biotechnology, wind turbines on a hillside for energy, and the International Space Station for space
- "Bring the Museum to you!". California, USA: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
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- "Clubs". www.tame.org. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
- "Trailblazer". www.tame.org. Retrieved 2018-07-27.
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- "Anthropology: Structures & Culture". American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
- Boodhoo, Thea. "Saving Mongolia's dinosaurs and inspiring the next generation of paleontologists". Earth Magazine. American Geosciences Institute. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
- "Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries (3-8)". American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
- "Astronomy: Discovering the Universe". American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
- "Astronomy: Discovering the Universe" (PDF). Suffolk County, NY Government. Retrieved 2010-12-03.
- "Giant 5m Great White Shark on view! Shark in a Bus, mobile museum". Sharkinabus.com. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
We travel Australia in our 1957 Leyland Royal Tiger bus, demystifying sharks and sharing our world class private museum. See our calendar for tour dates.
- "Mobile museums: History and science delivered". IDEA.org. April 27, 2011.
- "Home". Van of Enchantment. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
- "strange old things". Strange-old-things-the-mobile-museum.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
- "Go van Gogh After School Program". dma.org.
- "VanGo! the art museum that comes to you". sqart.org. Archived from the original on June 23, 2011.