Miranda Kerr, Shedd Aquarium, USA, Heather Schneider, Shedd Aquarium, USA
In 2016, Shedd Aquarium launched a pilot program called Live from the Field, to expand our museum walls by sharing live updates of research happening in The Bahamas and making direct connections to students. Learning and Conservation Research staff formed a mutually beneficial partnership, with the shared goal of connecting learners to Shedd Aquarium, science, and the living world. The program sought to share a real, live window into how science is done in the field, as well as raise awareness of Shedd’s research efforts. While our outreach efforts from the first expedition in June were limited to social media, we expanded our efforts in September to include a direct connection with two schools totaling five classrooms. Those schools had access to videos and website links about Shedd’s iguana research, and a science curriculum activity before the start of the research expedition. Schools were then encouraged to tweet questions from students, which our staff answered live from the field! Classrooms were also able to experience a real time, interactive conversation with our instructor and scientist via Google Hangout while they were working in The Bahamas. At the Museums and the Web conference, we will share Live from the Field with the museum community and challenge everyone to think about how they can expand their museum walls, reduce barriers, discover new audiences, share their museum expertise, and make deeper connections. We will explain how we formed the internal and external partnerships, what we learned from the technology capability tests, and feedback on the connections we were able to make with students.