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Michigan Science Center Puts You at the Center of Science

While minimizing risk for employees and visitors, the center taught the importance of critical thinking, science and technology in everyday life.

The Michigan Science Center inspires curious minds of all ages to discover, explore and appreciate STEM in a creative and dynamic learning environment. Informal learning techniques that emphasize hands-on, minds-on interactivity through engaging exhibits, theater shows and programs put people at the center of it all.

With so many hands-on exhibits, the COVID-19 pandemic had a big impact on the museum’s operations.

John Anderson, Chief Operating Officer at the Michigan Science Center, recognized the need for an independent, public health organization to help his institution understand and apply the new – and frequently changing – COVID-19 guidelines. In collaboration with other cultural institutions in Detroit, Mr. Anderson engaged NSF’s public health experts to develop a science-based “pandemic playbook” to minimize risk for the institution’s employees and visitors.

“Among other things, we needed guidelines to help us identify high-touch surfaces and surfaces that were not so highly touched, and mechanical systems that require more frequent monitoring and maintenance than they might normally require,” he said.

The playbook called for dozens of changes to operations, including the creation of the “Clean Team.”

“At the Michigan Science Center, there are lots of things that are designed to be touched by hands, so we needed to develop a program for periodic, tracked, measured and specific physical surface disinfection,” Mr. Anderson said. “Once an hour there’s a public address announcement and the Clean Team springs into action and all the surfaces get disinfected in the proper way with the proper chemicals very safely.”

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