Best Science Museums on the Web
The leading science museums web sites that are guaranteed to engage learners of all ages
This famous San Francisco museum hosts a variety of online exhibits on topics ranging from biodiversity and frogs, to weather, sports, and basic scientific curiosity. They also offer online activities; step-by-step instructions for hands-on activities; webcasts; and an online magazine. From the home page, click on the “Explore” tab at the top left.
This museum, opened just four years ago in Washington, D.C., shares many of its exhibits online. Here, students can explore how DNA analysis can catch criminals and stop epidemics, witness the potential effects of global warming, and glimpse the frontiers of scientific research. To browse their topics, click on the black “ALL EXHIBITS” button at the top left of the home page.
The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) hosts this award-winning site for students to study and explore “ologies” of interest. Sectors currently include archaeology, astronomy, biodiversity, Earth, Einstein, genetics, marine biology, paleontology, and water. Site navigation is intuitive and kid-friendly.
From their home page, click on “Science Online” at the top right portion of the menu bar. There you’ll find links to online activities, exhibits, podcasts, and other online resources. This section also includes “Science Whatzit”—a place for students to conduct their own inquiry-based research and find answers to their questions.
Another site from AMNH, this one offers over 1,000 online resources for students from Grade 6 and up. These resources contain activities, articles, evidence and analysis, and more in anthropology, astronomy, biology, Earth science, and paleontology. Their collection is highly searchable and can also be browsed by topic, subtopic, and/or grade level.
A little digging is all that’s needed to find a wealth of interactive enrichment activities. Many of their online exhibits, such as Wild Music and Tissues for Life, include hands-on activities for home or school. From the home page, click on “Learn” at the top menu bar. Then click on “Learn more” in the Online Activities section.
The world’s largest museum complex hosts an equally impressive Web site. At the left-hand menu of their home page, click on “Smithsonian for Kids.” From there, students can explore, discover, and learn about science through activity sheets, idea labs, and more. Have students click on the “Science & Nature” topic for a suite of links to Smithsonian exhibits and activities on anatomy, squids, flight, light, Earth history, and other topics.
The Tech Museum currently has two online exhibits: one on genetics and the human genome; the other on robotics. Both exhibits are packed with interesting facts and features, including interactive questions. To find them, look for “Online Fun” at the bottom right of the museum’s home page.
9. The Franklin Institute Science Museum
Click on the green “Resources for Science Learning” tab at the top left of the home page. In the new window that opens, click the “For Learners” tab at the top. From there, the Franklin Institute’s resources are easily navigated. Students can explore The Case Files, a unique repository of the history of science; the human heart; the brain; and links to pre-reviewed outside sites.
Last but by no means least, this partnership effort between the New York Hall of Science, the Association of Science-Technology Centers, and IBM Corporation is an innovative way for students to investigate, discover, and try science for themselves. Here, students can conduct online experiments, take online field trips, and participate in virtual scientific adventures. Fun graphics and high quality multimedia make this a stimulating, user-friendly site.