Special Report

How Museums Are Fostering the Workforce of the Future

The Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum gives high school students an inside look at collections, labs and the people who run them

Technician Maggie Halloran explains to a group of high school students how DNA sequencing works at the National Museum of Natural History’s new Laboratories of Analytical Biology (LAB), a molecular biotechnology hub. (Marina Koren)

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Halloran thinks this speed of innovation hit home for the students. Their STEM studies are crucial for preparing them to work with and create 21st-century technologies, even though that by the time they graduate college in just a few years, new technology may have outpaced the tools they witnessed at LAB.

“Everyone thinks it sounds cool to be Jacques Cousteau and go diving and collecting,” Halloran says. “But they really need the whole set of skills to be able to do that. I think the sooner that they have an idea of the scope of all of it, the better it is for them to be able to apply what they’re already learning in high school and making niches for themselves.”


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