The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), in partnership with the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), proposes to develop the Zoo in You: Exploring the Human Microbiome, a 2,000 square foot bilingual (English and Spanish) traveling exhibition for national tour to science centers, health museums, and other relevant venues. The exhibition will engage visitors in the cutting edge research of the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Human Microbiome Project (HMP) and explore the impact of the microbiome on human health. To enrich the visitor experience, the Zoo in You project will also produce an interactive bilingual website and in-depth programs including science cafes and book groups for adult audiences. JCVI will provide its expertise and experience as a major site for HMP genomics research to the project. In addition, advisors from the Oregon Health &Science University, Multnomah County Library, the Multnomah County Health Department, ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum, Science Museum of Minnesota, and other experts will guide OMSI's development of exhibits and programs. The Institute of Learning Innovation in collaboration with OMSI will evaluate the exhibits, programs, and website. Front-end, formative, remedial, and summative evaluation will be conducted in English and Spanish at OMSI, ScienceWorks, and tour venues. The exhibition's target audience is families and school groups with children in grades 4-12. Latino families are a priority audience and the project deliverables will be developed bilingually and biculturally. The Zoo in You will tour to three venues a year for a minimum of eight years. We conservatively estimate that over two million people will visit the exhibition during the national tour. This project presents a powerful opportunity to inform museum visitors about new discoveries in genomic research, to invite families to learn together, and to present and interpret health-related research findings for diverse audiences.
Our research education program, the Zoo in You (ZIY): Exploring the Human Microbiome, is relevant to public health because it will inform exhibition visitors and program participants about the significant new research of the NIH's Human Microbiome Project (HMP). Visitors will make connections between basic research, human health, and their own personal experiences. The bilingual (English and Spanish) ZIY exhibits and programs will present research finding and public health information in enjoyable and engaging ways to reach diverse family and adult audiences.