Bell Museum camps returned this summer to provide children with new opportunities for adventurous exploration!! This year, the Bell offered both in-person camp and virtual camp options. Virtual camp included exclusive take home boxes while in-person camp offered unique, hands-on experiences for campers while they learned alongside their peers at the Bell. Over 10% of campers received Bell scholarships to attend camp this summer.
To ensure that campers were able to learn and discover in a safe environment, each in-person camp was structured around two week sessions to keep campers together and included plenty of time outside. Campers explored Bell exhibits, conducted observations on the Learning Landscape, saw planetarium shows, connected with University researchers and experts in the sciences, and participated in lots of active, hands-on learning. Campers entering grades 1-6 learned about ecosystems, weather, Minnesota water systems, journeying into space, and more! Our camper families had plenty to share about their children’s time at Bell summer camp:
- The Water Ways/Ready, Set, Lift-Off camp included campers learning about how native plants and animals use water and gave an inside look at how astronauts work aboard the International Space Station.
- “I really appreciate the camp leaders and how they interacted with my kids. My kids had a completely positive experience and really enjoyed learning.”
- The Nature Investigations/Aerospace Engineering camp included exploration of the Bell Museum’s research collection and learning what it takes to send rovers, satellites and humans into space. This camper shared their highlights of their experience.
- “They loved learning about space and the space unit. They wanted to listen to the songs about the planets and the dwarf planets at home. Rocket blast was fun too!”
- After spending time outside learning more about the different ecosystems and building rockets during the Eco-Exploration/Star Stuff camp, this camper made sure to share their new found knowledge.
- “My kids had an amazing time and were sad (one even cried a bit) when it ended. My six year old son came home teaching us all about Mars’s missing atmosphere and, therefore, the lack of Martian oceans. THANK YOU!”
The Bell’s new virtual camps offered families the unique opportunity to bring the Bell Museum home with a curated box full of materials, instructions and opportunities for discovery with virtual sessions led by Bell educators, and special guest speakers throughout the week. Our campers and their families shared a few highlights about their experience this summer:
- The All My Friends Are Insects camp expanded the Bell’s #SummerofBugs, building on themes from our featured exhibition Bugs: Outside the Box.
- “The insect life cycle and anatomy were great concepts to learn. The diorama was a big hit.”
- The Worlds Below camp took a closer look at the fish, plants and insects living below our water’s surface and featured a special guest speaker.
- “She was very impressed and pleased to hear from the Antarctic explorer. She loved the professional feeling of recording things in her journal.”
- Our virtual camp format not only provided campers with the chance to learn from the comfort of their home but also offered campers the opportunity for self-guided, summer long learning.
- “This experience was perfect for us. Holding her attention on Zoom is impossible so we appreciated both options. The curated box was absolutely wonderful and we could not have asked for more cool activities we could use at our own pace. Thank you!!”
The Bell Museum is a space that inspires exploration and encourages discovery. Check out a few of the gems overheard from our Bell campers by staff:
“Can we call them little cuties?” – Referencing the animals in the Touch & See Lab
“Don’t underestimate kids!! We’re smarter than you think.”
“Whose bone face is this?” – Referencing a skull in the Touch & See Lab
“If I get sucked up by a blackhole, I hope it’s a big black hole.”
“That’s not fair! I’m the smallest in my family and they still want me there!” – After learning that Pluto is a dwarf planet and “technically” not like the others
“Camp staff are supposed to be very tall, and we are very short.”
The Bell Museum is thankful for all the campers who were able to spend their time with us this summer learning and exploring. And we appreciate the thanks shared by campers to our special guests that helped enrich camp!
Thank you to Boston Scientific and WEM Foundation for their support in sparking curiosity all summer long and making Bell Summer Camp possible.