Students Design Educational Kits for Santa Fe Children’s Museum

April 15, 2021

photo of Sam Gallegos

Sam Gallegos
Photo by Noah Gallegos/ Media Arts

Las Vegas, N.M. – Media Arts and Technology students at New Mexico Highlands University designed new hands-on learning kits for the Santa Fe Children’s Museum to distribute to children and families throughout New Mexico.

The grab-and-go kits were created for children without access to the internet and include art-based and science-based topics. Since March 2020, the Santa Fe Children’s Museum has delivered more than 7,000 free educational kits to children across the state.

“I am so grateful for the Highlands partnership and so happy with the work of the students,” said Leona Hillary, director of education at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum. “It hit home on our mission of discovering the joy of learning, play and community. We are very fortunate to be able to work with such an amazing pool of local talent.”

Hillary said the kit themes include topics like paper rivers, a rain jar, and a solar system string.

“The media arts and technology students designed new and creative brand packaging and curriculum materials for the ongoing Grab-and-Go Kit Program,” Hillary said.

photo of educational kits

Santa Fe Children’s Museum grab-and-go kit for rain

The Highlands University students did the design work in an Advanced Design Practices course taught by Mariah Fox Hausman, a media arts and technology professor.

“Sam Gallegos led the student team and played an important role in developing the logo mark, while Krislyn Padilla pitched some fun ideas for the solar system string lesson,” Hausman said. “This project was challenging and I’m proud of the students’ hard work and professionalism. It was rewarding seeing their designs reach communities in need throughout the state.  It’s also really important that students experience design as a powerful way to give back and inspire change.”

Sam Gallegos will graduate in May 2021 from Highlands with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in media arts and technology with an emphasis in videography. She is from Questa, New Mexico.

“It was very rewarding to help the Santa Fe Children’s Museum create something educational and fun for children in the communities of New Mexico,” Gallegos said. “During COVID-19, it was especially important for children to learn something new at home in rural areas.”

Gallegos said the grab-and-go kit project gave her a valuable opportunity to gain real-world experience and build her portfolio.

“The staff at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum is phenomenal to work with,” Gallegos said.

Since March 2020, with the support of donors, the museum distributed grab-and-go kits to a wide variety of partner organizations. Some examples include the Keres Children’s Learning Center at the Cochiti Pueblo; Northern Youth Project in Abiquiu; City of Santa Fe Homeless Shelter; Española Public Schools Homebound Services; New Mexico Autism Society; Santa Fe Public Libraries; Rio Arriba Independent Libraries; and the Christus St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center, which serves families from Ribera, Questa, Taos, Las Vegas and Santa Fe.

According to the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, it anticipates distributing 20,000 grab-and-go kits to rural and tribal communities throughout the state of New Mexico.