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Enriching the Youth of the Atlanta Community at Their Museum of Design

By Elisha Neubauer

New art forms and technology have been creeping into our lives more and more as every day passes. As these subjects keep updating, it's only natural that museums would begin to take on this spectacular new wave of life in their own fashion. In Atlanta, Georgia, that's exactly what happened. Back in 2003, the Atlanta Museum of Art & Design, which originally opened in 1989, decided it was time to upgrade and after much deliberation between the Board of Directors, staff, and advisors, they announced their up and coming new concept: The Museum of Design.

"MODA is the only museum in the Southeast devoted exclusively to the study and celebration of all things design," states Laura Flusche, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Museum of Design. "MODA advances the understanding and appreciation of design as the convergence of creativity and functionality through exhibitions, education and programming for visitors of all ages." The Museum operates under a vision- a vision of a world celebrating design as an actual creative force. In their opinion, this creative force can inspire change, transform lives and, in general, make the world a better place.

Being a Museum dedicated to the concept of design is a daunting task, but they're up for it. Design is a world of constant upgrades. It is a world that continues to change in remarkable ways, and The Museum of Design is right there with it, enjoying the ride. "All design fields are growing right now," explains Flusche. "Designers are working across disciplines and closely with designers of other disciplines, so the field is becoming less silo-ed. Design and designers are moving into the C-suite and helping to establish corporate policy and practices. And schools are adopting design thinking as a way of teaching children creativity in problem solving."

Utilizing design as a force to inspire, transform, and educate. It is only natural that the Museum would reach out to the educational system. "In 2015, we interacted with about 3000 schoolchildren," Flusche says. But, they don't only cater to the youth of the community. "The museum also offers an extensive range of adult programs, as well as educational programs and camps for children."

"One of the most exciting things that MODA does is to provide design and design-thinking education to youth," states Flusche. "We believe that design is a creative process that can solve problems, transform lives, and make the world a better place and so we teach children to use design thinking as a way of addressing real-world problems." They continue to find new and unique methods of encouraging children to adapt and utilize design to fit their everyday lives.

For example, Flusche explains how MODA has been employing the popular game Minecraft to teach the community's youth some interesting life lessons. "We're currently in-residence at the Arthur S. Blank YMCA, delivering an after school program that teaches children to use the video game Minecraft as a design tool," she details. "Because of the nature of design thinking which reinforces important human interaction skills like empathy building, collaborative work, and learning from failure, participating students are not just using Minecraft to build." She continues, explaining how this translates into their daily lives. "They're also learning how to work together to face challenges, a skill that will serve them well for the entirety of their lives."

In addition to their educational programs, Flusche tells us that MODA regularly features exhibitions of architecture, industrial and product design, interiors and furniture, graphics, fashion, and so much more.

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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