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OHIO Museum Complex launches Outdoor Museum at The Ridges, installs educational signage

Published: July 22, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Visitors to OHIO will soon encounter a new way to explore and learn. In addition to the indoor gallery and research space in Lin Hall, the OHIO Museum Complex (OMC) features an Outdoor Museum transforming the vast network of trails at The Ridges and points of interest across the region into a unique integrated outdoor learning experience. 

The OMC is a campus and community collaboration that connects art, science, wellness, and the environment with everyday life. It serves as a transformative space for members of all OHIO campuses to engage with the research and vision of students and faculty, providing an outside area to experiment, collaborate and excel in a creative community, focused on innovation.

Recently, a series of educational signs were installed throughout the trail system on The Ridges to highlight Outdoor Museum points of interest. The signs were designed by students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members who have collaborated on the OHIO Museum Complex. For instance, three recent OHIO grads created signs in correlation with their areas of study, emphasizing aspects of nature, history, and outdoor education.  

Near Lin Hall, visitors encounter outdoor art sculptures, towering trees, a pollinator garden and a series of educational signs featuring the common flora and fauna of the region in a parklike setting.

Outdoor Museum signs

Out on the trails, educational signs share information about research on Radar Hill, habitats in the OHIO Land Laboratory, sustainability features including the Compost Facility, and even how to join stargazing events to view the night sky through the OHIO Observatory’s historic telescope.

“The Outdoor Museum provides a connection between the beautiful setting of southeast Ohio and the questions that investigators at Ohio University pursue every day in their research,” said Joseph Shields, Vice President for Research and Creative Activity.

Outdoor Museum 1
Student interns stepped out of the classroom to contribute to their community, developing educational signage, pollinator garden plantings, and outreach activities—above is a wayfinding trail sign developed by Outdoor Education and Recreation graduate Emily Feist.

 

 Across the river, visitors can also learn about OHIO’s longstanding partnership with Chubu University in Japan, reflected in the cherry trees that provide beauty and inspiration to the Athens community. Student research on the Hocking River’s history and ecology are also highlighted along the Adena Hockhocking bike path near Peden Stadium.

Outdoor Museum 2
Over 100 individuals across the campus and community have contributed to developing the OMC’s indoor and outdoor learning spaces to date, sharing knowledge, creativity, and resources to provide unique opportunities for experiential learning.

Another platform for experiential learning is the OMC’s self-guided tour app (mAppAthens), that offers over 20 online maps that can be leveraged as outdoor museum tours to engage visitors in active, place-based learning experiences to explore an array of topics including art, wellness, history, geology, ecology, and more.

Outdoor Museum 3
​The OMC leverages the spectacular natural beauty of our region, highlighting important OHIO landmarks and key aspects of the region’s history.

 Indoors and outdoors, the OMC serves as a transdisciplinary learning laboratory for people to experiment, collaborate and excel as a creative community.

“Over 100 individuals across the campus and community have contributed to developing the OMC’s indoor and outdoor learning spaces to date, sharing knowledge, creativity, and resources to provide unique opportunities for experiential learning. People are the heart of this project,” Nancy Stevens, Distinguished Professor in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and co-Lead of the OMC said.

To learn more and/or to contribute to the OMC, please visit the website.