Through the generosity of Dr. Richard Milne (Arts 54, Meds 58) the Miller Museum is fortunate to have a full time dedicated classroom for the presentation of educational programs to school groups and any other group interested in learning about Earth Sciences and Engineering. A medical doctor in Kingston Ontario for many years, Dr. Milne was passionate about exposing people of all ages to the amazing world around them. Opened in 2011, the classroom features a changeable configuration of tables and chairs to seat groups of up to 30 students for a variety of hands-on, curriculum-linked educational programs. The classroom is fully equipped with binocular microscopes, computer-based projection equipment, samples, and other equipment to teach geology in an interactive, and fun, way!
Each year, approximately 100 groups come to the museum for hands-on instructor-led programs in the Milne classroom. Programs actively teach participants about the science of geology through touching of samples including real meteorites, dinosaur bones and other fossils, rocks and minerals, crystals and precious metal ores, and other samples. Experiments and activities for participants include learning mineral identification by doing hands-on tests with real samples and equipment, and searching for potential micrometeorites using microscopes. Special longer-duration programs have been developed and run during which students grow crystals in the classroom, or learn about resource extraction by "mining" iron from breakfast cereal!
The Miller Museum is also an active participant in Beyond Classrooms Kingston where an entire class relocates from their school to the museum classroom for a full week of all-day programming using the resources at the museum. The Miller Museum was the site of the initial pilot project for Beyond Classrooms in 2014 where the Open Minds concept (PDF, 2000 KB) for teaching was demonstrated to local school boards, paving the way for the implementation and growth of the program. In 2018, Beyond Classrooms programs are presented in 10 different sites across the city of Kingston. Thanks to the Canadian Geological Foundation for supporting Beyond Classrooms at the Miller Museum.
- 27 binocular microscopes for mineral, rock and fossil work (Thanks to The Canadian Geological Foundation for grant funding)
- Video camera-equipped Nikon Optiphot Petrographic Microscope for demonstration of crystal growing and thin section/petrology teaching (Thanks to Bruce Wilson for arranging the donation)
- Rolling lab demonstration cart, lab tables, and classroom construction (Thanks to Dr. Milne and family for making this possible)
- Computer Projection facilities, Internet access
- Teaching samples from the museum collections and the Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering