Memphis' first STEAMfest aims to inspire students' educational and professional futures

Students of all ages can learn about educational and professional opportunities in science and the arts at Memphis’s inaugural STEAMfest.

The Museum of Science and History—formerly known as Pink Palace—will host a variety of STEAM-related booths and presentations on Saturday, October 23 from 10:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Admission is $15 (or $5 for museum members) for children two-12 and $30 (or $15 for members) for ages 13 and up. Kids under two get in free.

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. It’s been a “huge focus” in education over the past several years, according to MoSH Marketing Manager Bill Walsh. He said one of the goals of STEAMfest is to introduce elementary-aged students to these subjects.

“We'd like to see young kids walk away excited about STEAM,” said Walsh. “And hopefully spark an interest in following a related education.”

The event will also feature guidance on possible career paths for high school and college students. Museum leadership hopes to highlight the growing demand in the workforce in these areas. 

“STEAM subjects are not only an important element in the education of our young people, but a crucial hiring need for businesses and nonprofits,” said MoSH Executive Director Kevin Thompson, in a release.

STEAMfest is one of over 50 events across the state that are part of the larger Tennessee Steam Festival, which runs from October 15-24. The statewide festival was founded in 2017 by the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro. 

Participating STEAMfest organizations include FedEx, the City of Memphis Division of Engineering, Phillips Corporation, and several local colleges. There will also be food trucks on site.

Walsh said this event supports MoSH’s new goals of building community engagement and  stronger partnerships with local organizations related to education, science, history and culture.

“Having community partners like the Lemoyne-Owen College, University of Memphis, Rhodes College, and Christian Brothers University hosting tables at the event will give students a stepping stone to higher education in a STEAM-related field, and who knows, maybe a career at one of the community partners at the event.”

More Memphis-area Tennessee STEAM Festival Events
Contact the venue for more information and to register for events. To view all events, browse the Tennessee Steam Festival program guide.

Friday, October 15

10:30 a.m. - Curiosity Lab
Museum of Science and History, 3050 Central Ave.
Cost: Included with Museum Admission
Get a closer look at what goes on inside your brain.

6:30 p.m. - Family Fall Campfire: Whooo Comes Out At Night?
Where: Memphis Botanic Garden, 750 Cherry Rd.
Cost: $10/Member, $15/Non-Member
Gather around the fire pit and listen to old-fashioned songs and stories while roasting s’mores. Participate in a night hike to see who and what comes out at night in nature.

7:00 p.m. - Observing On The Lawn
Museum of Science and History, 3050 Central Ave.
Cost: $10/Adult, $5/Child
Come stargaze with the Memphis Astronomical Society on the lawn of the museum. Inside the museum, listen to a speaker about the James Webb telescope and enjoy a live planetarium show.

Saturday, October 16

9:00 a.m. - Nature Talk and Walk
Lichterman Nature Center, 5992 Quince Rd.
Cost: $10
Explore the trails of Lichterman Nature Center.

10:30 a.m. - International Archaeology Day
Where: Chucalissa Museum, 1987 Indian Village Dr.
Cost: Free
Learn about the science of studying the past. Make stone tools and pottery, touch real artifacts, and throw darts with an atlatl. Tour the archaeology trench and nature trail.

2:30 p.m. - MoSH Docent-Guided STEAM Tours
Museum of Science and History, 3050 Central Ave.
Cost: Adults $10 + Admission, Children $5 + Admission
This immersive, instructor led tour through our galleries highlights one artifact each from science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics—STEAM!

Wednesday, October 20

4:00 p.m. - Spooky Steam Experiments
Where: Bartlett Public Library, 5884 Stage Rd.
Cost: Included with Admission
Spooky outdoor experiments in celebration of Tennessee STEAM Fest. Participants must register beforehand and should contact the library for information in the case of inclement weather.

Saturday, October 23

10:30 a.m.–4:00p.m. - MoSH STEAMfest
Museum of Science and History, 3050 Central Ave.
COST: $15 (or $5 for museum members) for children two-12 and $30 (or $15 for members) for ages 13 and up. Kids under two get in free.
STEAM-powered event featuring booths, activities, talks, presentations, demonstrations and much more.
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Read more articles by Sarah Rushakoff.

Sarah Rushakoff was raised in Memphis and is a graduate of White Station High School and the University of Memphis. She is a longtime member of Our Own Voice Theatre Troupe and works professionally as a graphic designer, writer, and photographer.