The Museum of Discovery and Science (MODS) has partnered with the WeGo Foundation, an organization founded in 2017 with the goal of alleviating the isolation of hospitalized children across the nation by enabling them to visit and explore museums and aquariums from their hospital rooms through telepresence robotics. Children can now explore MODS with a kid-friendly, fully controllable robot, R2 MODS, that allows them to see, hear, and interact with other guests and MODS educators—all from their hospital room.
“Play is universal—regardless of health or location—and accessibility is a key part of the Museum’s values,” says Joseph P. Cox, president and CEO of MODS. “The WeGo Foundation understands this and allows children to restore some autonomy, childhood wonder, and a sense of discovery. We’re thrilled to be able to virtually explore with children from their hospital rooms.”
MODS has a robot that children can maneuver remotely through the Museum, allowing them to display their faces and sound their voices, providing real-time interaction with Museum educators, other children and guests. MODS has the necessary technology onsite, trained staff, and developed tours and experiences that are available to kids and families free of charge through this partnership.
“Through WeGo, kids are able to alleviate the anxiety and isolation associated with pediatric inpatient hospitalizations and regain a sense of autonomy and normalcy as they maneuver the robots around attractions,” said WeGo managing director and founder Galen Shi. “It is a transformative experience for the kids and their families. During the tour, they are no longer the center of attention because they are sick. Instead, they are the center of attention because they are at MODS discovering science via a robot.”
The program works with hospitals nationwide, including Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital. Tours are available with partner institutions, such as MODS, the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Field Museum in Chicago.
The tours are scheduled through the WeGo Foundation platform.