Guest Blog: The Science of Fun: Inside Thinkery’s Quest for Joyful Learning

Google Fiber’s Community Connection program provides gigabit internet service to nonprofit partners. Today, Shaleiah Fox, Chief Advancement Officer with Thinkery, an Austin-based STEAM learning experience for children, shares how the museum is using this program to power discovery and exploration for Austin’s kids. 


Working at Thinkery is different from any job I’ve ever had. To start, we’re the most visited cultural institution here in Austin, Texas, and we’re dedicated to inspiring joyful learning for children. In and of itself working at Thinkery is an incredibly unique experience. But it’s really being a part of a team that works to make inspiring learning accessible to all children and families here in Central Texas that makes it a dream. 


If you’ve visited our museum, you know you’re in for a day full of hands-on, thought provoking play and knowledge building. We’re a philanthropic hub for play-based STEAM learning, creativity, and imagination housed inside a 40,000 square foot facility in the heart of Austin. 

In 2013, the Austin Children's Museum rebranded to Thinkery and moved from downtown Austin to the Mueller area and became a Google Fiber Community Connection. We have a responsibility to make sure that all children in Central Texas have access to joyful learning experiences. Being a Community Connection allows us to reach more people who need to know about Thinkery and to create a more inclusive experience for them.

Inside our walls, being a Google Fiber Community Connection means keeping our kids connected to their learning pursuits. An example of this is Our Stop Motion Animation Exhibit, which allows kids to come in and create their own movies. Once they do, they can upload and send those videos to themselves or family to showcase what they’ve created. Everything we do here at Thinkery is designed so that a lifelong learning connection doesn’t stop when you leave our museum doors. In a way, our Stop Motion Animation exhibit is a physical manifestation of the way in which we keep that promise — and it’s powered by the internet. 

At the end of the day, seeing the smile on a kid’s face when they learn something new or have a new experience makes every piece of effort we put into our programming just that much more worth it. We’re incredibly proud of the work we do for our Central Texas community. 

Posted by Shaleiah Fox, Chief Advancement Officer, Thinkery