Grant #196


June 6, 2016

Captivating dollhouse sized museums that will induce curiosity through the power of education and observation.

We waste so much time waiting. Whether it’s in a doctor’s office, at an airport or bus stop, or perhaps your local DMV. We thumb through our phones and refresh social media, maybe mindlessly flip through out of date reception-area magazines. But, what if instead of avoiding our surrounding world, we spent our time learning about it?

That’s precisely what Amanda Schochet and Charles Philipp want us to do. And they’re starting with snails. Well, mollusks – animals that range from your typical garden snail to the incredible and mysterious giant squid. The lives of these creatures are complex and bizarre: animals with no heads, slime-making monsters with one hundred stone eyes, creatures that could easily play a role in a science fiction novel. Mollusks are some of the most fascinating entities on earth, and yet we spend little time actually observing them.

The “Smallest Mollusk Museum” is going to be the first in what will ideally be a fleet of Micromuseums – small sites that will induce curiosity through the power of education and observation. The dollhouse sized structures will allow people to further explore familiar topics, such as the science behind tickles or dust. The goal is to use science as a template for curiosity. It’s not just about facts, it’s about actively engaging with the unknown.

These Micromuseums will be strategically placed in locations where time is normally wasted and will be accessible to everyone. Usually, museums are concentrated in specific cultural zones and are often really expensive. The Micromuseums are completely inverting that model by traveling on month long residencies, focusing on underfunded school districts and the outer boroughs far from Museum Mile. They will be free of charge.

Our funding will be put towards the construction of one of these Micromuseums, a structure that will hold an entire world worth exploring.

Check out Micromusuems on the web, and follow on Twitter for fun Mollusk facts.



After 11+ years, we’re signing off and closing applications for good. We’ve supported 571 projects with $571,000 in grant dollars. We’re so proud to have celebrated such incredible work. Please visit for more information on other AWESOME chapters! And thanks for sharing so much awesomeness with us.

Team Awesome Without Borders