July 24, 2017
 
Discovery Museums Launches Final Push to Fund Expansion

March 3, 2017 — The Discovery Museums, an Acton nonprofit that serves as the children’s and science museums of the MetroWest region of Boston, this week announced that has launched a push to generate funds to complete expansion of its facility.

The final phase of a larger $8.4 million capital campaign to transform the Acton campus will complete the Campaign for The Discovery Museums, fulfill the $1 million dollar-for-dollar Community Challenge Grant awarded by The Manton Foundation last year, and meet the museums’ fundraising goal for its 2017 operations.

“We are thrilled that the generous support of our community through the Leadership phase of our capital campaign has brought us to this incredible moment,” said Bill Ryan, board chair of The Discovery Museums. “With the bulk of the fundraising complete, we are now asking every person whose life has been touched by The Discovery Museums to make a special investment in its future, to positively impact the lives of our visitors for the next 35 years and beyond.”

The museum is looking to raise $700,000 by Dec. 31, $350,000 of which will complete the capital campaign.

Last July, the museum completed Phase 1 of its master plan, a $1.5 million project to develop Discovery Woods, and accessible, fully-inclusive nature playscape and 550-square foot treehouse.

In the months following the opening of Discovery Woods, museum visitation was up 30%.

Last month, the organization were awarded a Commonwealth Award by the Massachusetts Cultural Council for Discovery Woods, the only recipient in the Access category.

The final fundraising push will allow the expansion and complete renovation of the Science Discovery Museum building, to break ground this summer. The project will double the square footage of the building, allowing for exhibits from the two existing museums on site to be combined into a single building with improved and expanded visitor amenities. The expansion is being designed by architects Cambridge Seven Associates.

The Children’s Discovery Museum, founded in 1982, will be no longer be available for public use when the new, unified museum building opens in late 2017.

New permanent exhibits will include “Brain Building Zone,” an early-learning gallery based on the latest brain development research, designed for children ages zero to three and their parents; “Yes, It’s Math!,” an exhibit providing fun, family learning that takes the anxiety out of “doing math;” and “Da Vinci’s Workshop,” which will celebrate invention, art, creativity, and the process of scientific inquiry through hands-on making, tinkering, and exploring.

The new museum building and all exhibits will be accessible and fully ADA compliant. Recent accessibility milestones included opening Discovery Woods and treehouse last summer and launching a new website accessible to those with hearing loss, vision loss, and physical limitations. The museum said that 2016 year-end results showed a 27% increase in attendance at free programs for families with disabilities, and a 13% increase in visitors at no charge or at s deeply reduced cost.

The Children’s Discovery Museum opened in 1982 and the Science Discovery Museum opened five years later. In its first year of operation, the Children’s Discovery Museum served 40,000 visitors. MetroWest is loosely bounded by Routes 128 on the east, Route 495 on the west, Route 2 on the north, and Route 109 on the south.

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