February 19, 2019
Discovery Museums Completes Capital Campaign, Trims Name

February 1, 2018 — The Discovery Museums, an Acton nonprofit that serves as the children’s and science museum of Boston's MetroWest region, this week announced successful completion of a capital campaign to fund its expansion, and shortened its name to Discovery Museum.

The Discovery Museum said the campaign, which kicked off in November 2013, set a record for the organization, raising $8.8 million, surpassing its $8.4 million goal.

The museum, which had been closed, said it will re-open on March 3, showcasing exhibit space that doubled the size of the original museum. It now includes new galleries for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) experiences including water; air; tinkering, design, and engineering; early brain development; math; light and color; and sound.

“With this great new museum we will reach many more families and will serve as an example for making great STEAM learning experiences available to all kids; demonstrating ways to get kids back outdoors to play; and, advocating for play as the basis for children’s growth and development,” said CEO Neil Gordon.

“The most important thing we can do is to prepare kids to tackle the challenges of a rapidly changing, complex world. The new Discovery Museum will inspire every child to find his or her most creative and curious self, and to discover the wonder and truth of science and the joy and importance of the natural world.”

In conjunction with the opening of the new building, the museum is launching a slightly revised name, changing its name from The Discovery Museums to Discovery Museum.

The original Children’s Discovery Museum, housed in a nineteenth century Victorian home, will close permanently when the new museum opens.

According to the museum, success of the Campaign for the Discovery Museum, which helped fund the new building and Discovery Woods, an accessible nature playscape and treehouse that opened in July 2016, was linked to $4 million in matching grants from The Manton Foundation. This includes a $3 million leadership challenge completed in late 2015, a year ahead of deadline, and an additional $1 million community challenge completed in late 2017.

The museum said the campaign also received significant gifts from the Sheth Sangreal Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund. In addition, more than 200 individuals and organizations contributed to the campaign, 37% of those were first-time donors to the museum.

The new, ADA-compliant museum building is designed to be accessible by the widest possible range of people, without regard to age or ability.

Laura Huerta Migus, executive director of the Association of Children’s Museums, said, “Many in our field will be looking to learn from the museum’s Universal Design-based transformation, particularly the use of user experts as project advisors, and I expect it will serve as a model for best practices moving forward.”

Last July, the museum completed Phase 1 of its master plan, a $1.5 million project to develop Discovery Woods. In the months following the opening of Discovery Woods, museum visitation was up 30%.

The museum will feature new exhibits, including an interactive display of Leonardo da Vinci's workshop and galleries focused on simple machines, sound, math, water, and light.

Discovery Museum was founded in 1982 and served 40,000 visitors that year. According to the Boston Business Journal, it received 195,000 visitors in 2016. 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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