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Museum of science

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Museum of Science, Boston, Massachusetts (USA) Profile

One of the world’s largest science centers and New England’s most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces about 1.4 million visitors a year to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) via dynamic programs and hundreds of interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830 as the Boston Society of Natural History, the Museum is located on the Charles River with spectacular views of the Boston and Cambridge skylines. It was the first museum to embrace all the sciences under one roof.

In June 2015, the Museum unveiled its newest exhibition, The Science Behind Pixar, a 10,000-square-foot space exploring the science, technology, engineering, math and computer science concepts used by Pixar Animation Studios to create their award-winning films. Through screen-based and physical activities, visitors try out computational thinking skills, hear from Pixar’s production teams, and immerse themselves in animated worlds filled with human-size recreations of Buzz Lightyear, Mike and Sulley, and WALL•E. The Museum’s summer attendance was the best in 17 years.

Other Museum offerings include the Hall of Human Life, a groundbreaking 10,000-square-foot exhibition drawing from the latest discoveries in the life sciences to engage visitors in their own biology and health; the Thomson Theater of Electricity, home of the world’s largest air-insulated Van de Graaff generator; the newly transformed Charles Hayden Planetarium; the Mugar Omni Theater, a 180-degree domed theater; a new 4-D Theater; Colossal Fossil: Triceratops Cliff; the nation’s first rooftop Wind Turbine Lab; a Butterfly Garden, and an Art & Science Gallery. Home to some 130 animals representing some 50 species, the Museum is one of only two science centers in the United States to earn accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

In 1999, the Museum of Science incorporated The Computer Museum, bringing its focus on computing technology and engaging interactive exhibits to Science Park. In 2001, the Museum opened The Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, which offers breaking news with interpretation by Museum educators and presentations by scientists and inventors. In 2004, the Museum launched the National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®). In 2015, its NCTL received the National Science Board’s Public Service Award. Its award-winning curricula have reached 9.6 million students and 106,000 teachers in 50 states.

The Museum has also promoted technological literacy to 3 million people in museums nationally and in Australia via Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibition, created with Lucasfilm Ltd. Museum of Science educators have also engaged more than 600,000 young visitors – 53% of them female — in Design Challenges at the Museum, involving the engineering design cycle. Since 2005 the Museum has also led a 10-year, $41 million National Science Foundation-funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network of science museums, reaching 30 million people.

An independent, non-profit institution with a vibrant Educator Resource Center and Teacher Partner Program, the Museum also provides important resources for teachers — field trip workshops, pre- and post-visit activities, and professional development in K-12 engineering. The Museum invites 2,500-3,000 Boston Public School second graders a year from disadvantaged neighborhoods to explore the wonders of science for free through its Eye Opener Program. Since 2000, more than 338,000 visitors (many from underrepresented areas) have enjoyed free and/or discounted admission to the Museum or participated in its community events. The Museum also offers adult programs and forums with courses, traveling, and overnight programs for children.

In the global Intel Computer Clubhouse Network modeled on the Museum’s flagship Clubhouse, over 20,000 underserved youths are changing their lives through the creative use of technology and support of adult mentors.

The Museum has been recognized by Boston and Cambridge for its energy and sustainability efforts; named an Employer of Choice by Work Without Limits, and led the National Geographic website list of “10 Great Science Museums in the USA.”

The Museum features a Museum Store and Museum Café with food provided by Wolfgang Puck, as well as unique event spaces such as the Skyline Room, which offers stunning views of the Charles River, Boston, Back Bay and Cambridge through two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows. The Museum is also a departure site for the amphibious Boston Duck Tour vehicles “splashing” into the Charles River from March until December 1. The Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 617/723-2500, visit mos.org, find the Museum on Facebook at www.facebook.com/museumofscience or Twitter at @museumofscience.

The Museum of Science is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.