Our philosophy starts with the simple belief that kids are capable of incredible things. Our job is to nurture that ability; our goal is to support kids' healthy development. Play is how kids learn--here, it is in both a STEM-rich environment and inviting outdoor experience.
Our Terrific Teen Volunteers
I ventured into the Discovery Woods treehouse on a quiet afternoon to find a young visitor building a large tower of KEVA planks with Varun, one of the museum’s Explorers. The tower was high enough that the boy was standing on a stool as he and Varun neatly laid block after block into a tall, tilted configuration.
As the structure grew, they had to carefully place each piece, talking back and forth as they worked together. I was impressed by the collaboration between two people who had just met—a boy visiting the museum with his family, and Varun, one of our high school volunteers. When I left, the creation was still growing, and the two began to discuss methods to keep the tower strong and tall without collapsing.
We are lucky to see so many great interactions that illustrate the impact that our volunteers make on the families and groups who visit the Discovery Museum each day. Many high schoolers join our Teen Volunteer Program to gain experience working with children and to build and develop new skills. Over the past year, nearly 200 volunteers donated their time here—in fact, we have several teen volunteers who have logged hundreds of hours at the museum.
Volunteering for more than 100 hours in a year qualifies teenagers and young adults for the President’s Volunteer Service Award, a national recognition of dedication to community service administered through their schools. Two of our volunteers, Christine Xiang and Max Campo, are grateful to receive that recognition, but they insist that their time here reaches much further.
Christine, a current student at Acton-Boxborough Regional High School (ABRHS), volunteers regularly during the museum’s Free Friday Nights and Especially for Me events; she has logged more than 450 hours with us since 2016.
“I continue to volunteer because I think it's really important to give back to the community you live in,” she says. “Explorers are an integral part of the visitor experience, and I try my best to make that experience a good one.”
Another one of our dedicated volunteers is Max Campo. Max grew up visiting the Discovery Museum with his family, and he graduated from ABRHS this spring. Over the past two years, Max has spent over 300 hours volunteering at the museum.
Max explains, “My favorite thing is interacting with the visitors to create the kind of experience I had when I was a kid and visited the museum regularly. Being able to help a kid discover something new or exciting is extremely rewarding.”
While Christine and Max are only two of our high school volunteers, their perspectives are shared by many others. Time spent volunteering at the Discovery Museum is not just a job; it is time spent giving back to the community and an experience filled with curiosity, discovery, and fun!
Volunteers are a major part of the visitor experience, and they contribute to the unique learning environment at the museum. Their dedication and enthusiasm create a positive community and atmosphere for all volunteers, staff, and visitors. We are fortunate to have a strong group of committed, passionate volunteers who create powerful moments here every day.
As the Assistant Director of Visitor Experiences, I enjoy working with staff and volunteers to create positive experiences for our visitors of all ages. I joined the Discovery Museum after working in museum education and visitor services and completing an MA in Archaeological Studies at Yale University. Studying archaeology includes an exploration of history, art, and language, but archaeology also utilizes science and math to understand early cultures. I love that at the Discovery Museum, we are always finding ways to incorporate practical applications of science into education and highlighting the intersection of arts and sciences for our visitors.
We firmly believe in the fundamental value of play for children—and families—to support emotional, developmental, and social health and well-being. This blog will explore why play matters, and touch on all aspects of our work to encourage play and support early STEAM learning.
- brain development
- screen time
- universal design
- conservation land
- early learning
- exhibit development