Your NEW museum is ready!

Neil Gordon
March 1, 2018
exterior view of the museum building

Your new museum is ready!

It’s time to celebrate, to take pride in what we’ve accomplished, and to express tremendous gratitude to everyone who helped us get here. For so long, this day seemed impossibly far away. Now that we’ve made it, we can take a collective breath and simply savor this extraordinary moment.

It’s been thrilling in recent months to watch the building transform from a construction site into the museum we’ve been envisioning: a place that’s new, but honors our past; a larger, more accessible building that’s still comfortable and welcoming; a place with exhibits that are fresh and modern, yet still inspire children the same way we always have, through the simple joys of hands-on play and discovery.

At the Discovery Museum, there’s a lot that’s new: Brain Building Together, a space dedicated to children from birth through age three and their caregivers, focused on healthy early brain development; A-Mazing Airways, a 13-foot-tall interactive sculpture of tubes and blowers for exploring the properties of air flow; Yes! It’s Math, a gallery that uses real-world, visual interpretations of math concepts to show that math is all around us, and it’s fun!; and so much more.

Visitors will also find familiar favorites: Backyard at Night, the Ship Room, the Train Room, Bessie’s Diner, and a reproduction façade of the much loved Children’s Discovery Museum exterior—complete with a mini Bessie. What’s new about these spaces is that they’re fully accessible to visitors of all abilities, ages, and learning styles. Our long-time commitment to creating inclusive learning experiences is unwavering. This new museum lets us demonstrate that in exciting new ways to our growing and increasingly diverse audience.

None of this would have been possible without the support of our donors, Board of Directors, and staff, our wonderful home community of Acton, and our many supporters at the State House and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Central to the success of the Campaign for the Discovery Museum was $4 million in matching grants from The Manton Foundation. The campaign also received significant gifts from the Sheth Sangreal Foundation, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund. It also benefitted from the generosity of more than 300 individuals and organizations, 56 of which contributed $10,000 or more. Of our campaign supporters, 33% of were first-time donors to the museum.

Finally, I must acknowledge the unfaltering dedication of our staff throughout this long, but rewarding, process. Every detail, from the kid-sized stools in Bessie’s diner to the 11-foot- wide da Vinci Ornithopter was meticulously planned, a testament to the devotion our staff has to giving families a playful place for hands-on learning. We invite you to come explore for yourselves. Welcome to your new Discovery Museum!

photo of CEO Neil Gordon standing with treehouse in background
Neil Gordon

I joined the museum in September 2009, and feel lucky to serve this terrific community of kids, families and supporters. After serving as Budget Director for the City of Boston, my museum career began in 1995 at Boston Children’s Museum, where I served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. My priorities for the Discovery Museum include supporting kids and families to play and learn together; expanding outdoor learning; increasing access for underserved populations; and building upon our year history to create a museum for the next 30 years.

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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 STEM learning.