Capital Campaign



Ready, Set, Build!  Building for kids, families, and the future

This year, The Discovery Museums will completely renovate and expand the Science Discovery Museum building!  Over six months, new spaces will be created for playing, learning, and exploring, and the entire structure, top to bottom, will be made accessible, incorporating universal design principles. The classic Discovery Museums exhibits you know and love the most will be made accessible and reinstalled, and we’ll add wonderful new exhibit spaces focusing on early childhood, inventing/tinkering, math, water, and air. 

Be a part of the transformation of the place you love.

We ask every person whose life has been touched by The Discovery Museums to make a special investment in its future. The size of the gift is not important—what is important is that this building reflect the support and love of its entire community. 


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Help us change a lot—and, not at all!

We know that you care about this place and what happens to it. Our new building will be just a space, our new exhibits tools for learning. But, The Discovery Museums’ heart and soul and philosophy and “feel”? We are as committed as you are to keeping those the same! 

The "new" museum will look different, but "we" won’t have changed. We will continue to:

  • Celebrate play, because play matters. The museum will continue to be a safe and stimulating place for playing, exploring and growing.
  • Use real stuff as a basis for learning. Our fire alarms need to have signs that say “This is REAL! Please don’t touch this!” because everything else is meant to be hands-on and many exhibits are built from things you might find at home.
  • Stand up for science. Our work will continue to be rooted in the knowledge that exposing kids to STEM ideas at an early age lets them know that exploration, research, inquiry, testing can produce answers to the world’s questions, both small and large. 
  • Stand up for kids—all kids. We will make sure that every kid can have a Discovery Museum experience, regardless of a family’s ability to pay or the child’s learning differences.

Terrific New and Reimagined Exhibits

The building expansion will double the size of our floor space, making space new exhibits and reimagined experiences that will adhere to our commitment to early STEM learning through hands-on inquiry and investigation, including:

  • a 1,500 square-foot Changing Exhibits Gallery that will allow us to host traveling exhibits that complement our regular collection, as well as offer large-scale longer-term project spaces for building and creating
  • Brain Building Together - focused on visitors aged 0 to 3 and their caregivers and based on the latest in brain development science, this exhibit will show the best ways to support infants' and toddlers' early brain development through interaction and play
  • Sound - we'll make sound visible and even more hands-on for all!
  • Yes, It's Math! - research shows that parents' math anxiety is transferred to their children; our new math exhibit will show adults and kids that math is all around us, every day--and we're naturally good at it!
  • DaVinci Workshop - this space for tinkering, building, and inventing will engage visitors of all ages, with loads of materials, tools of all kinds, and the inspiration to have ideas and bring them to life
  • AirMaze - a 15' freestanding interactive sculpture of tubes with blowers that allows an exciting exploration of the power and wonder of air 
  • Water Room - an enchanting water workshop will allow kids to interact with all of water's wondrous behaviors. Can you spot laminar flow? Know the Coanda effect?
  • Light & Color - this favorite exhibit will be brilliantly reimagined for those with visual impairments, and more vividly engaging for all
  • Simple Machines - balls, ramps, levers, and more!

The Children's Museum Lives On

The original Children's Discovery Museum will no longer be open for everyday use once our new, unified museum opens late in 2017. However, we will recreate the most iconic of that museum's exhibits within a special space inside the new building called Bessie's House. Bessie's House will be a reproduction facade of the existing building (see sketch above), and within it you'll find exhibits scaled for toddlers and preschoolers, and accessible to all: The Train Room, Bessie's Diner, Backyard at Night, and The Ship Room. The Brain Building exhibit described above will also be housed in this more intimate space. 

Frequently Asked Questions—and answers!

If you don't see your question answered below, please email

What will happen to the Children’s museum building? 
The Children’s Discovery Museum will close for regular use when our new, unified building opens in early 2018. We are excited to plan for repurposing the building and we will have more to report as plans develop. 

Will the room with the balls and ramps (we call it the Chain Reaction Room) be in the new building?
We will have a balls-and-ramps exhibit in the new building, in a room that explores all simple machines.

Which other exhibits from the Children’s museum building will be in the new museum?
Every experience in the current Children’s Discovery Museum—balls and ramps, water, air, Bessie’s Diner, the Ship Room, trains, light & color, Backyard at Night—will exist in the new building. Along with what will become new favorites!

Will most of the exhibits in the Science Discovery Museum be preserved?
We have two key goals for our exhibit renovation: to preserve the qualities that have made the current exhibits successful and to ensure that they meet standards of accessibility. With even more exhibit space, the building will have a great mix of old favorites and new experiences done in that Discovery Museums’ style.

Will you be able to preserve the cozy, intimate spaces of the Children’s museum that my toddler loves?
Within the new building will be what we are calling Bessie’s House: a 2-floor space enclosed in a replica façade of the Children’s Discovery Museum (see artist's rendering above). Inside Bessie’s House will be reimagined versions of visitor-favorite exhibits, sized for toddlers and fully accessible, including Bessie’s Diner, Backyard at Night, the Ship Room, and the Train Room. Exhibits for water, air, and simple machines will be elsewhere in the building. And our brand-new Brain Building exhibit will be a dedicated, intimate and cozy space for infants and toddlers and their parents or caregivers to explore together.  

What will happen to Bessie the dinosaur?
Bessie will remain where she is, and will continue to be available for rides and photo opps!  

What are the best things about this building project?
Our physical capacity will double—goodbye wait lists!  Our building will be friendly to all kids—and to parents with strollers.  And our exhibits will be more vivid, more inclusive, even more powerfully engaging and demonstrative than ever before!

Please help us spread the word!

  • Between 2013 and February, 2017, 137 donors to the Campaign for The Discovery Museums quietly contributed more than $8 million, toward a goal of $8.4 million, to help this well-loved treasure grow and provide the access, amenities, and updated experiences its visitors deserve. 
  • In combination, the Campaign and our annual fund have over the last two years been supported by only 300 individual, incredibly generous donors.  We were visited by 195,000 people in 2016.
  • This is an important moment for the Museums and our community—the expansion of our building will allow us not only to increase service to our existing visitors, but to welcome and better serve all members of our community.
  • With the help of each person who values The Discovery Museums, we will ensure a healthy and bright future for our museum and all the children and families we support.


We would be honored to have your support.