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June 8, 2017

Dear Friend of the Museums,

On Thursday evening May 18, 150 friends and staff of the museum, donors, advisors, board members, and elected officials gathered to celebrate an important moment in our history: the formal groundbreaking for the new Discovery Museum. It felt very rewarding to take a moment to acknowledge the many years of collective effort to strengthen the museum and put us on a sustainable long-term path.  

We had a simple message for all: The Discovery Museums are about to change a lot...and, not at all.

The event marked the beginning of a construction project that will result in a one-building, fully-accessible museum, one that is better able than ever to serve all children and families in our region. This second phase of our campus master plan follows on the opening last summer of Discovery Woods, which has been received and reviewed incredibly well by our community and beyond.

After many years of hard work on the part of our staff, volunteers, and advisors; after hundreds of thousands of visitors, including parents who grew up here and now bring their children; and with the impact of countless people in our community stepping up as donors and advocates to play a role in our success; this museum—your museum—is poised for an exciting new era.

We will look different, but we won't have changed. What we are about will remain constant:

  • We celebrate play, because play matters. The Discovery Museums are a safe and stimulating place for playing, exploring and growing.
  • We believe in 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.
  • We stand up for science. We know 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. Discovery Museums' kids grow up to be collaborative problem solvers and thoughtful, creative, and curious leaders.
  • And, we stand up for kids—all kids. We make sure that every kid can get a Discovery Museums' experience, regardless of a family's ability to pay or the child's learning differences.

We know that you care about this place, and what happens to it. Please know that our new building is "just" a space, our new exhibits "just" tools for learning. The Discovery Museums' heart and soul and philosophy and "feel"? Well, we are as committed as you are to keeping those the same, and I trust that you will see, feel, and experience this in the new Discovery Museum.

We had some very special guests for our groundbreaking event, which was emceed by our long-time Board member and Building Committee chair Lees Stuntz. We heard from Don Verger, the Founder of the Discovery Museums, who reminded us of our roots while praising our plans to take a new step. Don spoke of how consistent our plans are with his founding vision, and said that the new building will be a "glorious and wonderful thing...a blazing, exciting new start." Don's children grew up at the museum, and Don now regularly visits with his grandchildren. He knows the museum from many perspectives, and so it is very gratifying to know that he lauds our direction.

Senator Jamie Eldridge, speaking on behalf of himself and Representatives Cory Atkins and Jennifer Benson, praised the Museums' many contributions to the community and Commonwealth, and was pleased that the state, through both legislative action and funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, has been able to support this project. Jamie particularly appreciates our commitment to accessibility, and said "...it is exciting to see this beautiful, inspiring space to take shape, so it can support more kids through accessibility."

Capital Campaign co-chair Jeff Glidden wrapped up the event speeches by thanking the more than 150 families, foundations, businesses, and government entities that have quietly contributed more than $8.2 million toward our project budget of $8.4 million over the last three years. He noted the incredible support of The Manton Foundation through two challenge grants totaling $4M.

Jeff also asked YOU to help spread the word: "Please encourage everyone who has loved this museum, all who believe we are an important regional asset, to help us finish this campaign through our Ready Set Build! fundraising drive." As Jeff noted, we have "just" $196,000 left to go to reach our $8.4 million goal, and construction begins in June!

If you have questions or thoughts about our project or would like to help make it a success, I would love to hear from you at ngordon@discoverymuseums.org.  

All the best,

    

 

 

Neil H. Gordon
Chief Executive Officer