Museum of Science announces its first $250 million capital campaign

April 19, 2011

Honors Genzyme and Raytheon for contributions to STEM education

BOSTON, Mass.— Today, the Museum of Science, Boston announced its first comprehensive Capital Campaign of $250 million, the largest fundraising effort in its 180-year history. The announcement was made at the Museum's annual gala, The Science Behind the Stars, which honored Cambridge-based Genzyme and Waltham-based Raytheon companies as the Museum's first "Stars of STEM" for their contributions to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.

"With the leadership of companies like Genzyme and Raytheon, I know we will realize the Museum's ambitious vision of transforming the nation's relationship with science and technology and sparking exploration of the natural and engineered worlds," says MEDITECH president and CEO Howard Messing, chairman of the Museum's board of trustees. "To date, our National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) has introduced engineering to nearly 1.8 million children in classrooms across the country. Equally important, our core mission as one of the world's most innovative interactive science centers is as vital as ever."

In 2004, the Museum began to explore with key supporters and foundations the possibility of a campaign that would support a new vision and master plan to transform the Museum experience for the 21st century. Funds raised will be dedicated to building compelling new exhibits integrating the natural and designed worlds; enhancing educational programming; upgrading the Museum's public spaces; and "greening" the Museum.

"We have made spectacular progress," says Ioannis Miaoulis, the Museum's president and director. "Together with our benefactors and strategic partners we will realize our vision and reach the broadest possible audience with exciting programs, timely exhibits, and bold initiatives that attract and engage area residents as well as people around the world."

More than 10,000 individuals, corporations, foundations, and the government helped the Museum raise $150 million during the quiet phase of the campaign from 2004 to 2010 -- with the Museum's single largest individual gift being $20 million gift from Sophia and Bernard Gordon. During this phase, exhibitions, programs, and projects have included the NCTL, the Charles Hayden Planetarium, the nation's first rooftop wind turbine lab, and upgrades of the Mugar Omni Theater. Campaign contributions include a $2 million gift from Genzyme Corporation in 2006, which established the Genzyme Biotechnology Education Initiative, the largest single corporate gift in the Museum's history. In addition, Raytheon has been the Museum's longest-standing continuous supporter. On April 6, 2011, Google announced a $1 million award to the Museum for science education, the third gift since 2009 from the company, which has local offices in Cambridge.

Based on the success of the quiet phase, the Museum's board of trustees approved the $250 million campaign, after a feasibility and planning study conducted by The Wayland Group. According to campaign co-chairs Richard Burnes Jr., Museum trustee, former board chair, and general partner, Charles River Ventures, and Gwill York, Museum trustee, and managing director, Lighthouse Capital Partners, the goal is to raise the remaining $100 million by 2015. Fundraising will be from the inside out with programmatic goals inspiring the building's construction and renovation. The plan calls for the Museum to direct $40.7 million to Exhibits and Educational Programs, $33.3 million to Facility Transformation, $15 million to Endowment, and $11 million to the Annual Fund.

At the Museum's February Planetarium opening, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Boston native, shared his childhood memories of the Museum, which had sparked his personal donation to the renovation of the Charles Hayden Planetarium. "What I learned from this Museum changed my world. I learned to question, to think. The first-hand impact that an institution like this can have on one person is something I understand. For all the money we spend on education and all we talk about policies, education is one teacher dialoguing with one student. To me that teacher was the Museum of Science."

The campaign will underwrite the Museum's plans to:

  • Transform its exhibits and galleries to tell the story of the natural and designed worlds and their extraordinary connections (Green Wing highlighting the natural world and Blue Wing, the engineered one);
  • Update and transform its public spaces and amenities, focusing on sustainable systems and materials without enlarging the Museum's footprint;
  • Champion the growing integration of engineering into curricula, forming partnerships with museums throughout the world enabling visitors to connect with their counterparts in other countries;
  • Develop an expanded role for science centers worldwide as conveners of forums on critical issues that involve citizen discussion and deliberation to inform science and technology policy;
  • Maximize use of technology to enhance the onsite and online educational experience with media-rich, personalized interactions.

Educational goals to drive construction: The Museum will create a physical presence communicating the excitement of its mission, enabling the exhibits, programs, and infrastructure it envisions, and enhancing accessibility. Guided by principles of sustainability and universal design, the Museum's innovative educational program for transforming its galleries will drive changes. Examples include:

  • Hall of Human Life - a new kind of educational experience exploring health and human biology. The 10,000-square-foot exhibit will showcase accelerating breakthroughs in biology, as viewed through the evolutionary, anatomical, and environmental lenses in particular. Content for this ever-changing exhibit will draw on the New England's dynamic research community based in academia, healthcare, and business. Logging into an eventual worldwide virtual community, visitors will take biometric measurements of themselves, compare their data to that of other visitors, and respond to "Provocative Questions" to encourage critical thinking.
  • What is Technology - This gallery will help visitors understand what technology is and introduce them to the human-made world with intriguing examples of technologies created as humans engage in engineering skills to solve problems.
  • Charles River Gallery - an important component in transforming the New England Habitats area and opening up the Museum to the river.

More details to follow in Summer 2011.

About the Museum of Science: One of the world's largest science centers and Boston's most attended cultural institution, the Museum attracts over 1.5 million visitors a year through programs and 700 interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830, the Museum was first to embrace all the sciences under one roof. Highlights include the Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, 3-D Digital Cinema and Butterfly Garden. Reaching 25,000 teens a year worldwide via the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, the Museum also leads a 10-year, $41 million National Science Foundation-funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network of science museums. The Museum's "Science Is an Activity" exhibit plan has been awarded many NSF grants and influenced science centers worldwide. The NCTL enhances knowledge of engineering and technology for people of all ages. Visit http://www.mos.org.

Press Contacts

Sofiya Cabalquinto: (617) 589-0251, scabalquinto@mos.org

Lauren Crowne: (617) 589-0250, lcrowne@mos.org