Yawkey Foundation Awards $10 Million to the Museum of Science to Create the Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River

January 29, 2013

Boston – The Yawkey Foundation is awarding the Museum of Science, Boston $10 million to create a spectacular three-story gallery and exhibit space located in the heart of the Museum. The Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River will use the Charles River basin and watershed to engage visitors of all ages and backgrounds in understanding the natural and engineered worlds and their delicate interrelationship.

Capitalizing on the Museum's unique location spanning the Charles River, the new gallery, which will encompass more than 5,000 sq. ft., is the centerpiece of Museum President and Director Ioannis (Yannis) Miaoulis's vision. The goal is for the Museum to articulate one all-encompassing story connecting the engineered and natural worlds by transforming its two major wings. Overlooking unparalleled vistas of the river and skylines with 50-foot high windows, the Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River will signal a new era for the Museum.

"The Trustees of the Yawkey Foundation are thrilled to support the Museum's effort to transform this central space into a dramatic three-story gallery and exhibit on the Charles River," says James P. Healey, President and Trustee, Yawkey Foundation. "The Yawkeys were steadfast champions of programs that inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to appreciate science and engineering. We believe that the Museum of Science can tell the story of the natural and engineered worlds through the Charles River better than any museum in the world."

The $10 million grant will greatly expand the Yawkey Foundation's 32-year commitment to the Museum. Throughout his lifetime, Tom Yawkey had a keen interest in science as an engineering student at Yale University and later through his dedication to land conservation and wildlife protection projects. Since 1980, the support of Jean Yawkey and the Yawkey Foundation has enabled thousands of New England's disadvantaged youth to experience the Museum's educational offerings. Support from the Yawkey Foundation also enriched the popular Museum exhibitions Stars Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination and Baseball As America.

When the Yawkey Gallery is unveiled in late 2015, Museum guests will immediately be drawn to dynamic video displays on the bridge overhead presenting evocative images of nature, science, and technology. The gallery will be a place of discovery with fish and animal habitats; plant exhibits; water features; interactive maps and learning tools; new LED screens; energy-efficient, electronically tintable glass windows; and access to an outdoor garden space, offering the Museum's first indoor-outdoor educational experience. Visitors will be able to see, touch, and experience the natural and engineered elements that have emerged in the river and environs.

The linchpin of the Museum's $21.2 million renovation of its entrance, lobby, and box office, the Yawkey Gallery will tell the story of the basin's natural habitat and the highly engineered development of Boston and Cambridge via vibrant interactive programs interpreting the river, its history, and its ecosystems.

"We are honored by the Foundation's extraordinary generosity and faith in us," says Miaoulis. "This signature gallery will give our region a rich resource that connects us all – an exhibit about the Charles River on the Charles River – underscoring the significance of the region with the Yawkeys' and our shared missions," says Miaoulis, who celebrates 10 years at the Museum this month.

Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc., is the architect with whom the Museum has partnered on master planning for the entire facility and conceptual design of the gallery. Further design development for the Yawkey Gallery and related renovations will begin in spring 2013 with construction starting in early 2015 and completion in December 2015.

The Yawkey Foundation's gift is part of The Campaign for the Museum of Science, which is targeted at transforming more than half of the Museum’s 130,000 square feet of gallery space. With this $10 million gift, the Museum has raised $209 million -- and is well on its way to meeting its $250 million campaign goal by 2015. The campaign supports exhibits, programs, and facility improvements that explore the duality of our natural and engineered worlds and enhance the visitor experience and the Museum's sustainability efforts.

About the Yawkey Foundation

The Yawkey Foundations were established more than 30 years ago to further serve the family's many charitable goals. The mission of the Yawkey Foundations is to continue the charitable legacy of Tom and Jean Yawkey by making grants that provide immediate, significant and positive impact on the quality of life of youth, families and the underserved, primarily in the areas which the Yawkeys called home, New England and Georgetown County, South Carolina. For additional information about the Foundations, visit their website at http://yawkeyfoundation.org.

About the Museum of Science

One of the world's largest science centers and Boston's most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces about 1.5 million visitors a year to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) via dynamic programs and hundreds of 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. Its National Center for Technological Literacy®'s engineering curricula have reached more than 47,000 teachers and 4 million students nationwide. The Museum has also: been recognized by Boston and Cambridge for its energy and sustainability efforts; named an Employer of Choice by Work Without Limits, a Massachusetts disability employment initiative; is Yankee Magazine's "Best of New England Readers' Choice" for Cultural Attraction in Science; is El Planeta's Best Tourist Attraction for the Massachusetts Latino population; and Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun was recognized as the "Best Immersive—Fulldome Program" by the Jackson Hole Science Media Awards. Visit http://www.mos.org. Follow the Museum of Science on Twitter at @MuseumOfScience or Facebook at www.facebook.com/museumofscience.

Press Contacts

AJ Gosselin: 617.589.0251 or agosselin@mos.org