Welcome to the Museum of Science, one of the world's largest science centers and Boston's most visited cultural institution. For years, the Museum has moved visitors to think like scientists through hands-on, minds-on experiences. Today, with 1.5 million visitors a year, we are redefining the way people think about, learn about, and interact with science and technology.
This is an exciting time in the life of the Museum. We have long been a regional and national leader among science museums; now we are poised to play a significant role in building technological literacy, an understanding of the human-made world. For example, our National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) harnesses the Museum's engaging approach to education to inspire children, educators, and the public to learn how things work in schools and museums across the country.
We have also expanded our role as a partner in education, serving teachers, parents, and students as a community resource. Dynamic new exhibits foster lifelong curiosity about science and engineering and support what children are learning in school. Our Educator Resource Center offers models and materials to help teachers integrate engineering and technology into their science curricula. And expanded outreach efforts — such as Traveling Programs, courses, the Computer Clubhouse, and numerous other initiatives — encourage a love of science and technology in all our regional communities.
Photo © Nicolaus Czarneck
We continue as a leader in encouraging girls and underrepresented groups to pursue the sciences. Our many educational programs and more than 700 interactive exhibits invite girls and boys of all colors, backgrounds, and cultures to touch, test, take apart, as we explore new ways to motivate young women, African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and people with disabilities to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
The Museum of Science has an extraordinary story to tell: new interactive exhibits; leadership in technological literacy; attention to pioneering discoveries in biomedical and life sciences. We invite you to visit. Discover how this dynamic national institution has inspired people and changed lives since 1830. It might even change yours.
In January 2003, Ioannis (Yannis) N. Miaoulis became president and director of the Museum of Science, Boston. Originally from Greece, Dr. Miaoulis came to the Museum after a distinguished association with Tufts University, where he was Dean of the School of Engineering, Associate Provost, Interim Dean of the University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering. In addition to helping Tufts raise $100 million for its engineering school, Miaoulis greatly increased the number of female students and faculty, designed collaborative programs with industry, and more than doubled research initiatives. An innovative educator with a passion for science and engineering, Miaoulis championed the introduction of engineering into the Massachusetts science and technology public school curriculum. This made the Commonwealth first in the nation in 2001 to develop a K – 12 curriculum framework and assessments for technology/engineering. At Tufts, he created courses based on students' and his own passions for fishing and cooking: a fluid mechanics course from the fish's point of view and Gourmet Engineering, where students cook in a test kitchen, explore heat transfer, and eat their experiments.
His dream is to make everyone scientifically and technologically literate. Miaoulis has seized the opportunity as the Museum's president to achieve his vision, convinced science museums can bring government, industry, and education leaders together to foster a scientifically and technologically literate citizenry. One of the world's largest science centers and Boston's most attended cultural institution, the Museum of Science is ideally positioned to lead the nationwide effort. The Museum drew 1.6 million visitors in the fiscal period ending June 30, 2012, including nearly 211,000 school children, and served almost 97,000 more people in Traveling Programs. Receiving the Massachusetts Association of School Committees' 2005 Thomas P. O'Neill Award for Lifetime Service to Public Education, the Museum was also ranked #3 of the 10 best science centers in 2008 by Parents Magazine, one of the top two most visited hands-on science centers on Forbestraveler.com's "America's 25 most visited museums" list in 2008, and one of the top two science museums in the Zagat Survey's "U.S. Family Travel Guide." The Museum is also Yankee Magazine's "Best of New England Readers' Choice" for Cultural Attraction in Science and its "Best of New England – Editors' Choice" for Best Sky Show; and El Planeta's Best Tourist Attraction for the Massachusetts Latino population.
With the Museum's boards of trustees and overseers, Miaoulis spearheaded creation of the National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®) at the Museum in 2004. Supported by corporate, foundation, and federal funds, the NCTL aims to enhance knowledge of engineering and technology for people of all ages and to inspire the next generation of engineers, inventors, and scientists. The Museum of Science is the country's only science museum with a comprehensive strategy and infrastructure to foster technological literacy in both science museums and schools nationwide. Through the NCTL, the Museum is creating technology exhibits and programs and integrating engineering as a new discipline in schools via standards-based K – 12 curricular reform.
Recognizing that a 21st-century curriculum must include the human-made world, the NCTL advances technological literacy in schools by helping states modify educational standards and assessments, by designing K – 12 engineering materials, and by offering educators professional development. The NCTL's curricula have reached over 42,200 teachers and close to 3 million students in 50 states. The Museum's Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibition, created with Lucasfilm Ltd., and funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), is promoting technological literacy to over 2.3 million people in museums nationally and in Australia. In 2010 the NCTL won the Smaller Business Association of New England Innovation Award.
In 2008, enlivening the Museum's natural history roots, Dr. Miaoulis oversaw the unveiling of one of the world's rarest dinosaur fossil finds, a near-complete Triceratops, on loan from an anonymous Museum enthusiast. Another element in Miaoulis's vision involves enhancing the Museum experience for everyone, paying special attention to adults, females, and underserved audiences. In addition to opening the Butterfly Garden and the 3-D Digital Cinema, Miaoulis has led the transformation of the Museum's eateries into the Riverview Café, supervised by its catering and food service provider, renowned chef-restaurateur Wolfgang Puck.
In April 2011, the board of trustees approved a $250 million Campaign to transform the Museum's Exhibit Halls to tell the interconnected story of the natural and engineered worlds; to enhance our public spaces and amenities, focusing on sustainable systems and materials; to expand the Museum's K – 12 engineering curricula program; to further develop forums and engaging programs for adult museumgoers; and to increase levels of endowment support and unrestricted annual giving.
The Campaign for the Museum of Science is the first comprehensive capital campaign in the Museum's distinguished 180-year history. Guided by a three-phase, fifteen-year master plan, the Campaign will provide much-needed infrastructure support for our landmark facility. In addition, the Campaign will ensure that the Museum has the resources necessary to meet our commitment to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, on the Museum floor and in the classroom.
Under Miaoulis's leadership, the Museum has strengthened its financial position, diversifying its revenue sources and increasing its annual operating budget by 60 percent. Since 2005, the Museum of Science, with the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Exploratorium in San Francisco, has led the formation of a national Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Network) of science museums and research institutions and was recently awarded a second five-year $21 million grant by the NSF to expand efforts. In the fiscal period ending June 30, 2012, the Museum's Annual Fund reached $2.6 million, individual/family/library membership income totaled $6 million, and member households exceeded 54,000. Gifts and pledges for NCTL-led formal and informal technology education initiatives have reached nearly $86 million, underlining the importance of the Museum's strategy for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
Miaoulis speaks often on science and technology literacy. He testified on the importance of K – 12 engineering in 2009 before the U.S. House of Representatives Research & Science Education Subcommittee and in 2010 before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. He also built support for the first Engineering Education for Innovation Act, which was crafted by the NCTL and introduced in 2010 by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and House Representative Paul Tonko and in 2011 by them with Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe.
Miaoulis earned bachelor's and doctorate degrees in mechanical engineering and a master's in economics at Tufts, and received a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has published over 100 research papers and holds two patents. He has also been honored with the Presidential Young Investigator award, the Allan MacLeod Cormack Award for Excellence in Collaborative Research, the William P. Desmond Award for outstanding contributions to Public Education, the Boston Jaycees Outstanding Young Leader Award, and a Mellon Fellowship. A former WGBH Trustee, Miaoulis has co-chaired the Mass. Technology/Engineering Education Advisory Board. He is a 2011 winner of the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) Ralph Coats Roe Medal. Named in 2006 by President George W. Bush to the National Museum and Library Services Board, Miaoulis has also served on the NASA Advisory Council, receiving NASA's Exceptional Public Service Medal in 2009; he is presently on the NASA Education and Public Outreach Committee. A member of Mass. Governor Deval Patrick's Commonwealth Readiness Project Leadership Council, he also serves on the Executive Committee of Gov. Patrick's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Advisory Council. Miaoulis is a member of the boards of trustees of Wellesley College and Tufts University and serves on the Lesley University Leadership Council.
Photo © Michael Malyszko