Museum of Science, Boston closes $250 million campaign, topping goal by $34 million

June 19, 2015

Museum of Science, Boston closes $250 million campaign, topping goal by $34 million

For first time, women will chair both trustee and overseer boards

BOSTON -- On June 30, 2015, the Museum of Science, Boston will complete its $250 million campaign, exceeding its goal by $34 million. In 2011, announcing the largest fundraising effort in its 185-year history, the Museum embarked on the transformation of more than half of its 130,000 square feet of gallery space to tell the story of the natural and engineered worlds, enhance visitor experience, and make the facility more sustainable.

"Thanks to our extraordinary benefactors and partners -- some of whom have run marathons and climbed mountains to support us -- we have made spectacular progress," says Museum president and director Ioannis Miaoulis. "We are ready to take on the future. Our goal is to become the leading science center worldwide in expanding the public's access to, understanding of, and critical thinking around engineering, technology, and the sciences."

Outlining a bold vision for the next decade, Museum trustees approved a Long-Range Plan, building on its strengths as one of world's largest centers for dynamic, interactive science and technology exhibits and programs and its growing leadership in K-12 engineering education, nationally and globally.

At the June 18 annual meeting of trustees and overseers, the Museum elected its first female board chairs to serve simultaneously: Gwill York, co-founder and managing director of Lighthouse Capital Partners, leading trustees, and Christine Bellon, vice president of legal affairs, Blueprint Medicines, leading overseers.

Says York, "Moving forward, we will strive to expand the Museum's reach, physically and virtually, at the local, national, and international levels, optimize visitors' physical and digital experience, broaden participation across the lifespan, leverage our leadership in K-12 engineering education, and secure the Museum's future."

The Museum has achieved many milestones because of the visionary leadership of Miaoulis, guided by outgoing board chair MEDITECH president Howard Messing, and a new culture of philanthropy created by senior vice president of advancement Joan Hadly, retiring July 1. Ellie Starr, former vice dean, office of external relations at the Harvard School of Public Health, will succeed her.

Museum campaign highlights span:

  • The 2004 launch of the National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®), which has reached an estimated 8.3 million students and 90,200 teachers; Gordon Current Science & Technology Center; and construction of the Gordon Wing, NCTL headquarters and home of Museum exhibits, education, and research & evaluation teams, all inspired by $25 million in gifts from The Gordon Foundation, established by Sophia and Bernard M. Gordon, the Museum's single largest private donor;
  • Transformation of the Charles Hayden Planetarium, which reopened in 2011 as New England's most technologically advanced digital theater;
  • Unveiling The Hall of Human Life, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition, drawing from the latest discoveries in the life sciences to engage visitors in their own biology and health;
  • The June 28 world premiere of The Science Behind Pixar, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition exploring the science, technology, engineering, math and computer science concepts used by Pixar Animation Studios to create their award-winning films and lovable characters;
  • Development of the Yawkey Gallery on the Charles River, opening in 2016, capitalizing on the Museum's unique river location to introduce visitors to the natural and engineered worlds;
  • Continuing transformation of the lobby, box office, concourse and entrance, and enhancements greening the facility, including solar panels and the nation's first rooftop wind turbine lab.

Positioning itself as the region's only institution dedicated to STEM education in and beyond the classroom, the Museum has attracted science and technology leaders such as former Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer, Brit d'Arbeloff, and former Museum board chair Rick Burnes, general partner, Charles River Ventures. Museum "alumni" include luminaries such as Vanu Bose, who as a boy loved the Museum's technology exhibits, and philanthropist and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose boyhood memories sparked a Planetarium gift. The Museum also created new ways to spark involvement:

  • The Colonel Francis T. Colby Society and Award, honoring philanthropic leaders and volunteers at a special annual dinner, where the recipient of the Walker Prize for outstanding published scientific discovery addresses guests;
  • The annual signature event, Science Behind the Stars, recognizing companies and foundations as Stars of STEM including Microsoft, Biogen Idec, Liberty Mutual Insurance, the Noyce Foundation, Intel, Genzyme Corporation, and Raytheon.
  • The Washburn Challenge -- climbing Mount Washington or a "triathlon" of climbing, engineering, and running -- to benefit the Museum and honor late founding director Brad Washburn;
  • A Boston Marathon team, braving harsh winds and frigid temperatures to train and run the 26.2 mile race for the Museum's traveling programs;
  • A campaign to give a 65-million-year-old Triceratops dinosaur fossil, named Cliff, a permanent Museum home.

About The Museum of Science, Boston:

One of the world's largest science centers and Boston's most attended cultural institution, the Museum introduces over 1.4 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 and is the nation's first science museum with a comprehensive strategy and infrastructure to foster technological literacy in museums and schools nationwide. Other highlights include the Hall of Human Life, the Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, Butterfly Garden and 4-D Theater. The Museum has led a 10-year, $41 million National Science Foundation-funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network of science museum and reaches over 20,000 teens a year worldwide via the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network. Visit

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