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Washburn Challenge

Bradford Washburn, founding director of the Museum of Science, was a world-renowned mountaineer, cartographer, and nature photographer. Climbers today still use the map of Mount Washington created by Washburn over fifty years ago. Support for the Washburn Challenge helps us pay tribute to our founder's vision while helping to sustain our mission of promoting scientific and technological literacy to New England, and to the nation.

History of the Washburn Challenge

In 2007, Museum Trustee Michael G. Thonis created the Washburn Challenge as a unique fundraiser for the Museum of Science. Michael asked family and friends to support him in a personal challenge to climb Mount Washington -- the highest peak in the Northeast -- twice in one day. Although there are other sponsored climbs of this mountain, the Museum of Science is the only organization to arrange a double climb and - in 2016 - a triple climb!  Thonis chose this mountain because of its close connection with the Museum's late founding director, Bradford Washburn. He climbs in honor of his father, who frequented the Museum as a child and helped inspire Thonis' own spirit of adventure and love of science, particularly Geology.  In 2016, for the 10th anniversary celebration, Thonis successfully tested his endurance by climbing Mount Washington three times in a single day, paying tribute to Washburn, his father, and all the friends and family who have supported and continue to support him during his hikes.

The Challenge Today

To expand participation to those all over the world, the Washburn Challenge is now a hybrid event! You can join in from any location, by hiking a mountain or trail of your choice, or by creating your own physical challenge tailored to your lifestyle. This makes it possible for more families, groups, or individuals to experience the essence of the Washburn Challenge independently while coming together to raise critical funds for STEM education.

Pick Your Peak!

Do you have the attitude for altitude? Check out this year’s page for details and how you can earn hiking gear while raising critical funds for the Museum of Science.