Diversity & Inclusion Take Center Stage

Discovery Center is just one of five institutions from around the country chosen to participate in the most recent cohort of the Cultural Competence Learning Institute (CCLI). The Institute is a partnership between the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, the Association of Science and Technology Centers, the Association of Children’s Museums, and the Garibay Group. Its mission is to help museums increase their organizational capacity around diversity, inclusion, and culture.

They define cultural competence as a process of lifelong learning. It results in knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes that allow us to work effectively with others from different cultural backgrounds, increases the ability of organizations to maximize the benefits of diversity within their workforces, and improves the services we offer to our various stakeholders. The CCLI is a year-long program that will help organizations create their own framework regarding diversity and inclusion for staff, visitors, board members, and donors. We’ll keep you up to date as we continue with this process.

Oh, and the Platinum Rule…treat others the way they want to be treated. This is a priority for us this year as we continually work to improve guest experiences for every person that walks through our doors.

We Are Seriously Excited for Spring Break Camp

Etch-A-Sketch. Nerf. Crayola. Robots. Do you really need any more details to prove just how awesome Spring Break Camp is going to be this year? Just in case you do, here’s a little bit about what you can expect to do at camp.

Little Red Wagon (Monday): Is there another symbol more iconic for childhood than the little red wagon? We don’t think so! We’re using the wagon to learn about force and motion and each camper will end the day by creating a wagon of their own.

Dot & Dash (Tuesday): Is your child interested in programming or robotics and just doesn’t know how to get started? We’ll be using the Wonder Workshop’s Dot & Dash robots to teach the principles of programming and then campers will create their own robots using everyday materials.

All Things Nerf (Wednesday): While Discovery Center’s liability insurance doesn’t cover turning the museum into a massive nerf zone, we will be exploring foam and creating targets to learn about probability and precision.

Crayola Creations (Thursday): Have you ever wanted to name your own crayon or create the perfect mixture of your favorite colors? If you answered yes to either question then Crayola Creations is the day for you. We’re making crayons, naming colors, and letting the creative juices flow all day.

Etch-A-Sketch (Facebook): Join us to learn how your doodles are made and shaken away. We’re taking apart an Etch-A-Sketch to see where the magic happens and then making magnetic slime to take home.


Register your Kindergarten – 4th grade student today!


Brew. Or Brew Not. There is No Rye.

May the force be with you on May 4th for our annual Shakesbeer event. We’re in the middle of brewer recruitment season and want to be sure that we have the best beer lineup around. If you’ve got a favorite local or craft brewer, send us their name and we’ll invite them to be part of the event. Or feel free to forward our brewer information packet along. You can find it here.

We know that there are some pretty awesome beer festivals in the area, but none of them are quite like our Shakesbeer. It’s a merry combination of local brewers, delicious food trucks, and interactive Shakespearean actors that you won’t want to miss. We’ve even arranged for a new acting group, Inebriated Shakespeare, to join M-PROV and Murfreesboro Little Theatre. This year we’re kicking it up a notch and paying homage to Star Wars too!

It doesn’t matter if you’ve mastered Jedi mind tricks or the art of the Shakespearean insult, you’ll have a great time at Shakesbeer this year on May 4th!

Wine Down With Us Next Friday

It makes no difference to us if you’re a fine wine connoisseur or just in need of a night out. Wine & Whiskey at the Wetlands is the perfect solution to a long work week and a great way to kick off your weekend. Brought to you in partnership with Stones River Total Beverage, this event features over 125+ wines, whiskeys, or spirits just waiting to become your next favorite drink. Each of the 14 pouring stations will have a vendor on-hand to answer any questions or make recommendations based your taste or menu preferences.

Wine & Whiskey at the Wetlands runs from 5:30 – 8:30 pm so you can come straight from the office or make it a drink stop before dinner with friends. Tickets are available at an early bird rate of $35 each until 11:59 pm on March 1st. But don’t stress if your plans are in flux, you can purchase tickets at the door for just $40.

Ready to get your tickets right now, just click here!



Tai Chi, Chopsticks, Calligraphy and More!

Chinese New Year is an annual celebration that combines ancient traditions with modern day Chinese customs. You may wonder about the relevance of such a celebration in a community where the Asian alone population of the county is just 3.4%. But that is exactly why we continue to celebrate Chinese New Year. 69.57% of survey respondents said they were more likely to attend another cultural event and 65.22% were more likely to talk to their children about other cultures as a direct result of attending the event. That’s the sort of impact that we’re after when we celebrate Chinese New Year, Indian Independence Day, or Hispanic Heritage Month.

Gail Ravnitzky Silberglied encourages museums to be truthtellers and advocates by, “continuing to open their doors, share knowledge, engage new and diverse audiences, foster innovation, and retell the stories from our history.” One of the many ways that Discovery Center continues to serve as a truthteller is to highlight the rich history and traditions of other cultures. By creating opportunities that

allow guests to take a TaiChi class, watch a dragon dance, learn about Chinese ethnomusicology, practice chopstick skills, fold origami to celebrate the Year of the Dog, and meet people from other cultural backgrounds we can expand world views and open minds on a personal level.

This year’s Chinese New Year event served nearly 700 guests! A BIG thank you is in order for the Confucius Institute at MTSU (CIMTSU) and the Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville. The Confucius Institute is a global exchange program with the Hangzhou Normal University of China and helps to promote collaboration between communities in China and Tennessee. CIMTSU facilitated several event activities including origami paper folding, calligraphy, willow pattern plate drawings, a traditional tea ceremony, and classes on Chinese music and instruments. The Chinese  Arts Alliance of Nashville (CAAN) is a group dedicated to promoting an understanding, appreciation, and awareness of Chinese visual arts. This year, the CAAN taught our young guests the praying mantis Tai Chi and performed a traditional Lion Dance. Chinese New Year and other cultural events at Discovery Center have been made possible through generous support from The Nissan Foundation.


We’ve Got the Beat

There’s a soundtrack to our days at Discovery Center. It starts with a gentle whoosh as the front doors open and crescendos into peals of joyful laughter and amazement. With the opening of The Science of Music a few short weeks ago, our unofficial soundtrack now has background music. When you reach the top of the staircase take a left to explore The Science of Music. You’ll find the drum pad room, strings kiosk, and a PVC pipe organ. But there are a few new additions you should check out too. There’s a large staff that resides above the pipe organ with colorful notes arranged into an easy melody. Try to follow it and identify the tune or freestyle and write your own song! After you finish at the pipe organ you can check out our Musicians with Challenges wall. This year we’ve got a feature on Patrick Henry Hughes an accomplished pianist and trumpeter born without eyes or the ability to completely straighten his arms and legs. Be sure to listen to him play before you head over to the whisper dishes. While they seem better suited for a space center, these gigantic plates direct the sound waves of your whisper to a specific point on the complementary dish.

The Science of Music is open through May 2nd and is included with admission.

SPARKing Bright Futures

Are you looking for a great way to engage a young child or help them prepare for school? Look no further than our SPARK! (STEAM Play Achieves Real Knowledge) program. Held on Mondays and Tuesdays for children ages 1-6, SPARK! provides hands-on, minds-on learning experiences for children and their caregivers. Katie Woodward, our Assistant Director of Education, coordinates SPARK! with support from Micki Parsley and Kendall Jobe.

This week we celebrated Children’s Dental Health Month with a visit from our SPARK! sponsors Wild About Smiles. Each SPARK! attendee learned how to properly care for their growing teeth and received a travel tooth care kit from Wild About Smiles. We’ve got the rest of the spring semester planned out and it is full of lessons you won’t want to miss.


March 5 & 6: Balance It Out
March 12 & 13: Inch by Inch
March 19 & 20: Spring Forward
March 26 & 27: Early Spring Garden Walk—also includes time to check progress of the tulip garden planted last fall

A is for April and Animals! The month of April is dedicated to learning all about birds, reptiles, and mammals. You’ll learn about the features that make them unique and meet some of the critters that call Discovery Center home! Keep an eye on our website to stay updated with SPARK! plans for the spring.

SPARK! runs from 9:00 – 10:00 am on Monday and Tuesday mornings. There is a $2 program fee for all children ages 1 and up.

Unwind at Wine & Whiskey at the Wetlands

There’s no better way to celebrate the end of a busy week than Wine & Whiskey at the Wetlands. Surrounded by the serenity of Murfree Spring you’ll feel the stress melt away as you move through the museum to taste an exceptional array of wine and spirits. Wine & Whiskey at the Wetlands is Friday, March 2 from 5:30 – 8:30 pm. At check-in, you’ll receive a sampling guide and map of the museum. Each table has a vendor representative who can make recommendations based on your taste preferences. Then make note of your favorites and rest easy in the knowledge you won’t have another wine aisle meltdown trying to choose the best bottle.

A big thank you to Stones River Total Beverage and Franklin Synergy Bank for their sponsorship of Wine & Whiskey at the Wetlands!

Buy your tickets today

  • Advance Purchase $35 (purchase now through Valentine’s Day using the code VIPWINE for an additional $5 discount!)
  • At the Door $40
  • Designated Driver $15
  • Wine & Shakesbeer Combo Ticket $60 (includes admission to both events!)


Become a Secret Garden Sponsor Today!

Go ahead and raise a gloved hand if you’re looking forward to warm summer temperatures as much as we are. Summers at Discovery Center mean camps, a new exhibit, AND the Secret Garden Party. If you’ve never attended Secret Garden Party, go ahead and pencil us in for Friday, June 1. We’re planning a breezy Italian summer supper at the Georgetown home of Christy Fancher. Accentuated by the verdant views of the Stones River Country Club’s golf course, we are transforming Christy’s backyard into a garden party that will remind you of the Amalfi Coast. With guidance from Modern Vintage Events, our party chairs, Sarah Beth Clark and Katie Lane, are planning a night to remember.

Secret Garden Party sponsorships are a great way to make a positive impact on the community, mix and mingle with Murfreesboro’s finest, and showcase your business or family. For more information or to become a sponsor, email Caitlyn at cbrown@explorethedc.org.

Powered by STEAM

The countdown is on! We are so excited to be working on the second Tennessee STEAM Festival to be held October 12-21, 2018. The Leadership Council and staff teams have been hard at work going through the evaluations of last year’s events and brainstorming ways to make this year’s festival even more impactful. In case you weren’t able to join a STEAM Festival event last year, here’s what happened:

  • 36 program and event hosts
  • 82 events held across the state
  • 10,000+ Tennesseans attended events

The best way to stay up-to-date about the 2018 Tennessee STEAM Festival is to follow us on Facebook or check our website for updates.

If you are interested in becoming a STEAM Festival sponsor or hosting a program, email us at steamfestival@explorethedc.org.

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Spots Are Limited…Register for Summer Camp Today!

Want to make sure your kids have adventurous stories to tell about their summer break when it’s time to return to school? If so, be sure to sign them up for one of our hands-on, high-energy camps this summer. Under the direction of our new Camp Coordinator, Kelsey Smith, your kids will swing through the Amazon on a Rainforest Adventure or learn to code at our Robot Workshop.

This year we’re also excited to announce a new partnership with Murfreesboro City Schools. All summer campers will receive breakfast and lunch courtesy of MCS. All you have to do is drop the kids off each morning and we’ll make sure their minds and bellies are filled with the good stuff!

Registration is officially open to the public, so be sure to reserve your space before they’re gone. Click here to see the complete list of summer camp offerings!

Building Evaluation to Advance Learning

On Monday, we officially kicked off our Building Evaluation to Advance Learning (EvAL) project with a workshop led by Dr. Jessica Luke from the University of Washington Museology program. Rather than jumping right in to create evaluation mechanisms, the workshop focused on learning frameworks in museums using Indianapolis, Providence, and Minneapolis as examples. Interspersed among Discovery Center staff were professors and graduate students from Psychology and Early Childhood Education departments at MTSU. Their academic and research leanings certainly made discussions more comprehensive and we look forward to working with them for the duration of this project. Moving forward, we will work with Dr. Jessica Sickler as we learn to research, think, and design like evaluators.

The overall goal of Building EvAL is not to turn Discovery Center into a research machine but is to help DC staff and stakeholders adopt an evaluator mindset. In doing so, we hope to see the sustainable growth of programs and exhibits, increased quality of content delivery, and better alignment with trends in informal education. The Building EvAL project is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).