As March draws to a close the Secret Garden Party draws nearer. We are so excited for this year’s celebration at the Georgetown home of Christy Fancher. Set against the vibrant landscape of the Stones River Country Club, Christy’s backyard will be transformed into an Italian vista before your very eyes. Surrounded by lush greenery, bright blossoms, and some of Murfreesboro’s finest we know this will be a night to remember.
Sponsorship of Secret Garden Party includes tickets to the party on June 1 and tickets to the garden tour on June 2-3. Each level of sponsorship includes a different number of party tickets as well as media and promotion prior to the event. Sponsorship opportunities start at just $300. All proceeds from Secret Garden Party contribute to Discovery Center’s continued operations.
For more information about the party or to become a sponsor, visit our website or email Caitlyn Brown.
If you didn’t already know we were SOLD OUT for camp this spring break. While that’s pretty exciting news by itself, we wanted to share a few of the week’s highlights with you. Each day this week has focused on a toy or favorite pastime for kids. We’ve explored the inner workings of the Etch-a-Sketch and made our own magnetic slime. We got the inside scoop on rockets and even launched a few from the DC patio. Today we’re making crayons and exploring the way pigments are created and mixed.
Feel like you missed out on all the fun…it’s not too late to sign up for summer camp at Discovery Center. We’ve got five great camp themes to choose from and even a few options for our younger SPARK! Campers. For more information or to register, check out the camp webpage here.
If you’ve walked into the Discovery Center lately, you’ve been greeted by a few new, smiling faces. Our team has grown recently and we want you to meet the newest members of the Discovery Center family.
Kelsey Smith (she’s really not THAT new) is our Camp Coordinator. Coming to us from Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, Kelsey is a camp pro and brings a creative flair to our STEAM programming. She has a background in studio art and has already made a big splash with winter and spring break camps this year!
Catherine Meston is our Mobile Education Coordinator. She’ll be taking over the Super Science program, mobile labs, and the Youth Council. She officially started on March 19 and is already delivering programs and working on developing new curriculum. Her last role was at the Ocean Discovery Institute in San Diego as the School Programs Coordinator.
Hayley Richey will be our new Marketing and Scheduling Assistant. Her first day is scheduled for Monday, April 3. We can’t wait to meet her and know she’ll be an awesome addition to the staff.
We’ve also added several new Visitor Services Specialists recently. These are the folks making sure the museum floor stays tidied and put together AND they’re the ones showing animals and interacting with guests while they visit. Daria Anthony, Emmie Donaldson, Madeline McDonald, and Kalab Fulton are the newest additions to this crew. Be sure to stop by and introduce yourself the next time you visit!
Parents’ Night Out. All Access. Arts in April. We can hardly contain our excitement at having all three of these big events next month!
First up is Parents’ Night Out. This action-packed evening is slated for Friday, February 13 from 5:30 – 9:30 pm. But don’t worry–there’s nothing scary about it. Instead we’ll be exploring the world of abstract art by looking at a few famous examples and then creating some of our own. If you think your little Kandinsky would enjoy a night at the museum be sure to register today! Parents’ Night Out is for children ages 4-12. It is $20 for the first child and $15 for each additional child. Registration includes dinner, snack, and a night full of fun. Click here to register.
All Access is Friday, April 20 from 5:30 – 8:30 and is open to all special needs families. It is a time to explore the Discovery Center without the hustle and bustle of a visit during our traditional hours. This All Access will be focused on Earth Day. We’ll have some Earth-inspired art along with tips and tricks for being better stewards of natural resources. There is no fee to attend an All Access night, but we do request RSVPs to ensure we’ll have enough refreshments and supplies on hand. To RSVP for the April 20 All Access Night, click here.
Last up is the brand new event, Arts in April: A Day with the Laureates. This free day will put Murfreesboro’s inaugural class of Artist Laureates front and center as they share their processes and works with you. You’ll spend time learning about photography from Jessica Nelson, poetry from Kory Wells, and painting from Ginny Togrye. Each artist will share the history of their craft and spend time helping you to master it. Arts in April will also be the day we unveil our new We Are Tennessee mural that will feature depictions of what it means to be a Tennessean. Over 100 artists submitted pieces for this project and we are so excited to see the final product. Arts in April is a project funded by the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Arts Build Communities Program and made possible through a collaboration with Cultural Arts Murfreesboro.
As some of you know, we’ve been planning an update to the STEAM Lab for nearly two years. Everything but the location of the electrical sockets and light switches has been updated. It’s hard to tell what the most noticeable difference is, but it all begins with a brand new door. The addition of a glass panel provides better visibility into the and out of the room and will help to encourage guests to join in programming opportunities like Mind Blowing Matinee in the afternoons. Other updates to the space include two new wall colors, updated flooring, and the addition of soundproofing panels on three of the walls. A wall has been constructed in the back of the room to create a separate storage place for tables, chairs, and A/V equipment. As we continue to emerge as a bigger player in the local and regional scene, Discovery Center has begun to play host to many touring groups and meetings. The updates in the STEAM Lab make it a much more functional space for meetings with the added capabilities of the recently installed Mondopad. The Mondopad is an 85 inch all-in-one touchscreen computer that will allow Discovery Center to take part in video conferencing with partners and peers around the world.
If you have the patience to wait until the next Board or Advisory board meeting, prepare to be amazed, but if you don’t feel free to stop by and take a look at the updates. We’re sure you’ll be just as proud of this new space as we are.
Now in its sixth year, the Youth Council has become an integral piece of Discovery Center’s strategic planning, program delivery, and youth volunteer force. The group’s original focus was to act as a vehicle to expand Discovery Center’s programs, exhibits, and events in order to better engage teens and tweens in the community. Over time, the group’s focus has shifted to the development of leadership skills and career/college preparation.
Two of this year’s graduating seniors have been Youth Council have participated in Youth Council all six years. Alexi Lee and Eshan Patel are two of the founding members of Youth Council and have made a noticeable impact with their innovative ideas, enthusiasm, and ability to lead a team. Joining Eshan and Alexi as seniors this year are Brett Boldin, Taylor Cuneo, Sarah Taylor, and Sophia Maas. We recognized all of the graduating seniors for their contributions to Discovery Center and their role on the Youth Council at our next Board meeting on Thursday, March 22.
Now that you’re completely intrigued by the Youth Council, we’re happy to announce that we are currently accepting applications for next year’s council. We are transitioning to follow the school calendar, so the application period this year is happening a few months earlier than usual. By aligning with the school calendar we hope to capitalize on student availability.
Discovery Center is excited to have been chosen for the HCA Hack for the Community, a 36-hour hackathon that brings together Nashville’s best IT professionals to build technology solutions for local nonprofits.
IT experts will help Discovery Center create a web page and text messaging platform to enhance parents’ experience in Tiny Town, our early learning space for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Designed with the needs of all families in mind, additional resources could include helpful tools like play scenarios or guiding questions, suggestions of at-home activities or a question of the day which will continue to stimulate the minds of children even after they’ve left the museum or a detailed story guide for Tiny Town that explain what to expect at every turn. This technology would be an additional tool to engage their child in learning while visiting Discovery Center and at home. The text program would also offer an opportunity to sign up for updates and weekly child development tips via text.
Our annual Secret Garden Party is just a few months away and time is running out to become a sponsor this year. You might be wondering what the benefit is to becoming a party sponsor rather than just buying tickets to attend. Sponsorship is a great way to align your company’s brand with that of Discovery Center, but it’s an even better way to support the ongoing work and operations of the Discovery Center. Do you love hearing about new exhibit updates or attending hands-on programs? Sponsorship of Secret Garden Party helps to make those possible! Sponsorship includes extra benefits during the lead up to Secret Garden Party and during the party itself. Each sponsorship level includes tickets to Secret Garden Party, located at Christy Fancher’s Georgetown home this year, and tickets to our Secret Garden Tour on Saturday and Sunday. For sponsors at the Iris level and above, you’ll receive tickets to our Pre-Party Cocktail stroll and be able to kick off this Italian summer supper in style. Sponsors at all levels receive recognition on the printed invitation and Iris and up sponsors will be featured on the Secret Garden Party webpage.
To become a sponsor today, email or call Caitlyn Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-890-2300 ext. 221.
This summer, thousands of students across the country will learn about the sun and the stars, Earth’s moon, space travel, and more when GSK Science in the Summer returns to local libraries and community centers for its 32nd year.
Through active, hands-on learning, elementary school students in second through sixth grades will learn that, through knowledge, education, and hard work, worlds beyond ours are reachable – all while they learn the basic STEM skills that will prepare them for academic and professional success. The Science of Space content invites children to see the sky above them. Through interactive learning, students will explore the sun’s energy, phases of the moon, human survival in space, and how rockets overcome Earth’s gravity. From here on Earth, we look up and see the sun and moon. From here, we dream of space travel. From here, we achieve liftoff.
Catherine, our new Mobile Education Coordinator, and Kelsey, our Camp Coordinator, joined hundreds of educators from all over the country at the Franklin Institute to learn the implementations of this curriculum. We will be visiting local libraries and community centers this summer to share The Science of Space.
As you know, we had much smaller plans for our first Tennessee STEAM Festival last year. Turns out we just needed to dream a little bigger. By the time the STEAM Festival kicked off on October 12, we had 82 events lined up with 36 different program partners. Reality was so much better than the 15-20 events we originally hoped for. The biggest piece of this success can be attributed to YOU, our community, for your support, sponsorship, and participation in this idea.
We knew Year One was a success and were already hard at work on Year Two when we received an invitation to attend the Kaleidoscope Awards hosted by the Southern Festivals and Events Association. Drumroll…..Discovery Center was given the Bronze Award for best new festival or event in the Southeastern United States! We’re already excited about this year’s STEAM Festival, but a little extra motivation never hurt and we can’t wait to go for the gold.
If you’d like to be involved in the second annual Tennessee STEAM Festival we’d love to have you on board as a sponsor, event host, or volunteer. If you’re looking for more information about STEAM Festival basics, check out our website at tennesseesteamfestival.org.
Being an inclusive organization means trying to do our best to understand and reflect the needs of the many audiences we serve. We are excited to work with Jessica Sickler of J. Sickler Consulting to increase our understanding of evaluation and learn to think like an evaluator. Through the lens of evaluation, we can broaden our audiences, impacts, and insights about what is valuable to our community.
Our first session with Jessica included learning about evaluative thinking, logic models, evaluation questions, and being a reflective practitioner. Discovery Center will work with Jessica through two more workshops over the next 16 months.
In addition to the intensive professional development work with Jessica Sickler, a public component will also be implemented through sessions intended to build regional awareness about evaluation. These sessions draw upon the expertise of two renowned professionals: Swarupa Anila and Jessica Luke. This project is funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
With spring right around the corner, we are preparing Nature Play to officially open for the season. One of the biggest changes you’ll see this year is the conversion of the dig pit to a bubble space. If you remember going to the Discovery House, the bubble room featured a pulley system that allowed you to stand inside a giant bubble. While we’re not recreating that exhibit in its entirety, we hope that our outdoor bubble corner has the same excited reception from our guests. You’ll still be able to explore the water table, spider web, climbing wall, and slide.
Little known fact…Nature Play makes a great starting point for a tour of the wetlands. Use the listening tubes to pick up the natural sounds of the wetlands. Can you hear bird songs, ribbits from the frogs, or just the gentle rustling of leaves in the wind? Sharpen your senses and then head into the wetlands and look for the ducks, turtles, frogs, and muskrats that call Murfree Spring home. What’s the best thing you’ve ever seen while on a walk through the Wetlands? Do you have any pictures to share? If so, post them to Facebook or Instagram and tag Discovery Center so we can take a look!
Photo credit: The Kitchn
If you haven’t already had a birthday this year we need your full attention right now. Birthday parties at Discovery Center are under construction. We’re developing new themed parties that will blow your mind and make birthday memories to last a lifetime. Don’t be alarmed–our popular Animal Safari option isn’t going anywhere! We’ve done some research and have narrowed our options down to some pretty stellar party plans. We’re looking at a Candyland party that explores the intersection of science and sugar. You’ll learn about caramelization, temperature, and flavor as we make our own cotton candy. Our Lights, Camera, Action party puts you center stage as we look at role special effects play in your favorite movie. Some of the other parties we’re working on include Minecraft and outer space. As soon as the party plans are finalized we’ll let you know so that you can book your next birthday at Discovery Center!
We Are Tennessee is a new exhibit in progress that will demonstrate our state’s many cultural identities and explore what it means to be a Tennessean. Ginny Togrye is Murfreesboro’s painter laureate this year and she is undertaking this project. Her vision is to create a mural using artists’ concepts of identity. Each depiction of a Tennessean will be woven into a universal tapestry to celebrates the traditions, identity, and culture of Tennessee.
We are still accepting artwork for this project, so read through the call to artists and follow the link to submit your own artwork (or forward this to an artist!) for consideration.
Artists of all ages and mediums from Tennessee are invited to submit their work exploring the theme through representations of the people of Tennessee.
Visual artists may approach this call through any medium; however, only a hi-resolution print of visual art (produced at the cost of the Discovery Center) will be displayed for the exhibit. Written work and multimedia files will be accepted.
Living Laboratory is a program developed by Boston’s Museum of Science that looks at the way children learn. It aims to increase interactions between scientists and the public. Scientists will share their research findings with parents and caregivers visiting museums and museum guests will learn how to apply those findings to their child’s day-to-day activities.
In short, through hands-on activities and observations, scientists will learn more about the way children learn and develop language. Then, scientists will share their knowledge with parents and caregivers and ultimately influence the way that families interact during their daily activities. We are partnering with Dr. Cyrille Magne from MTSU’s Psychology Department to bring Living Laboratory to Discovery Center. Dr. Magne studies the interface of linguistics, education, and cognitive neuroscience. During our Science of Music exhibit, Dr. Magne and the MTSU team will be looking at language patterns and development. We’re just finishing the training phases of this project, but hope it will be ready for the museum floor by March 13. Come find the Living Laboratory in The Science of Music this spring!