Think Like an Evaluator

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.

Nature Play Now Open

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!

Book Your Next Birthday Bash With Us!


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 Exhibit in Progress

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.

Click here for artwork guidelines and submission form. 

Living Laboratory At Discovery Center

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!