Fall Break Camp Is Right Around The Corner

It’s the middle of September, have you finalized your fall break plans? If not, we’ve got some great options for your Kindergarten – 4th grade kiddos. Set for October 1 – 5, fall break camp is a week of hands-on, interactive exploration. This year’s theme is meteorology and we’re pretty confident that Mother Nature will provide us with plenty of real-life examples between now and then. Rather than registering for the full camp at once, fall break sign ups can be made for individual days. Here’s a breakdown of our lesson plans:

  • Monday, A Day in the Clouds: Thunderbolts and lightning….very, very exciting! We’re exploring the water cycle and making pet clouds to take home.
  • Tuesday, Be a Meteorologist: Channel your inner Lelan Statom or Jim Cantore as you learn about the instruments meteorologists use and become a TV meteorologist for the afternoon.
  • Wednesday, Sun and Moon: Learn about the ways the sun and moon affect our daily weather despite being so far from Earth.
  • Thursday, Wind: There’s no doubt a summer breeze makes us feel fine, but we’re talking about the tools humans use to harness the power of wind.
  • Friday, Storms: We’re taking a look at the outspoken side of weather and learning about storm patterns that happen here at home and even taking a look at storms in space.

Registration for fall break camp is now open. Camp runs daily from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, but extended care is offered from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm for an additional $5 per day. The daily registration rate for non-members is $40 and members are $35. To reserve your spot today, click here.

The Search Is On

Even though we’ve still got a few strong months of 2018 left in the tank, our strategic sights are officially set on 2019. While Tara is working on an official review of the Advisory Board to determine which industries and skill sets are already represented, we’d like your help too. Aptly named the Advisory Board, this group is responsible for providing subject matter expertise and professional guidance to the Discovery Center with respect to exhibits, operations, programs, and community impact. The Advisory Board meets quarterly at the Discovery Center for a status update from staff and plan for upcoming projects. Additionally, some members may be asked to serve on a committee or leadership team, such as the STEAM Festival’s leadership council. In addition to volunteer service, we ask that Advisory Board members serve as advocates for Discovery Center’s mission and programs. This can be achieved by sharing our social media posts and telling your networks about our upcoming exhibits and events. If you know someone or have a colleague that would make a great addition to our Advisory Board, please send their contact information and a short bio to Hayley Richey at hrichey@explorethedc.org.

Think Outside…the Lunchbox

Check your mailboxes because information about our Outside the Lunchbox luncheon should be hitting them soon. Outside the Lunchbox is a brand new event we’re hosting on Thursday, November 1 at The Grove. This business and networking lunch will center on inclusion and innovation in the workplace. We’ve got three of our panelists confirmed and cannot wait to hear what they have to say. Marcus Whitney is a serial entrepreneur and known in this area for founding Briovation and Jumpstart Foundry. He is also a co-owner of the Nashville Soccer Club! Marcus will be joined on stage by Holli Montgomery and Teauna Upshaw of Schwan Cosmetics. Holli is the Managing Director at Schwan and also serves on the Chamber Board. She has a passion for working with local refugee populations and has helped many new residents find meaningful careers. Teauna is Senior Human Resources Manager at Schwan and author of Working Success.

In addition to being a learning and networking opportunity for the local business community, Outside the Lunchbox is a fundraising event that will support our Kids First outreach initiatives. Kids First provides funding in four primary areas of community support:

  • Field Study scholarships for students on free/reduced lunch
  • Free memberships for families receiving SNAP benefits
  • Free admission on cultural event days, including our upcoming Hispanic Heritage Day
  • Free events for special needs families

Sponsorship opportunities for businesses and individuals are available and begin at the $500 Creativity level and increase in terms of visibility and benefits like ad space in the event program and community sponsor recognition on our 2019 temporary exhibits. For more information or to become a sponsor, contact Jennifer Neal at jneal@explorethedc.org.

Join Us For Hispanic Heritage Day Tomorrow

Ven al Discovery Center este Sábado para el Día de la Herencia Hispana! Don’t worry if your Spanish skills are a little rusty, we’d love to see you at Hispanic Heritage Day this Saturday from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. This annual event is one of our favorites and we’ve got several new activities this year.

  • In Creation Station we’ll be making papel picados and Frida Kahlo inspired clay pendants.
  • At 12:00 and 12:30 we’ll have dance performances by the Hispanic Family Foundation Folkloric Group.
  • In both the morning and afternoon, you can join us for a bilingual puppet show and a bilingual story time activity.
  • Ms. Emmie will also be leading guided walks through the Wetlands and talking about the groundbreaking work of Botanist Ynes Mexia.
  • We’ll also have rocket demonstrations on the patio inspired by the work of astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz.

Hispanic Heritage Day is a free event for the community thanks to ongoing support from the Nissan Foundation. We can’t wait to see you tomorrow–be sure to bring a friend!

Make Way for Clifford the Big Red Dog

Rainforest Adventure has been packed up and shipped to its next temporary home and we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our next traveling exhibit. Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog opens on Saturday, September 22 and promises to be an action-packed exhibit. We’ve got a lineup of activities for opening day that are downright paw-some! We’re starting things off with a SOLD OUT breakfast with Clifford sponsored by our friends at Puckett’s. Beginning at 10:00 am we’ll have an array of hands-on fun all day long. You can stop by the kitchen to make your own no-bake dog treats to take to your favorite canine companion. After that you can swing by Creation Station and try your hand at creating a mixed media Clifford–we’ve never seen so many red art supplies in one place! After that, you can trot on over to the Five Senses exhibit and learn about the ways dogs experience sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. In the afternoon, Ms. Micki will be leading storytime at 2:30 and 3:00. But out of all of those fabulous activities we’re counting down to the Clifford parade at 11:00 and 2:00 (wear your own costume or be sure to grab a pair of ears that we’ll provide) that will move through the museum. Opening day activities are included with admission (free for members) and available while supplies last.

We’re Moving Full STEAM Ahead

We are just over a month away from kicking off the second Tennessee STEAM Festival and event details are still pouring in! Last week we went live with a newly redesigned website–yes, it is MOBILE FRIENDLY. Go ahead and bookmark www.tnsteam.org so you can find the most up-to-date news about times, locations, and any associated costs for STEAM Festival events. We currently have over 100 events confirmed as part of this year’s STEAM Festival, and the new website has them conveniently organized by region. For now, we’ll leave you with a few that we just can’t stop talking about around the office.


STEAM @ The Connection Tutoring Center
Where it is: Memphis, TN
Why we love it: This free event promises a variety of hands-on activities that range from coding programs to modeling allergic reactions. We don’t know about you, but we’ve never played an allergic reaction game before!


Just an Illusion
Where it is: Memphis, TN
Why we love it: The Bartlett Public Library has created a program about light and optical illusions for teens and tweens that will culminate in the creation of a DIY 3D projector. (FYI Bartlett Library…even 30 year olds think that’s cool).


Relief Printmaking with Hatch Show Print
Where it is: Nashville, TN
Why we love it: Hatch Show Prints are an iconic piece of Nashville’s visual history and this is a hands-on chance to step into the artist’s role. Hatch Show Print experts will be on hand to teach aspiring printmakers and help them make a creation to take home. This fun and unique opportunity is just too good to pass up!


Make a Mason Bee House
Where it is: Murfreesboro, TN
Why we love it: We’ve heard all about honeybees, bumblebees, but what about the mason bees? This workshop will teach you all about nature’s most industrious pollinators and you’ll be able to make and take your very own mason been abode home. We just googled mason bee houses and they are seriously cool. Seriously.


Tooth Wisdom: Get Smart About Your Mouth
Where it is: Tazewell, TN
Why we love it: We all know that oral health is an indicator of our overall health, so we love that Smile On 60+ has put together a seminar about daily oral hygiene. Following the program Smile On 60+ will also provide dental screenings for senior attendees.


Civil War STEAM
Where it is: Harrogate, TN
Why we love it: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math are rarely discussed in the same conversation as the Civil War, so we’re thrilled the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum has stepped up to the challenge. They’ll be discussing the spread of disease during the war, coding (of the Morse variety), nautical technology, and mathematical wartime strategies. It’s a Civil War learning experience unlike any other.

To learn about our other confirmed events, visit www.tnsteam.org.

Featured on the News

On Tuesday afternoon, WSMV’s Terry Bulger came to the Discovery Center to check out our We Are Tennessee exhibit. This permanent installation officially opened in May and has been receiving rave reviews ever since. Designed to look like a Road to Tennessee quilt, this mural shares the stories of 28 Tennesseans through paintings, photographs, and the written word. It is far more than a powerful visual. We Are Tennessee is an exercise in identity and inclusion. To see what Terry and the WSMV crew had to say, click here. The pictures below are just a sneak peek of what you’ll see in We Are Tennessee!

Meet the Administrative Team

We don’t have a department name for the rest of the DC staff, but we want to make sure you get to meet the senior leadership team as well. The following folks work cross-departmentally to make sure Discovery Center opens and operates smoothly each day.

Tara MacDougall joined the Discovery Center staff in June 2012 and we’ve been on an upward trajectory ever since. As the President and CEO, Tara strategically steers Discovery Center’s growth and development. Through the combination of her professional background in tv production, marketing, and wealth management Tara has been able to bring a vast array of knowledge to the DC. As far as fun facts go, Tara is a fitness junkie and a vegan with a soft spot for fresh seafood.

Veronica Bosnak began as a volunteer with Discovery Center and has worked her way into the Chief Financial Officer and Director of Operations role. With input from her husband Joe, Veronica combined her love of theater and affinity for local beer to create our popular Shakesbeer event! On Saturdays in the fall, you can find Veronica cheering loudly for the Blue Raiders.

Dale McCreedy joined the Discovery Center two years ago after a long career at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Dale’s research has primarily focused on gender in STEM learning, but she is tied to a number of national research projects. As the Vice President of Audience & Community Engagement, Dale works closely with MTSU and develops strategic community partnerships that allow us to leverage our educational strengths to serve new communities.  When she’s not missing cheesesteaks and scrapple, Dale can be found exploring the nooks and crannies of middle Tennessee and photographing her finds.

Jennifer Neal is currently the Director of Grants & Membership Development, but she’s held a variety of roles and titles in her 12 years at the DC. With a background in music and arts organization management, Jennifer’s business acumen and creativity make her a great fit for the DC. When she’s not busy at work, Jennifer spends time with her three sons and plays weekly trivia (with a team she was forced to join).

Jeri Hasselbring is the Museum Experience Analyst and that’s a role that seems to change with the ongoing needs of the DC. Drawing on her experience in museum education, Jeri has been asked to create systems that help to evaluate visitor experiences as well as participate in the ongoing Cultural Competence Learning Institute. Outside of her work at the DC, Jeri is an adventurous foodie and loves finding great new restaurants in Nashville.

Jeff Krinks provides marketing and branding direction as a consultant from Prufrock Communications. He has a long history in branding and communication strategies for corporations and non-profits. Outside of the marketing world, Jeff plays guitar for The Bicho Brothers and can often be seen playing in venues around Nashville.