For the first time in more than a year, the Michigan Science Center will open its doors to the public Dec. 26.
Tom Stephens, the chairman of the center’s Board of Directors, made the announcement at a Dec. 4 press conference inside the formerly named Detroit Science Center.
The center closed its doors in September 2011 after defaulting on its loans, Stephens said.
The center’s reopening is due in part to $5 million in donations made from 25 organizations. The center is still looking for an additional $100,000 in individual donations as part of its Science Is Elemental fundraising campaign, said Todd Slisher, the center’s director of visitor experiences.
Combined with the anticipated 260,000 people buying tickets and entering the science center next year, Stephens sees the donations keeping the center solvent for the next year but declined to comment on the center’s overall budget.
After the initial opening day, the center will be open through Jan. 6 with the exception of New Year’s Day. It will then be open only for the weekends until beginning its regular hours of Wednesday through Sunday Jan. 30.
The goal of the center, Stephens said, is to bring to an end the decline in students achieving science-, technology-, engineering- and math-related degrees.
“I am extremely passionate about turning this trend around and making STEM-related fields exciting to children, and I feel strongly that the Michigan Science Center is part of the solution,” Stephens said.
The center is under the control of a new, 21-member Board of Directors made up of business leaders, educators and nonprofit professionals, according to a press release.
The Michigan Science Center will focus on not only metro Detroit outreach, but also statewide outreach, bringing STEM-based educational activities to students across Michigan.
Julie Johnson, the center’s director of education, said the center hopes to reach 150,000 students, teachers and parents in Michigan next year with a traveling exhibit.
Also at the press conference, Stephens announced the first exhibit to be showcased at the center, Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion. The exhibit will showcase the “inner workings of the human body and the effects of health and lifestyle choices,” according to the press release.
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