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December 15, 2016

Awards celebrate exceptional achievements in the arts, humanities, & sciences; the Museums are the only winner in the Access category. 

Official MCC Announcement: http://www.massculturalcouncil.org/news/2017_ComAwards.asp

   
ACTON, MA—The Discovery Museums announced today its selection as a recipient of a 2017 Commonwealth Award from The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). Presented every two years, the awards honor exceptional achievement in the arts, humanities, and sciences. The Awards will be presented on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 during a Massachusetts State House ceremony.

The Museums are the only winner in the Access category, which recognizes exceptional initiatives or programs that make arts and culture accessible and inclusive for older adults, persons with disabilities, and other underserved populations.  Specifically, the Museums are being honored for, “… breaking down barriers and accommodating all visitors, including those on the autism spectrum, or who are deaf or blind, through its new Discovery Woods, a fully-accessible nature playscape designed around a 550-square foot treehouse.” See the full awards announcement issued by MCC here. 

“We are thrilled and honored to earn this prestigious award for work that is central to both our mission and the hearts of our staff and Board:  accessibility,” said CEO Neil Gordon. “Discovery Woods was developed based on Universal Design principles to be accessible to all, regardless of ability.  It is a place where inclusion can be a commonplace experience, because all kids can play together.”  

Discovery Woods is a one-acre outdoor nature playscape featuring a large, accessible treehouse that sits 19 feet off the ground.  The treehouse was designed and built by the Treehouse Guys of Warren, Vermont, and the inclusive playscape was designed by Lemon Brooke of Concord, MA.  An active group of external advisors provided guidance on the project. Opened last July, Discovery Woods was a $1.5M capital project, the first phase of an $8.4M campaign that will also fully renovate and expand the Museums’ indoor facilities. When it opens late next year, the new museum and all exhibits will be fully accessible.

Financial access is also an important part of the Museums’ accessibility efforts.  Through its Open Door Connections program, the Museums served more than 25% of its 2015 visitors for free or deeply reduced cost through free or subsidized in-school STEM programs and Field Trips; free admission on Friday nights; special hours and free admission for families of children on the autism spectrum or who are deaf or hard of hearing; $1 EBT Anytime admission; and several other targeted access programs.

The Discovery Museums are an MCC-designated UP Organization, an innovative and collaborative group of arts and cultural organizations with a demonstrated a commitment to learn, take action, and embrace inclusivity as a core organizational value. 

Discovery Woods was made possible in part by The Institute for Museum and Library Services, grant number MA-1-13-0506-13.

About The Discovery Museums 
The Discovery Museums are the children’s and science museums of Metrowest Boston. Two great museums and the new Discovery Woods nature playscape and treehouse—for one admission price—blend the best of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning on a beautiful 4.5-acre campus in Acton, MA, located about 20 miles west of Boston. The Museums serve families and schools from towns throughout the region, with a commitment to informal education that enhances classroom learning. The hands-on, playful exhibits, developed by professional educators, inspire curiosity, exploration, experimentation, and imagination. The Discovery Museums combine manageable scale, convenient location and free parking to provide a fun and engaging experience where children and adults can discover their world together. The Discovery Museum are an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information please visit www.discoverymuseums.org. 

The Discovery Museums’ programming is supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

 

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