Our philosophy starts with the simple belief that kids are capable of incredible things. Our job is to nurture that ability; our goal is to support kids' healthy development. Play is how kids learn--here, it is in both a STEM-rich environment and inviting outdoor experience.
Thank goodness for volunteers!
Recently we celebrated National Volunteer Week to honor The Discovery Museums’ volunteers and the countless ways they support us. The non-volunteer staff wore “We Love Our Volunteers” buttons, and we threw them a party to say thanks for their many contributions throughout the year.
In 2016, we had more than 100 volunteers log almost 5,000 hours at the Museums — the highest number in ten years of data. Ten of these volunteers contributed more than 100 hours each. Every year, we are attracting more volunteers, and they are staying with us longer.
As the staff person responsible for coordinating volunteer activities, I get to interact with a wide range of people with diverse backgrounds and interests. We have students working to fulfill community service requirements, adults contributing as part of corporate volunteer initiatives, retirees and former teachers who enjoy working with children, and young people looking for some on-the-job experience.
We rely on volunteer support to rake leaves, work in the gardens, and maintain building exteriors. Volunteers help us out on the museum floor and assist with programs. Others work behind the scenes to prep materials for our Traveling Science Workshops.
These are some of the tangible, day-to-day ways our volunteers help out. More broadly, our volunteers provide us with a vital link to the community. They help us maintain our partnerships with community organizations and schools and help us to build our reputation as a fun place to visit and donate time.
This year, we have hosted volunteers from AMD, Intel, Liberty Mutual, and MathWorks to help with preparation for our Traveling Science Workshops and outdoor maintenance including painting, gardening, and outdoor clean up after the long winter. We look forward to groups from Boston Scientific and Acton-Boxborough United Way later in the year and are always looking to develop new partnerships through volunteer support.
It’s always satisfying to hear from volunteers how much they’ve enjoyed the work here. One woman, who volunteered through a program at her workplace, told me that she makes sure to sign up both herself and her friends early because, at her company, the slots for volunteering at The Discovery Museums fill up fast.
Once our new building is completed, we’ll have more space for programming---and even more opportunities for volunteering. As we continue to grow, we hope our crew of volunteers will continue to grow too--we need and greatly value their help!
As the Assistant Director of Visitor Experiences, I enjoy working with staff and volunteers to create positive experiences for our visitors of all ages. I joined The Discovery Museums after working in museum education and visitor services and completing an MA in Archaeological Studies at Yale University. Studying archaeology includes an exploration of history, art, and language, but archaeology also utilizes science and math to understand early cultures. I love that at The Discovery Museums, we are always finding ways to incorporate practical applications of science into education and highlighting the intersection of arts and sciences for our visitors.
We firmly believe in the fundamental value of play for children—and families—to support emotional, developmental, and social health and well-being. This blog will explore why play matters, and touch on all aspects of our work to encourage play and support early STEM learning.
- brain development
- universal design
- conservation land