2017-10-02 / Shorts

Discover More Space at Relocated Science Museum

Beginning this month, there’s a whole lot more Discovery Space for kids to explore in State College.
The children’s science museum has just reopened its doors at 1224 N. Atherton Street, a building three times the size of the old 4,200-square-foot space the museum occupied downtown on East Foster Avenue for the last six years.

“This building is 12,500 square feet, so the exhibit gallery here alone is bigger than our entire floor at our downtown location,” says Michele Crowl, the museum’s executive director. In addition to a larger exhibit room, the new building boasts two classrooms, a larger maker space for older kids, and something its downtown patrons often expressed a need for — parking.

“We hear from a lot of families, particularly families with young children, how important close parking is,” Crowl says.

The larger space will allow many of the museum’s formerly traveling exhibits, which spent time in libraries around the region due to cramped quarters at the old building, to come home to Discovery Space for good.  

“It’ll take some time to build [out the space], but we will have a few new things out to start,” Crowl says.

“Primarily over the next year people will see a lot of change happening.”

One of those changes will be the addition of a Seymour Lipton sculpture, on loan to the museum. It will be put in a spot where kids can interact with it, Crowl says. “It’s about integrating art with science and engineering.”

And a recently acquired grant will allow the museum to acquire a “Touch Tank” that will give patrons the opportunity to get up close and personal with marine life like sea stars and sea urchins.
Crowl says the expansion is exciting, though leaving downtown was a bit bittersweet.

“The borough and everyone who lives and works there has been so nice to us over the past six years,” she says. “It’s been fun to build partnerships down there and get to know people who are there.”

Those partnerships, like the one the museum has with Schlow Centre Region Library, will continue. And she’s confident that the 808 member families and increasing number of annual visitors will be thankful for the extra room to explore, play and learn.

Plus they’re not as far away as people might think.

“The perception is that we’re not downtown, so we’re far away. But the reality is if you map the distance from the Pattee and Paterno libraries to the museum’s new location, that distance is only 2 blocks farther than we were from those libraries when we were downtown,” she says. “We’re still very walkable.”

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