by Allyson Lambert
When I first relocated to northern Nevada in spring 2014, the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum (a.k.a. The Discovery) was one of the first places that helped my new city feel like a home. With their dedication to the community and commitment to providing educational opportunities, they truly go out of their way to make everyone feel like they belong.
After three years volunteering at The Discovery, I wanted to share the positive impact the Discovery has had on my life and career. Not only have I developed lifelong friendships, but the staff at The Discovery have encouraged me to expand my career and pursue my dream as a travel writer. Now, as I embark on my sixth city in six months, I had the opportunity to sit down with Patrick Turner, VP of Marketing and Communications, to discuss some of the ways that The Discovery has transformed the area and how local businesses can get involved to support their mission. It’s my hope that you will follow your curiosity and get involved with The Discovery as well.
Q: How do you believe The Discovery has played a role as northern Nevada continues to grow and develop?
We play a large and very important role in our region’s developing economy. By being our community’s home for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) exploration, we’re inspiring future members of the workforce and expanding the interests of current members of the workforce as well.
In the six and a half years since The Discovery has opened to the public, we have welcomed more than 1,000,000 visitors. We are the most visited location for K-12 school field trips and have transformed the museum’s impact from serving primarily children into that of a science center, serving learners of every age. The science inspiration The Discovery creates, fuels an entire region of curious, critical thinkers who can actively participate in our region’s changing economic landscape.
Q: What are some of the ways that The Discovery contributes to workforce development in STEAM fields?
We provide a wide variety of ways to experience science. Museum visitors can explore the process of invention, the human body, our state’s history, green building technology and more. One area we see a tremendous amount of impact is our school field trip program. Frequently we find that science isn’t taught in low-income schools, so the exposure students get to science on a field trip can be a real eye-opener. Feedback from many teachers is that their students develop an immediate interest in a particular STEAM field of study after a field trip that leads to future exploration.
Q: What types of programs and events do you offer the community for both children and adults?
The museum’s programs target specific age ranges with the goal of creating optimal learning opportunities for each. One example is The Discovery’s Small Wonder Wednesday program. Every Wednesday, the museum opens an hour early solely for families with children ages five and under.
Five years ago, we created our Social Science series. This adults-only series gives adults the chance to explore the entire museum and a unique topic (i.e. the science of beer, the science of attraction, etc.) after hours in a social setting. We also offer an annual Teen Science Night for middle and high school students. This event was created and is run by the museum’s Teen Advisory Committee. This group of science enthusiasts decides on the theme, works with our educators to create the programming and spreads the word about the event.
Two years ago The Discovery partnered with the Desert Research Institute to create a lecture series. Science Distilled, held at social locations through Reno, connects members of our community with the amazing scientific research being done in our community. This series has steadily grown in popularity. The last few events have been standing room only.
Q: How can businesses and individuals get involved with The Discovery?
You can visit the museum, become an annual member, attend any of The Discovery’s events and, of course, you can become a donor. Donors provide much-needed support for the museum’s mission, powering our ability to grow our impact by creating new programs and exhibitions. Businesses can sponsor a variety of the museum’s programs. Sponsorship at The Discovery includes a robust recognition program so that our visitors recognize the philanthropic support provided by the businesses who identify with our mission.
Allyson Lambert is a travel writer, actor and marketing consultant. She enjoys bringing creative strategy to businesses. You can follow her blog at allysonlambert.com.