Saturday, December 29, 2012

Michigan Science Center opens on Boxing Day

Time to follow up on some good news.  WXYZ has the video.

Michigan Science Center opens

Fox 2 News has an even livelier segment on the facility.

Fox 2 News Headlines

Those clips give a good introduction to the visitor experience.  For what's making this possible, the Free Press gives some details in Michigan Science Center celebrates holiday opening in Detroit.
The science center’s leaders announced earlier this month that they had raised more than $5 million to re-launch the beleaguered venue.

New leadership and business plans were put in place, and a new commitment to science, technology, engineering and math education were revealed. The 2013 budget for the nonprofit is less than $5 million, with staffing at about 45 people; both figures are less than half of what the numbers were before the center closed.
The Detroit News provides even more on the money.
In September, the center announced it had raised more than $2.5 million. Other contributions include a $1 million gift from the GM Foundation. Lear Corp., ITC Holdings, the Manoogian Fund, the DTE Energy Foundation and the Penske Corp. also gave. The Toyota Technical Center, a division of Toyota North America, Inc., also donated $300,000 to the science center.
Michigan Radio explains what the Michigan Science Center means to Detroit and what it hopes to accomplish.
Ben Falik, who was there for the grand opening with his dad and three-year-old son, said it’s important to have a science center in Detroit’s cultural district.

“There’s so much momentum in midtown and the cultural center now,” Falik said. “We were crestfallen, like a lot of people, when it [Detroit Science Center] closed. I think we didn’t really appreciate the science center until it was gone.”

Organizers say the Michigan Science Center will have a “broader mission” that includes outreach throughout the state, and a more formal commitment to science, technology, engineering and math education.

Michigan Science Center spokesperson Kerri Budde said the center has “broadened its mission” beyond its Detroit hub.

“We’re gonna be taking our traveling outreach statewide, versus just being southeastern Michigan. So we’re partnering with folks [from] Michigan Tech University, to the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum,” Budde said.
The Free Press elaborates on these goals.
Among the new initiatives is the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) experience, an outreach program aimed at attracting 150,000 people across the state to the science center by making it an educational hub, he said.

“We want to reform, educate and really change the experience of what the science center is moving forward,” [Todd Slisher, the center’s director of visitor experiences] said.
So, how did the Michigan Science Center do the first day?
Slisher said officials, who didn’t anticipate a snowstorm, expected 500-700 people for today’s opening, with attendance growing to about 1,000 people each day through the holiday weekend.
The Detroit News answers the next question, how many people does the center expect to visit next year?
Museum officials say they anticipate 260,000 visitors will walk through the doors in the first year of operation.
I'll do my part to make that happen by sending my students there and visiting myself.  Here's to a healthy cultural center helping lead to Detroit's recovery.

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