As the Kirlin Charitable Foundation hopes to be a creative contributor to cultural change within the education world, we are keeping an emphasis on the professional development of teachers, and the quality of their work. We want to help create safe, supportive, and healthy learning environments where children can exercise, to the fullest extent, their imagination. ScienceWorks meets our ideal for nurturing young imaginations, for promoting professional development and for emphasizing a family and community based educational philosophy. Please read on, visit their website, and find a way to support this wonderful regional resource.
A Community Museum with Regional Impact
ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum is an interactive science museum located in Ashland, Oregon and serving explorers of all ages throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California. Founded in 2002 as a private response to a crisis in public science education, ScienceWorks is committed to “to inspire wonder and stimulate creative exploration through fun interactive science and the arts.
In 2001, through a cooperative arrangement with the Kirlin Charitable Foundation and Southern Oregon University, ScienceWorks began leasing the 26,000 square foot building previously occupied by the Pacific Northwest Museum of Natural History. ScienceWorks has brought life and vitality back into the long-closed structure, and has given the building a fun and exciting new look. Hundreds of volunteers retrofitted the building, built exhibits and began implementation of the strategic plan.
Now in its eight year, ScienceWorks has served over 300,000 visitors and 80,000 school children throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California and has 1,500 Member families from all over the region.
ScienceWorks is committed to serving school children and teachers both through its on-site School Program and an Outreach program entitled “Illuminating Science Inquiry” that supports teacher development. Educator response to the programs at ScienceWorks has been tremendous, with waiting list for current offerings for elementary and middle school students as well as recent programs focused on Early Childhood Education. Outreach efforts are expanding, serving traditionally underserved rural areas.
ScenceWorks is home to nearly 100 interactive exhibits that encourage children and adults to learn more about science and various scientific principles through experience and experimentation. The museum currently uses 10,000 of an available 17,000 square feet of exhibit space, allowing for future expansion within the existing museum building, as well as the creation of outdoor educational opportunities on three acres of land. The majority of exhibits have been built in house in a state-of-the-art fabrication studio.
Although ScienceWorks in Ashland, Oregon is by no means a large museum as compared to its urban counterparts The Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland, relationships with these large museums is resulting in major exhibitions coming to southern Oregon over the next few years. ScienceWorks participates in the National Science Foundation grants titled, Geometry Playground with Exploratorium and Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network led by Museum of Science in Boston as well as National Institute of Health’s, Small Museum Research Collaborative led by OMSI.
ScienceWorks is a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers and the Northwest Association of Youth Museums. ScienceWorks is fast becoming a regional resource, serving both the people of Ashland and attracting visitors to the city. Members come from as far away as Roseburg, Klamath Falls, Cave Junction and Mt Shasta and we host over 40,000 visitors per year of which 8,000 are tourists from beyond 50 miles from the museum. ScienceWorks proprietary designs and exhibits have been sold and leased to museums in the region, as well as throughout the US, Singapore and Belgium.
Committed to sharing and leveraging resources with other nonprofit community organizations, ScienceWorks is serving the region through collaborations with Southern Oregon University, North Mountain Park, Osher Life Long Learning Institiute, Souther Oregon Historical Society, Kids Unlimited, Southern Oregon Jobs Council, Living Opportunities, Southern Oregon Education Service District, Southern Oregon Public Television, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland and the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
ScienceWorks is a dynamic organization inspiring a love of science and learning in people of all ages.