Motivated by the lack of a children’s museum or science center to serve the half million children in Northern Virginia, a group of community leaders founded the Children’s Science Center as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization over a decade ago. Northern Virginia was the largest metropolitan region in the state, and nation, without a museum designed for and dedicated to children, but not for long.
The women’s volunteer organization, Junior League of Northern Virginia, chose the museum as their signature project in 2006. The organization’s contributions were essential to the early success of the Center. They raised over $250,000 in funds and contributed thousands of volunteer hours to support the Center’s development.
Community feedback identified a need to build greater interest and aptitude in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects among regional students, who will become our future work force. Success in STEM subjects is the building block for future accomplishments, so the Center turned its focus to STEM learning and changed its name to the Children’s Science Center in 2008.
In 2010, experienced non-profit leaders and fundraisers joined the Board of Directors and helped the Center make significant strides towards its goals. The museum’s programs and fundraising grew by 600% in just four years, while the Center’s museum without walls programs served 60,000 visitors in the same time frame.
The accomplishments didn’t end there.
The Center established a base of operations at the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) campus in Herndon by 2013 and within two years, hired a full management team, support staff and educational personnel.
Following an extensive three year search, the Center secured not one, but two, locations for their museum in the Northern Virginia area. The first is a prominent retail spot in the busy Fair Oaks Mall where the Lab operates. The second area was thoughtfully donated by the Kincora development in Dulles. VA, where a full scale, hands-on, accessible museum will be built and a dream will be realized.
Thanks to countless volunteers, dedicated leadership and generous donors, the Children’s Science Center is filling a gap in the Northern Virginia area and ensuring that all children have the opportunity to explore, create and be inspired by STEM.