Northern Virginia’s Science Center
Until the opening of the Children’s Science Center Lab in 2015, Northern Virginia was the largest metropolitan area in our state – and nation – without a children’s museum or interactive science center. Today the Children’s Science Center serves over 70,000 visitors a year at the Lab and via community programs across the region. At 5,400 square feet, the Lab is the smallest in Virginia and smallest per-capita science center in the nation. Growing demand and limited capacity at the Lab continue to drive the need for a larger facility to better serve our region’s 2.5 million people, including over a half million children.
We have a fantastic opportunity to grow to meet the need. We have received a donation of land at the Kincora development in Dulles, Virginia on Route 28, approximately 4 miles north of Dulles Airport. Here we will construct a world-class interactive science center for visitors all ages. A detailed master plan has been developed for a 70,000+ square foot museum facility.
We have developed a public-private partnership to bring expertise and resources that will enable significant growth and long-term sustainability. Our future science center will be part of a state-wide network of science centers, serving as the northern state division of the Science Museum of Virginia. The Museum brings over four decades of experience in providing extraordinary informal STEM learning experiences at two existing museums in Richmond and Danville Virginia. In February 2019, the state’s General Assembly and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors made commitments of support for this public-private partnership that will ultimately provide two-thirds of the funds needed for the over $75M project to build the future science center at Kincora. The remaining funds will be raised via a campaign that engages private supporters including families, foundations and corporations.
Great science centers and museums are reflections of their communities, both as they exist and their aspirations for the future. Our plan reflects those hopes, dreams, and ambitions, being a plan that was developed with the input of hundreds of citizens of Northern Virginia, including corporate and community leaders, educators, parents, and children.
Our vision is rooted in our core purposes:
- INSPIRE a love of learning science, technology, engineering and mathematics that fuels the next generation workforce.
- SHOWCASE our community and the identity of Northern Virginia as a technology hub — actively demonstrating what our region is and aspires to be.
- PROVIDE high-quality interactive, hands-on experiences for families, schools, and learners of all ages to explore, create, and be inspired.
- FILL a major gap—Northern Virginia is the largest metro area in the nation without a children’s museum or science center.
As we grow we will expand our impact, reach and perspective. We will engage over 300,000 visitors annually and inspire audiences ages 1 to 101. We will explore topics beyond the traditional view of science, and use science as a lens through which we look at the world as curious, creative and critical thinkers. As a part of this transformative process, we will unveil a new name and brand identity for Northern Virginia’s future science center.
Now in the planning stages, the timeline for opening the future science center depends upon community support. Join an upcoming Inspiration Tour to learn more about our work today, our vision for the future, and how you can help!