The Museum of Discovery has won the 2022 Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award for Resilience from the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), an international organization of more than 600 science centers and museums.
The award for resilience recognizes an organization that has overcome a significant and specific challenge with a focus on how the institution approached the hardship to achieve new life, mission, and potential.
The Little Rock-based science center and staff received the award for rebounding from a flood and subsequent six-month closure for repairs following burst pipes during a February 2021 winter storm. The award was announced during ASTC’s annual conference in Pittsburgh.
The award judges cited the museum’s vision to transform itself during the rebuilding process, including the enlarged PPG STEAM Studio and revamped animal care facility, as well as the outpouring of support from community partners and the museum education team’s immersive virtual experiences it delivered to thousands during the closure, extending capabilities developed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Leading Edge Award is the science museum equivalent of an Oscar,” says Kelley Bass, Museum of Discovery CEO, “so we are exceptionally proud that our peers recognized what we overcame to reopen as a better, more engaging museum than we were before the flood. It took a while to see the ‘silver linings’ after this disaster, but thanks to the vision and hard work of our museum team, our guests now are having a better experience than ever and the best is yet to come.”
Coming on the heels of winning the Leading Edge Award, Museum of Discovery begins a series of permanent renovations this week. A two-story, three-tower climbing structure is being installed and will debut Saturday, November 19.
During the construction, the museum’s downstairs will be closed. Admission will be reduced to $5 for all ages until the reopening of the space and the debut of the climber. The installation of all new exhibits in the two galleries destroyed by the flood is planned for next fall.