The Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), an international organization of more than 600 science centers and museums, has awarded the Little Rock Museum of Discovery with the 2022 Roy L. Schafer Leading Edge Award for Resilience. This award 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.
For the Museum of Discovery, that serious challenge was the devastating flood caused by burst pipes during a winter storm in Feb. 2021. More than six months of closure followed due to repairs and renovations, but the museum has not stopped at just reopening its doors, as showcased by their most recent addition.
Presented at the ASTC’s annual conference in Pittsburg, PA, 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,” said 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!”
At this time, the downstairs section of the museum is still closed as the climbing structure is installed, so all admissions are only $5. More will follow, with new exhibits in the galleries that were destroyed by the flood planned for next fall.
For more information on planned renovations, visit the Museum of Discovery website.