In 2001, through a cooperative arrangement with the Kirlin Foundation and Southern Oregon University, ScienceWorks began leasing the 26,000 square foot building previously occupied by the Pacific Northwest Museum of Natural History. Founders Sharon and John Javna and Dave and Marge Bernard brought life and vitality back into the long-closed structure, and returning the museum building back to public use. Throughout 2002, a small museum staff and more than one hundred volunteers retrofitted the building, built exhibits and began implementation of the strategic plan.
As of this year, ScienceWorks has served over 350,000 visitors and school children throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California and has nearly 1,700 Member families. 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. The museum was recently nominated for the Distinguished Service Award presented by the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators for "individual or organizations outside the field of education that make significant contributions to the education of young people in Oregon."
"We had a wonderful day. Thank you for keeping science alive for young people." - Madolyn Molloy, Lone Pine Elementary Teacher, Grade 3.
"Attending the museum challenged students to consider science as a part of daily life." - Mark Moskowitz, Program Coordinator, Southern Oregon Regional Programs for Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing and Visually Impaired
ScienceWorks is home to nearly 100 interactive exhibits that encourage children and adults to learn about more about various scientific principles. The museum currently uses 10,000 of an available 20,000 square feet of exhibit space, allowing for the possibility of future expansion within the existing museum building. The majority of exhibits have been built in-house in a state-of-the-art fabrication studio.
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. Over 86% of museum visitors come from outside of Ashland. ScienceWorks exhibits have received national and international attention and have been sold to the Singapore Science Center, Technopolis in Belgium, Miami Museum of Science, Calgary Science Centre and museums in the U.S.
Committed to sharing resources with other nonprofit community organizations, ScienceWorks is serving the region through collaborations with North Mountain Park, Southern Oregon Goodwill Industries, the Southern Oregon Jobs Council, Living Opportunities, the Southern Oregon Education Service District, Southern Oregon Historical Society, Southern Oregon Public Television, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland and the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
ScienceWorks is a growing organization hoping to inspire a love of science and learning in all ages.