By Mikalee Byerman, special to the RGJ
The Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum — more commonly known as The Discovery — has become a field-trip staple for local students, and for good reason: The destination has positioned itself at the intersection of culture and education, offering exhibits and activities to keep young minds thriving.
But leadership at The Discovery wants to make something abundantly clear: Contrary to the rumor, you do not have to have children to visit the museum.
“What we hope people know about The Discovery is that it is not just for children,” said Patrick Turner, marketing & communications director for The Discovery. “We want our community to think of The Discovery like they think of San Francisco’s Exploratorium or the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland — a world-class, hands-on science center for all ages.”
To that end, Turner notes that each gallery in The Discovery has some sort of technological component, most of which appeal to multiple generations. The leadership team takes the museum’s reputation as northern Nevada’s home for science, technology, engineering, art and math — or STEAM — seriously.
“The most technologically advanced gallery we’ve created to date is called Inside Out: an Anatomy Experience,” Turner said. “Inside Out explores the topics of human anatomy and health science, so high-tech, digital components are a must!”
Showcasing an appeal to higher education — not just to the age groups who come to The Discovery on big yellow school buses — is the museum’s newest exhibit, called “Monster Fish: In Search of the Last River Giants.” The National Geographic exhibit is making its first stop on what will likely be a global tour.
It features the research of Zeb Hogan, a National Geographic Fellow and professor at the University of Nevada, Reno.
“The Discovery is very excited to showcase Zeb’s work, which is a great example of the amazing scientific research that is based right here in our community,” Turner said.
“The exhibition features a number of interesting exhibits that combine physical experiences with digital components to help visitors understand the impact we as humans have on our environment.”
With its monster fish, hands-on human anatomy exhibits, maker space for all ages and much more, The Discovery, Turner notes, is finding itself in the midst of an evolution of its own — one that combines fun, family-based learning with broad community appeal.
“Visitors can witness The Discovery’s transformation from children’s museum to hands-on science center,” Turner said “This progression is part of the museum’s long-term plan to serve our entire community, not just families with young children, with in-depth opportunities to explore science.”
Learn more about The Discovery — including guided tours providing behind-the- scenes insights into how current exhibits were created and what new exhibits are in the works — at NCET’s Tech Wednesday, Jan. 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Children are welcome, but not a requirement.