The Discovery Museums Complete $3M Leadership Challenge and Secure Additional $1M Community Challenge, both from The Manton Foundation

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                

Contact: Ann Sgarzi

April 13, 2016                                                                                                                                                        

978-264-4200 ext. 23



The Discovery Museums Complete $3M Leadership Challenge and Secure Additional $1M Community Challenge, both from The Manton Foundation


Completion of the $1-for-$1 Community Challenge will fully fund
the $8.4M Campaign for The Discovery Museums


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ACTON, MA – The Discovery Museums announced today that it has completed a $3M dollar-for-dollar Leadership Challenge and secured an additional $1M dollar-for-dollar Community Challenge, both from The Manton Foundation, leaving the museum $1M from an $8.4M goal to fund its Campus Master Plan.  The Manton Leadership Challenge was completed one year ahead of deadline.


Early completion of the $3M Manton Leadership Challenge marks a significant milestone toward fully funding the Campaign for The Discovery Museums, created to fund the first two phases of the museums’ Campus Master Plan. The plan calls for a complete renovation of the museums’ outdoor spaces and expansion of indoor facilities.  The Manton Leadership Challenge has motivated donors to commit to the Campaign, resulting in 2015 being the most successful year of fundraising in the Museums’ 34-year history. 


In October 2015, the Museums broke ground on Phase 1 of the Campus Master Plan, a $1.5M project to develop an accessible and fully-inclusive nature playscape for children and families called Discovery Woods, expected to open this July.


The Museums have set an ambitious goal to complete the $1M Manton Community Challenge in 12 months, which would enable the Phase 2 building expansion project to move forward in early 2017.  The new facilities will increase exhibit space and visitor amenities and be fully ADA compliant. Fundraising beyond this campaign for a third phase of construction, to create an outdoor amphitheater and creative play exhibits, is also planned.


“We are proud and humbled by the faith and support invested in The Discovery Museums by the trustees of The Manton Foundation,” said Museums’ Board of Directors Chair Bill Ryan. “The Foundation has long been a believer in the Museums, and it is thanks to its support that we have been able to conceive an expansion and renovation of such high caliber and integrity.”


Discovery Woods, designed by Concord architects Lemon-Brooke with general contracting by JM Coull, Inc. of Maynard, will feature fun, interactive, and fully accessible experiences to introduce families to the wonders of nature and the often-forgotten benefits of unstructured outdoor play.  The central feature will be an accessible treehouse and learning center designed by The Treehouse Guys of Warren, VT.  Those with mobility, developmental, or behavioral differences will find elements of adventure and discovery alongside other visitors, as thoughtful accommodations in the design of the site and exhibits will be integrated inclusively. The environment will support risk-taking by all children, as they learn that whether on the ground or in the treetops, the natural environment can be both safe and exciting.


Phase 2 of the project is an expansion of the 29-year-old Science Discovery Museum, which has had no significant capital investment since its opening.  The expansion is being designed by architects Cambridge Seven Associates with general contracting by JM Coull, Inc.  The project will double the overall size of the building, bring all of the museums’ exhibits under one roof, add brand new learning experiences for families, and provide modern visitor amenities.  New permanent exhibits will include “Brain Building Zone,” a signature early-learning gallery based on the latest brain development research, designed for children ages zero to three and their parents; “Yes, It’s Math!,” an exhibit providing fun, family learning that takes the anxiety out of “doing math;” and “Da Vinci’s Workshop,” which will celebrate invention, art, creativity, and the process of scientific inquiry. 


“We are energized and motivated by the long-standing and significant support of The Manton Foundation, as well as the deep and generous commitment of our community,” said CEO Neil Gordon. “This widespread support and enthusiasm of our individual and institutional supporters has enabled us to not only expand our capacity to serve more families, but to better serve children of all abilities.”





About The Discovery Museums

The Discovery Museums are the children’s and science museums of Metrowest Boston. Two great museums—for one admission price—blend the best of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) learning on a beautiful 4.5-acre campus in Acton, MA, located about 20 miles west of Boston. The Museums serve families and schools from towns throughout the region, with a commitment to informal education that enhances classroom learning. The hands-on, playful exhibits, developed by professional educators, inspire curiosity, exploration, experimentation, and imagination. The Discovery Museums combine manageable scale, convenient location and free parking to provide a fun and engaging experience where children and adults can discover their world together.  The Discovery Museums are an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information please visit


The Discovery Museums’ programming is supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.





Ann Sgarzi

Director of Marketing

The Discovery Museums

177 Main Street

Acton, MA 01720

978-264-4200 ext. 23

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