The 501C3 Files as seen in the Ashland Sneak Preview
ScienceWorks Hands On Museum
By Adam and Sophia S.W. Bogle
Manifested destiny. That’s the term that comes to mind when you talk to ScienceWork’s new Executive Director, Dan Ruby. ScienceWorks had been looking for a new energetic person to usher in their vision of the future, and oddly enough, Dan Ruby had been looking to be that person, even before Science Works knew they needed him.
It is funny how often the jobs you get in college can lead you to your dream profession. (That’s what led Sophia to become an expert book restorationist.) Dan has a bachelors of fine arts and started out as a graphic designer. But it was the student job at the college planetarium that lead him down a path to a career running science museums. Not digging his graphic design job, he started imagining the perfect career. Thinking back on that college job, Dan decided he wanted to run the Fleischmann Planetarium at the University of Nevada in Reno. And apparently, when he puts his mind to something, it comes to be. So about 12 years ago he became the Executive Director at the planetarium. An arts major running a science based institution. “Isn’t it Ironic?” as Alanis Morissette might say. (I am not really convinced that she understood the meaning of the word irony though. Read the lyrics to that song some day. They aren’t ironic.) Side Note: Dan actually went back to college and has a masters degree in Science Education
Raised in Reno, the planetarium gig was a great fit. But Dan had gone to college at Portland State University, and so he would regularly drive between Portland and Reno to visit friends with his wife Leah and their two young children Marcel and Linus. Ashland was the perfect place for some decent food, and a chance to break up the ten hour drive.
Good parents that they are, they were looking for a way to make the trip easier for the children. Knowing that a Shakespeare play might be a little over the head of even the most gifted of two year olds, they looked around and discovered ScienceWorks.
Having worked at OMSI in Portland while in college, Dan knew what a top quality science museum could be like, and since Ashland is a small town, he had to set his expectations low. So it was a pleasant surprise for him to discover OMSI kind of quality right here in little ol’ podunk Ashland. (Smaller for sure, but great quality.)
Now Ashland was no longer just a stop for lunch. It became a regular overnight stop. ScienceWorks was an oasis that they looked forward to. It was on one of these trips that Dan thought if he ever left his dream job and the “Planet…arium” (sorry…South Park always comes to mind when I say that word) that his next dream job would be to become the executive director at Science Works. And in true manifest destiny style, he did it again.
Now what does that mean for all of us? It means we have a guy running our “podunk” little ol’ Science Museum who is skilled at manifesting destiny. Whether by magic or persistence, it seems he is a guy who can get things done, and he has big dreams for the place.
It was apparent, when he let us in on some of his longer term dreams, that ScienceWorks is destined to become an even better resource for all of Southern Oregon. Here are just some of the ideas being explored: Building exhibits that can tour other museums, creating some space for food and beverages, (Did I possibly hear the word beer?) and maybe even opening up their stage for music concerts. Whatever direction he takes the place, his energy and passion are just what ScienceWorks needs at this time.
For now, go see the Pterosaurs Exhibit. It is Amazing!!!! Very not podunk. And consider becoming a member. Sophia and I became members a few years ago even though our kid is all grown up. Now when we go, we get to be the kids! Check it out at ScienceWorksmuseum.org or in person Tuesday-Sunday at 1500 E. Main Street in podunk Ashland. They have air conditioning!