501c3 Files

By Adam and Sophia Bogle

Science Works Hands-On Museum

I will fully admit that science was not my favorite subject in school, and that I do not get warm fuzzy feelings when I think of going to museums. So you well may wonder why I am writing this article at all. And here is the thing. I was talked into going to ScienceWorks by some friends (smart friends) and found that it is nothing like my boring science classes and also nothing like the “don’t touch anything” museums I remembered at all! I also thought it would just be for kids but nothing could be farther from the truth. When my wife, Sophia and I went to go check it out the first time, we completely lost track of time and spent hours exploring and discovering and just playing. Sophia’s favorite is the air tube where you can fold paper and make it fly; that and the bubble room! Personally, I just love to play in Divinci’s garage. The pegboard marble wall is wonderful due to its sheer simplicity. Time seems to vanish in this room as I connect pieces of wood, and pipes and springs to watch a marble make it’s way down the wall. 

ScienceWorks really has something for everyone. Want to solve a Rubik’s Cube or surround yourself in a giant bubble?  Or how would you like to learn to cut through a piece of metal with the energy of a pepperoni stick meat torch?  Just today I was wandering around the place and saw a very grandmotherly type at one exhibit playing with blocks building a tower while talking to a friend. And elsewhere 7 year old boys were tossing bolts at magnets to see if they could make them stick. Everyone gets to play at ScienceWorks!

There are many different programs at ScienceWorks, including a fantastic summer intern program that provides opportunities for high school students to volunteer and grow through the experience of taking leadership and the responsibility of the experience for others. I was talking with one of their interns, Jordan, about what he liked about being an intern at ScienceWorks. He proudly told me this is his second summer interning and that he had more than 150 volunteer hours in so far. His favorite part is helping the younger children learn, and getting to know them on a personal level. 

Asha, is a senior intern this year who had been told from some friends that it was a great place to get her volunteer hours she needed for school. Yesterday she was dissecting plants with 5-8 year olds. Boring, right? But it apparently it wasn’t. Because the plants were carnivores and inside were the bugs that had been caught who upon the dissection of the plant were freed from their captor…only to be pounced upon by 7 children with tweezers and magnifying glasses. I won’t tell you what happened next, but Asha said that “parts and pieces ended up in my hair, and it was completely gross…it was really awesome.” 

A great example of a ScienceWorks success story is Heather, who used to visit ScienceWorks on school field trips. She was so inspired by the unstructured yet playful and scientific environment that she decided to study science in school. This led to a degree from SOU, and then on to a PHD from Stanford University where she has continued what ScienceWorks started for her. Currently she is working in the field of battery technology.

And I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention beer. In the fall ScienceWorks puts on Brews and Boogie. With various microbreweries and restaurants providing libations, live music and awesome carnival games.  We attended the annual fundraising event for the first time last year, and it is now a must attend event for us. The highlight was certainly the fire shooting carnival game that seemed like it was straight out of a CBS Survivor challenge, where you shot a tennis ball from a giant slingshot…and if you hit the target a fire cannon shot huge fireball into the air. 

We love this place. The people who work there love the place. The people who volunteer love the place. The only people who seem to not love ScienceWorks are the people who have never been and think it is either a place for kids, or a boring museum. Become a member or just go visit. You will not be disappointed! 

To see all of the amazing things they do and to become a member, visit their website at www.scienceworksmuseum.org.