STEM Contribute to Record Year For Children's Museum

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The Dow AgroSciences ScienceWorks exhibit opened in the museum in 2016. (photo courtesy The Children's Museum of Indianapolis) The Dow AgroSciences ScienceWorks exhibit opened in the museum in 2016. (photo courtesy The Children's Museum of Indianapolis)

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is celebrating a record-breaking year in 2016. About 1.27 million people visited the museum last year, marking the highest attendance without a major special exhibit being featured.

The museum says more visitors, memberships and school visits added to the record year. Only 2009 saw more visitors to the museum with more than 1.31 million. That year, the museum hosted the Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs exhibit.

The museum says new permanent exhibits including Beyond Spaceship Earth and Dow AgroSciences ScienceWorks contributed to the numbers. 

"The museum continually looks for new ways to reach and engage new visitors as well as our current members and visitors," said Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Patchen.  "In 2016, we responded with one-of-a-kind STEM-strong experiences such the new Heritage Group Center for Family Learning in STEM. The Museum’s $9.5 million investment in science exploration and discovery has paid off as reflected in the museum’s extraordinary attendance in 2016."

Patchen says the museum's partnership with Disney to create the Doc McStuffins: The Exhibit traveling experience was also a big boost. He says it was the first time Disney has ever partnered with a museum for such a project.

The museum also set new records for household memberships with 35,700, gift membership purchases, member school attendance with more than 102,000 students visiting, and a record number of member schools with 112.

In September, the museum broke ground on its $35 million Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience. The museum says it is on pace to open the 7.5-acre health and fitness experience in the spring of 2018.

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