The nationally recognized Noyce Foundation has selected MOSI as one of seven museums in the U.S. to win their Bright Lights Community Engagement Award, which includes a six-figure monetary donation. The award recognizes science centers, children’s museums and natural history museums that have done an outstanding job of engaging with their local communities. Of particular interest were outreach efforts that included aspects of science, technology, engineering, art or math (STEAM). MOSI was one of thousands of institutions eligible for this award.
After three intensive rounds of judging by 15 expert judges, MOSI was selected as “truly exceptional for the depth, breath, and impact of their community outreach work.” According to the Noyce Foundation, the goal of the award was to discover and shine a light on those willing to embrace their communities in new and profound ways.
“For decades, MOSI has been engaged in the issues of Tampa and the region, with particular emphasis on underserved and at-risk populations and those who work with them,” said Ann Bowers, chair of the Noyce Board of Directors. “Outreach and community engagement are not a separate department at MOSI, but embedded in its organization culture and actions. Commitment to community and improving lives permeates everything this institution does.”
MOSI’s community engagement initiatives focus on the needs of the underserved and at-risk populations. MOSI provide more than $3 million annually in free passes, scholarships, and membership s to those who cannot afford them. Additionally, MOSI works with educators, Head Start teachers, families, and children to increase science interest and improve science inquiry, along with expanding our NSF research that focuses on bilingual families in Title I schools to create a nation-wide professional development model for other museums to address diversity. MOSI also offers sensory-friendly camps that provide significant STEAM experiences in an integrated setting for high-performing autistic children.
“Our impact on students in the Tampa Bay community and beyond through outreach programs, scholarships, and trainings allow us to bring fun, interactive STEAM education to those who might not otherwise make it to our science center,” said Molly Demeulenaere , MOSI Vice President of Growth. “This award will allow MOSI to continue its mission of being an educational resource with an emphasis on underserved communities.”
The six additional museums chosen for the Bright Lights award include Explora (Albuquerque, New Mexico), the Science Museum of Minnesota (Saint Paul, Minnesota), the Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, California), the Hands On Children’s Museum (Olympia, Washington), The Franklin Institute (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and The Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose, California).
The Noyce Foundation was created by the Noyce family in 1990 to honor the memory and legacy of Dr. Robert N. Noyce, co-founder of Intel and inventor of the integrated circuit which fueled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valley its name. The overriding goal of the Noyce Foundation is to help adults guide young people into productive lives. The Bright Lights award and donation will allow MOSI to continue reaching underserved populations with initiatives like scholarships, outreach programs, teacher trainings, and science assemblies to help meet the needs of families and schools with limited resources.