The Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa has been selected as one of just seven museums in the country to receive the Bright Lights Community Engagement Award from the Noyce Foundation.
The award recognizes science centers, children’s museums and natural history museums that have done what it considers to be an outstanding job of engaging with their local communities, especially in areas like science, technology, engineering, art and math. It comes with an undisclosed monetary prize said only to be above $100,000.
“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, in a release. “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.”
The goal of the award, according to the foundation, is to discover and shine a light on those willing to embrace their communities in new and profound ways. A panel of 15 judges helped select the winners.
MOSI provides more than $3 million annually in free passes, scholarships and memberships to those who cannot afford them. In addition, MOSI works with educators, Head Start teachers, families and children to increase science interest and improve science inquiry, according to a release.
“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’s vice president of growth, in a release. “This award will allow MOSI to continue its mission of being an educational resource with an emphasis on underserved communities.”
Other museums winning the Bright Lights award include Explora in Albuquerque, New Mexico; the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul; the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California; the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia, Washington; The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia; and The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California.
The Noyce Foundation was created in 1990 to honor the memory and legacy of 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 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.
For more information on the Museum of Science & Industry, visit MOSI.org.