Timeline

Celebrating 39 years of excellence.
  • 1974

    The Montshire Museum of Science is founded. The name “Montshire” is derived from the last syllables of Vermont and New Hampshire, and stands for the Museum’s focus on the communities it serves.
  • 1976

    January 10 - The Montshire Museum opens its doors to the public in the former Golfside Bowling Lanes on Lyme Road in Hanover, New Hampshire, with six diorama cases and a Discovery Room with simple interactive exhibits. Bob Chaffee is the first director.
  • 1980

    The Montshire Museum becomes the first organization in the country to be named a Public Service Science Center by the National Science Foundation.
  • 1981

    Montshire hires David Goudy as director.
  • 1983

    Montshire launches an outreach program serving schools throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. Major capital investment includes the purchase of the Museum’s first truck, allowing the Montshire to bring science exhibits and programs to schools and communities.
  • 1984

    Supported by a community fundraising campaign, the Montshire purchases 100 acres along the Connecticut River in Norwich, Vermont, from the Co-op Food Stores.
  • 1986

    The Museum opens nature trails and outdoor exhibits in Norwich. The Museum’s Summer Camp Program begins.
  • 1988

    The Corporate Fund, a project of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, recognizes the Montshire with its first Award for Excellence in Non-Profit Management.

    August 5 - Vermont Governor Madeline Kunin removes the first shovelful of soil during groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Museum building in Norwich.
  • 1989

    November 18 - More than 3,000 people attend the grand opening of the new Museum in Norwich. New Hampshire Governor Judd Gregg leads the dedication.
  • 1990

    Soda Fountain Science area begins serving up hands-on science activities for Museum visitors.
  • 1991

    Board of Trustees adopts the current mission statement: “The purpose of the Montshire Museum is to create, awaken, foster, and nurture an interest in and curiosity about the physical and natural world by providing programs, experiences, and exhibits emphasizing real objects and phenomena.”

    Annual attendance exceeds 100,000 visitors.
  • 1992

    Montshire receives a prestigious grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to create a natural history curriculum for fourth and fifth graders in local schools.

    Andy’s Place opens, providing an area designed specifically for children 5 years of age and under.
  • 1994

    Montshire is awarded a National Science Foundation grant for Model Projects for Women and Girls in Science and Mathematics: Science Horizons to develop and implement a program to engage girls in science and provide women scientist role models through a collaboration with the Dartmouth College Women in Science Program.

    Montshire is awarded a U.S. Department of Energy grant for Energy Circus, enabling the Museum to develop an electricity exhibit section for Science Circus, the Museum’s science outreach program, and the portable Pushcart Science exhibit, a moveable cart for Museum staff to lead energy, electricity, and science activities.

    Montshire Museum and Dartmouth College create ValleyNet, community-based information resources for the Upper Connecticut River Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont, which later grows into its own independent organization.
  • 1995

    The 196-foot long pedestrian bridge is built, connecting the Museum building to the Ridge trail, and Montshire’s indoor exhibits directly with the natural history of northern New England.

    U.S. Senator James Jeffords of Vermont announces the Montshire as an official interpretive site for the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

    Institute of Museum Services awards the Montshire the National Award for Museum Service, presented by First Lady Hillary Clinton at a White House ceremony.

    Montshire launches Scientifica, a new outreach program (replacing Science Circus) as the Museum’s flagship school outreach program. A larger truck is purchased to transport Scientifica’s more than 2,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits to schools and communities in Vermont and New Hampshire.
  • 1996

    The first of three National Science Foundation grants is awarded to the Montshire, creating the TEAMS (Traveling Exhibits at Museums of Science) collaborative with six museum partners around the country. The funding supports innovative research about how families learn in museums. The Montshire designs and builds AirPlay, Hear Here, and Toys: The Inside Story exhibitions as part of the TEAMS project.
  • 1998

    The Museum purchases StarLab portable planetarium system and adds an astronomy-based curriculum to the Museum’s outreach program for schools throughout New Hampshire and Vermont.
  • 1999

    Pedestrian access through a tunnel under the railroad tracks is completed, allowing visitors access to the Quinn Nature Preserve and riverfront trails.
  • 2002

    Dartmouth provost Barry Scherr and Montshire director David Goudy announce the creation of the Dartmouth-Montshire Institute for Science Education to enhance the quality of science education in Vermont and New Hampshire.

    Leonard M. Reiser Learning Center opens, providing 10,000 square feet of new exhibit space, a teaching classroom built especially for visiting school groups, and a multi-media theater. The new space featured exhibits about the Conte Refuge and the Connecticut River watershed. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont led the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

    Two-acre Science Park opens, the result of a $4.2 million capital campaign by the Museum.
  • 2004

    June 10 Ground is broken for the Montshire Access Project. This $1.9 million project (completed in 2006) provides improved visitor access to the Museum building, and a paved access road and parking lot.

    Montshire hosts a national conference on family learning.

    White River Flyer, part of the Green Mountain Railroad, begins train excursions to the Montshire.
  • 2005

    Jesse B. Cox Charitable Trust funds development of a model for museum-school partnerships to create a long-term, sustainable science infrastructure in a rural school district.
  • 2007

    Landscape Architecture magazine celebrates the unique design attributes of Science Park with a feature article and photo spread in its October issue.

    The Center For Native Plant Studies is established. The Museum offers new workshops, public lectures, and exhibits about native plants. New England Wild Flower Society (NEWFS) designates the Montshire as a regional center for courses and certification in native plant studies.
  • 2008

    The Woodland Garden opens.

    Parents magazine recognizes the Montshire as one of the nation’s top 25 science centers in its September issue.
  • 2009

    Science Discovery Lab opens (replacing the Soda Fountain) and includes wheelchair accessibility and expanded science activities for older children.

    Montshire forms partnerships with Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Vermont Center for Ecostudies to enhance and expand programming, and to offer new opportunities to explore nature.

    Montshire receives a NASA grant to fund The Dynamic Earth: You Have to See It to Believe It!, a five-year project to develop Earth Science exhibits and programs.

    Montshire receives a grant from National Institutes of Health (NIH) to fund the Museum’s new outreach initiative, Connecting Classrooms and Community with Health Sciences, a multi-faceted project to develop health science curriculum for middle schools in Vermont and New Hampshire.

    Montshire is recognized as 2009 Business Innovator of the Year by the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • 2010

    Montshire partners with ILEAD (Institute for Lifelong Learning at Dartmouth) to increase the number of science courses offered in the Upper Valley.

    The 2,400-square-foot Hughes Pavilion, an architecturally unique, tensile membrane structure, is constructed on the northwest corner of Science Park.

    Montshire and Frog Hollow, the Vermont State Craft Center, form a collaboration to involve Vermont artists in the creation of benches for the Museum’s Woodland Garden.
  • 2011

    Montshire’s Director of Education Greg DeFrances is one of only 18 museum leaders selected as a Noyce Fellow by the Noyce Leadership Institute. The Noyce Foundation, in collaboration with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) ,offers a highly competitive sponsored fellowship program to increase the public impact of science centers.
  • 2012

    Montshire ranks #4 of Top Ten Science and Technology Museums in the country (Trekaroo.com).

    Board of Trustees revise the mission statement  to, "Montshire Museum's mission is to awaken and encourage a lifelong interest in science through exhibits and programming dedicated to hands-on discovery and education for people of all ages. Unique to this mission is Montshire’s 100-acre New England riverfront setting, which fosters deep and creative learning in both the physical and natural sciences."
  • 2013

    Montshire's Assoicate Director Jennifer Rickards is one of only 17 museum leaders selected as a Noyce Fellow by the Noyce Leadership Institute. The Noyce Foundation, in collaboration with the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), offers a highly competitive sponsored fellowship program to increase the public impact of science centers.