Sloan Museum of Discovery to provide interactive learning opportunities for kids



Key donors and community leaders took part in the official groundbreaking for the Sloan Museum of Discovery last Wednesday. Photo by Ben Gagnon

Key donors and community leaders took part in the official groundbreaking for the Sloan Museum of Discovery last Wednesday. Photo by Ben Gagnon

FLINT — Over the next few years, the Sloan Museum will be undergoing a major renovation project to enhance its educational reach and deliver more fun experiences to the community.

What is now known as the Alfred P. Sloan Museum will be renamed as the Sloan Museum of Discovery—a new building that will boast 42,000 more square feet of space, new galleries and reimagined exhibits.

Set to open in 2021, museum will include revamped Flint history galleries, a hands-on science Discovery Hall, a redesigned Vehicle City Gallery, an Early Childhood Gallery, three new Learning Labs and a new café.

Last Wednesday, the museum hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to set these goals in motion and to celebrate the site’s future transformation. Key donors and community leaders were in attendance to share their excitement about the project, particularly regarding the museum’s mission to create interactive learning opportunities for children and students.

Becky Gaskin, Executive Director for the Hagerman Foundation, said that the museum’s Early Childhood Gallery will promote learning through fully interactive spaces and play-centric activities.

“At this discovery center, it’s going to be state-of-the-art, hands-on learning,” she said. “The child will begin to connect the classroom with real world experiences, optimal brain development will begin to take place and they’ll begin to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.”

Other speakers voiced hopes that the museum will give kids the foundation they need to become passionate learners and effective citizens.

“This project represents an investment in the future of our children,” said Ridgeway White, President and CEO of the C.S. Mott Foundation. “We hope that (the museum) ignites that excitement within a kid—that spark to become a lifelong learner in science, technology, history and many other things.”

White also announced that the C.S. Mott Foundation will match two-toone every new donation granted to the museum—all the way up to $1 million— in order to help raise the remaining $4 million needed for the project.

“For so many kids in Flint, the Sloan Museum is the only museum experience they might have,” he said. “We felt that this project needed to be the best.”

In total, funding for the Sloan Museum of Discovery is being provided by the C.S. Mott Foundation, General Motors, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Hagerman Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Flint and various private donors.

Although funds from the voterapproved Genesee County Arts & Culture Millage cannot be used for the museum’s renovation, millage funds will ensure that Genesee County residents can visit the museum free of charge when it reopens.

To learn more about the Sloan Discovery Museum or to make contributions to the museum project, visit sloanlongway.org/discoversloan/.