Museum receives $200,000 grant in support of new outdoor learning environments and Ignite Learning membership program.


The Museum of Life and Science announced today that the A.J. Fletcher Foundation (AJF) has awarded the Durham based science museum a $200,000 grant supporting the Museum’s latest expansion and outreach plans. The most ambitious campaign in the Museum’s history, the $3.9 million dollar Climbing Higher Campaign will introduce two new outdoor learning environments to the Museum’s 84-acre campus: Hideaway Woods, a two-acre nature-based playscape and Earth Moves, a hands-on approach to earth sciences.  Additionally, the Foundation’s grant will also support the Museum’s Ignite Learning membership program, providing deeply subsidized memberships for families in need with support from partners including the East Durham’s Children Initiative.

“We are immensely proud of our long-term partnership with the Museum of Life and Science and are excited to lend our support to these wonderful initiatives,” said Fletcher Foundation Executive Director Damon Circosta. “This is not yesterday’s museum. In this dynamic world, the Museum is building outdoor learning spaces to provide children and families across North Carolina with immersive and interactive opportunities to stretch their creativity and knowledge about the natural world. As the Museum expands, we believe it’s critically important to enhance existing outreach programs to allow even greater accessibility to disadvantaged families.”

A long-time supporter of the Museum, A.J. Fletcher Foundation served as a key benefactor in the 2005 BioQuest expansion which included the development of Magic Wings Butterfly House, Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, and the Dinosaur Trail.


About the Climbing Higher Campaign

Hideaway Woods – Opening in summer 2015, this two-acre nature-based playscape will be located in the wooded area, encircled by the Museum’s Ellerbe Creek Railway tracks and will feature outdoor experiences designed to encourage movement, exploration and skill development. Highlights include:

  • Tree house villages suspended 15 to 20 feet off the ground. Children will climb high among the trees, crisscross between houses on suspended bridges, and see nature from a different point of view
  • Play space dedicated to the Museum’s youngest visitors – those 18 months to age five – with activities ranging from building exercises to low log steppers for climbing. Designed to be increasingly challenging, this space encourages children to practice and improve over the course of a single or multiple visits.

Earth Moves – Opening in 2016, this innovative approach to earth science learning  will immerse in how the Earth moves by natural forces and human interaction. This new  experience will be located across from the Into the Mist exhibit in the Catch the Wind area of the Museum’s outdoor campus. Highlights include:

  • Large scale digger pit with full size excavators, modified for safe operation by families and children. Visitors are invited to take control of and experience the physics of moving massive amounts of earth with simple machines.
  • Earthquake platform that challenges visitors to build structures that can survive simulated seismic activity. Visitors will also be able to stand on the platform to experience what a tremor might feel like while controlling their quake’s intensity and degree of magnitude.


The Museum of Life and Science is creating a place of lifelong learning where people, from young child to senior citizen, embrace science as a way of knowing about themselves, their community and their world.
Museum Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-5pm; Sunday 12-5pm
$14 Adult; $11 Senior (age 65+) and active military with ID; $10 Children age 3-12; Members/children under 3 admitted free
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