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Letter from the President
Science and technology-based industries represent the fastest growing segment of our economy and the highest paid jobs in our future. In the next decade, three out of five leading employment growth opportunities will require a capacity in science and mathematics. Pause for a moment to let that fact sink in—three out of five leading growth opportunities—will require a capacity in science and mathematics. The good news is that we're headed in the right direction.
Case in point: This year, I was honored to have been invited to testify before a U.S. House committee on the role of museums in strengthening communities. It was also a thrill to visit the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, to participate in events hosted by Ecsite—the European Network of Science Centres and Museums— to develop strategies that science communicators can use to advance a knowledgebased economy. It's exciting that the Science Museum is a leading voice in these national and international conversations on the importance of science.
I write this letter the day before our scientists travel to Biloxi, Mississippi, to receive a first-place Gulf Guardian award for our scientific research and public education efforts. It's unusual for an organization nearly 2,300 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to receive such an honor, but it certainly speaks to the national leadership the Science Museum is providing in water conservation and environmental stewardship.
It would be easy to sit back, relax, and ride the wave of success we've achieved thus far. But we cannot afford to be complacent. We must continue to make waves. We must continue to find new ways to equip the next generation for their future, not our past. It is a future highly reliant on science literacy.
No one would think that it's okay to be illiterate. No one would brag, "I don't read." Similarly, they should not say, "I don't do science or math." Just as we believe that high rates of literacy foster healthy civic discourse, we need higher civic participation around issues of science with every passing year. The need for 2 essential science literacy—the ability to understand and engage in the issues of science and technology that shape our culture—has exploded in the past few decades. Our air, our water, our health, and our economy will all be profoundly affected by the choices we make.
So we ask ourselves: What more can we do? We can lead the way. And you can help us lead.
We can excite individual engagement in the sciences—especially through families—by offering a broad range of programs, and expanding the diversity of those we serve through our programs and exhibitions. We can create partnerships with educators and administrators, and create programming that is directly tied to student outcomes. We can increase our relevancy to policy makers—governing officials, business leaders, foundations, and other community leaders—and help scientists and policy makers speak a common language that the public can understand. The result of all this? A state guided by an educated and engaged citizenry, and policy makers who make informed decisions based on data and facts.
We're not only capable of providing the leadership for such a forward-reaching agenda—we're excited to do it. And we know that you, our friends and supporters, share our enthusiasm and determination to expand and deepen the Science Museum's impact, whether around the corner or around the world.
Thank you for partnering with us in this critical work. Everything we do is made possible by you.
Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D., President
Download the Annual Report
To learn more about our museum and its programs please read the full 2009 Annual Report. (PDF | 3.7 MB)
2009 Annual Report - Financials (PDF | 50 KB)