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2011 Annual Report

Letter from the President and the Chair of the Board of Trustees

Fifteen years ago, a traveler to an unknown city carried a travel guide, phrase book, a map and compass, and some change for the pay phone.

Today, that same traveler carries information on key sights and itineraries, GPS mapping, language translation, local restaurant recommendations and much more—all in a phone the size of a calculator.

Such is the speed at which science and technology is impacting our lives.

We're more reliant on science today than at any other time in our history to help us make decisions. As our society changes and advances more and more rapidly, we see monumental shifts in the way we connect with information, scientific discovery, media, culture and one another.

And yet, we're more connected, more linked, than ever. We go online to be "LinkedIn" with colleagues. With a click of the computer's mouse, we hyperlink from one website to another, instantly sharing knowledge and information.

Links can happen organically with brilliant results, like the link between pollinator and flower in the natural world. As bees savor sweet nectar with their short proboscis, and butterflies probe brightly-colored blossoms with their tongues, they are attracted to different flowers—red or yellow, sweetly scented or odorless—that have adapted over time to ensure survival for both insect and flower. The result is a mutually beneficial link that leaves pollinator and plant stronger as a result.

At the Science Museum, we're linking our future to the wisdom of our past, laying a strong foundation for the next generation. In this year's annual report we're proud to tell you about Wonder Years: The Science of Early Childhood Development, a new exhibition dedicated to the amazing things we now know about infant and child brain development, thanks to the latest scientific research.

Wonder Years is a partnership (a linkage, if you will) between the Science Museum, the University of Minnesota, the National Science Foundation and Public Agenda that's much more than an exhibition—it's a resource for parents to help them do the work of parenting. And, it links important findings about early childhood development to the real-world implications on families, communities and our economy.

In these pages you'll also find a story about indigenous tobacco seeds we sent aboard NASA's final space shuttle flight. These seeds are from our Hiller Ethnobotany Collection, ancient plant and food specimens collected by Minneapolis dentist Wesley Hiller in the 1930s and 1940s. Dr. Hiller probably never envisioned that his seeds would someday go into space—and forever link him to a future he could only imagine. Similarly, the work we sow today will be harvested by the next generation in a cycle that passes experience and wisdom to a future we will not see.

As you read through the following pages, we hope you'll be astounded by the many ways we're linking people with ideas. We hope you'll find compelling stories of how the Science Museum is linking to a brighter future in ways that honor our past. We hope you'll be so inspired that you find new ways to link with us as we work tirelessly to bring together inspiration and innovation.

Links. They are the ties that bind us together, the connections that create long-lasting relationships. Thank you for being an essential part of our past and present. We're proud of what we've accomplished thus far with your investment, and invite you to be part of an exciting future through your continued support.


Eric J. Jolly

Eric J. Jolly, Ph.D.
President, Science Museum of Minnesota

John M. Stanoch

John M. Stanoch
Chair, Board of Trustees

Download the Annual Report

To learn more about our museum and its programs please read the full
2011 Annual Report. (PDF | 2.3 MB)

2011 Annual Report - Financials (PDF | 129 KB)

2011 Annual Report - Audit Report on Financial Statements and Federal Awards (PDF | 2.1 MB)