Letter from Alison Rempel Brown
2020 proved to be one of the most unique and challenging years in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s long history as a trusted resource for the community’s science learning. Back in 1907, our founders set out to “promote among all classes of people the knowledge and enlightenment that are essential to right living and good citizenship.” Among the offerings that first year were lectures on the spread of contagious diseases, among many other topics. It’s fascinating to consider our organization’s roots in light of today’s events and the renewed interest in the science of public health.
Looking back on our history, we are struck by what has changed over more than a century — and what remains the same. And perhaps most of all, we’re struck by the Science Museum’s impressive track record of evolving to meet the changing needs of the community.
The museum continues to evolve. It’s part of who we are, and the challenges of the past year demanded it. We were on track to meet or even exceed our goals for FY20 when the pandemic hit. Like so many other businesses and organizations, we saw major revenue losses as a result of an extended closure to help slow the spread of COVID-19. We had to make extraordinarily difficult decisions to weather the crisis — decisions that resulted in a smaller organization and a significant reduction in staff.
Despite challenges like we’ve never experienced before, the Science Museum remains deeply committed to serving our community through science and education that center equity. Trusting science is critical to our advancement as a society, and engaging STEM experiences that help our audiences see themselves in science are more important than ever.
The pandemic has affected the community in disproportionate ways, magnifying the disparities already present along race, income, occupation, and gender lines. With these disparities in mind, we focused on how we could serve the community in critically-needed ways. We are proud of the new ways we’ve cultivated to engage with them virtually, and we look forward to using these new tools to connect with new audiences around the world.
As we close out the year, we commit to equity with renewed vigor. The world was shocked by the images they saw of George Floyd’s murder. We were too. We commit to challenging our own systems and continuing to break down those that lead to inequities. We commit to using our resources, staff time, and dollars to create equity. Thank you for your partnership as we work to be part of the solution for addressing the significant racial inequalities in our country and state.
Your support makes our vital work possible. Thank you.
Alison Rempel Brown