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A Day in the Life of the Science Museum of Minnesota: that was the idea for the centerpiece of this year's annual report. Twenty-four hours captured—if not wholly—then at least faithfully. It would be a day with a dizzying schedule. The museum would host an impressive think-tank at which heads of state would trade insights with leaders in business and education. There would be visitors from far-flung places, packed showings of Omni-films, special demonstrations by a bevy of community-based science organizations. It would be the first time in the history of the museum that the building would remain open to the public all night long, with activities scheduled right on through the wee hours. Off-site, the museum would have a presence throughout the region and in cities around the globe, through films, exhibits, and staff outreach. These would be layered over the routine operations that make the museum tick on regular basis. All well and good.
The surprise? It turns out that this place is not about what is on the schedule. It is about what happens in the space of a moment between people. It is about a willingness to give and a hunger to learn. It is a thing felt rather than seen; a percolating intensity that has to do with an understanding of what is at stake and a sense of obligation to get it right. It is about a culture that permeates this place; a collective pursuit of excellence that is evidenced in everything from a volunteer's interaction with a visitor, to an enticing exhibit, to a scientist's careful analysis of data, to the clean-swept musical steps. As an organization, it is one long, crazy dance between idealism and pragmatism, set to the rhythm of a common vision, that is: To optimize the role of science as a beneficial force in the community we serve.
Admittedly, this was a particularly wild twenty-four (or, as it turns out, twenty-seven) hours. But the humming at its core is ever-present. At the Science Museum of Minnesota, there are no ordinary days.
Download the Annual Report
To learn more about our museum and its programs please read the full 2006 Annual Report. (PDF | 7.5 MB)
2006 Annual Report - Financials (PDF | 1.2 MB)