January 2021

Scienceworks Hands on MuseumAs we are all acutely aware, 2020 has hit our home in the Rogue Valley, and our collective society, with more than a few blows. We have rallied around those hardest hit and are dealing with our own immediate hardships and sacrifices. This year has also brought to light a lack of essential critical thinking skills, trust in, and understanding of science.

Scienceworks Hands-on Museum, in its 18th year of passionately serving our community, has played a vital role in developing those skills across all ages and walks of life. Now, Scienceworks’ mission is especially important as it retools for reopening to help us sharpen those skills and rekindle our sense of wonder and awe at the world around us. But it needs your help.

ScienceWorks is a gem nestled in the Rogue Valley and serves visitors from “Coast to Cascades.” The museum focuses on interactive exhibits and programming that not only educate and entertain but inspire lifelong passion for learning.

In a normal year, the museum is a destination for school buses full of students, families throughout the valley, and people traveling along the I-5 corridor. Perhaps you have designed and built a derby car to test at MakerFest or visited the museum as a reprieve on a smoky day. ScienceWorks has been an integral part of our community and since opening in 2002, has welcomed:

  • Nearly 1,000,000 visitors
  • Over 200,000 K-12 students
  • Over 5,000 campers

Still bringing science to our Community

Many businesses have changed significantly in the last year, and ScienceWorks is no exception. It has temporarily shifted from a primarily onsite, in-person institution to an organization that supports remote workers and distance learning. Over the last nine months our team has:

  • Created ScienceWorks Online, a free resource for activities and demonstrations
  • Run a successful summer camp program following COVID guidelines
  • Developed remote education packages to replace traditional field trips
  • Launched ScienceWorks Every-where, an initiative to bring science toolkits to local families and students, especially those affected by recent wildfires
  • Prototyped a free, at-home inquiry kit program to share via local libraries and the Southern Oregon Education Services District
  • Prepared to launch an online community for aspiring young scientists

All of ScienceWorks’ programs are designed to promote critical and creative thinking skills through the facilitation of scientific inquiry. Throughout 2021, ScienceWorks will continue to work with partner organizations and foundations to deliver quality science education and content to students, families, and communities throughout the Rogue Valley.

According to Ashland native and ScienceWorks Board Chair Aaron Moffatt, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on museum operations and revenue streams. Through sacrifices made by our loyal staff, generous donors, grants, and federal assistance, we have been able to keep our doors open when allowed. Many museums of our size have closed during this period and many will not open again.”

Now more than ever

ScienceWorks relies on nearly $42,000 monthly revenue from admissions, memberships, facility rentals, and school and camp programs. This income source has dried up almost completely for the past nine months, and significantly reduced income is expected to continue into 2021. Since March, the museum has cut operating capacity by over 40% as we try to both serve our community in the present moment and survive to inspire future scientists of the world.

ScienceWorks Board Treasurer Shel Silverberg recognizes, “we have been here for the youth and families of Southern Oregon for a very long time, and now we need the help of our community to get through these difficult times. We are optimistic that with a COVID-19 vaccine, we can resume near-normal operations as early as summer. But we have to cover a significant shortfall of income until then. We sure could use a few large donors to step up and support ScienceWorks now.”

The problems we are experiencing today are real, but they are also opportunities for tomorrow’s inventors, explorers, researchers, and engineers. We need your help to continue providing hands-on science experiences to students and families in our communities.

Let’s foster critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills and inspire the next generation of scientists, together.

Donations can be mailed to: ScienceWorks, 1500 East Main Street, Ashland, OR 97520. Donate online at