Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Michigan Science Center

The Detroit Science Center was founded in 1970 by Dexter Ferry in a storefront at 52 E Forest Avenue, and aimed to bring scientific fun and learning to the youth of the city. In 1978, the center was relocated to its current Cultural Center location at 5020 John R Street, in a building designed by Detroit-based architecture firm William Kessler Associates.

After losing funding from the State of Michigan, the center briefly closed in 1990, but reopened in 1991 and operated until 1999, when they closed for renovation and expansion – tripling their exhibit space and adding a new theatre and performance space. In April 2008, the center created a college-prep charter school, University Prep Science & Math Middle School in its expanded campus. The prep-school facility has classrooms, a gymnasium with locker rooms, food service, offices, and shares conference space and the lobby with the science center.

In September 2011, the center closed its doors due to monetary issues, and then opened again in late 2012, with its name having been changed to the Michigan Science Center under a new non-profit organization. The Michigan Science Center aims to entertain and educate children in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math through interactive and hands-on exhibits. Kids are often invited to participate in live performances and experiments, letting them be part of the science at work. Several galleries that explore health, motion, and space offer ways for visitors to see scientific concepts at work through interactives. “Kid’s Town,” aimed at younger kids, features a scaled down town so that the kids have roughly the same proportion to the buildings as adults do with buildings in real life. The Center also hosts traveling exhibitions, previously including “A Dinosaur named Sue” and “(Human) Bodies.”



Detroit Science Center photo

Original Detroit Science Center, c.1974 – 2014.003.978

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