Since 2012, we have partnered with Discovery World, a fully interactive museum in Milwaukee that is focused on connecting innovation, science, technology and the environment. We supported the development of the "MilliporeSigma Virtual Explorer," an exhibit that allows visitors to easily explore various science concepts using virtual reality (VR) equipment. Now, we’re helping Discovery World expand this VR exhibit to include new infrastructure that accommodates increased visitor demand and additional workstations. These VR educational resources will also be connected to summer school and classroom programming.
We are also supporting Discovery World’s newly created virtual school programs to respond to community needs during the pandemic. Through multiple delivery platforms, these programs, which include virtual exhibit tours, activity kits, virtual lab programs and equipment loans, will be offered at no cost to under-resourced schools.
We sat down with Bryan Wunar, president and CEO of Discovery World, to highlight the impact Discovery World is making on visitors of all ages and the communities throughout Wisconsin.
1. Please explain what Discovery World does and its mission.
Discovery World is Wisconsin’s largest science museum, featuring interactive exhibits, the Reiman Aquarium, educational labs and programs, and a multitude of exciting activities for all ages.
We also offer our award-winning Summer Camp, field trip programs, community partnership programs and learning experiences aboard Discovery World’s tall ship, the S/V Denis Sullivan.
Our mission is to increase science literacy within our community and to inspire the next generation of engineers, designers, scientists, innovators and community leaders.
2. Tell us about your role at Discovery World.
As president and CEO of Discovery World, I lead the efforts to bring our educational mission to life and to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning for all. I work with talented educators, designers and content experts to find creative ways to engage our guests in experiences that help them explore the world around them.
3. Give us an overview of the exhibits at Discovery World.
Our unique, hands-on exhibits focus on technology and freshwater sciences, and can be experienced throughout our 130,000-square-foot facility. Whether guests are climbing aboard a replica of a Great Lakes Schooner known as The Challenge, controlling the weather and discovering the flora and fauna of the Great Lakes Future, or exploring hyper-real VR environments through the “MilliporeSigma Virtual Explorer,” there is no shortage of exhibit experiences on Milwaukee’s lakefront.
4. Why do you think it’s important to connect kids with interactive science experiences?
There has never been a greater need for science than today, and it is crucial that our community works together to introduce children to science at a young age. Cultural institutions, like Discovery World, have found that one of the most effective manners of introduction is through interactive science experiences, such as exhibits, educational programming and science-based events.
5. How have technology advances, such as VR, transformed the way Discovery World educates visitors?
Advancement in technology, such as VR, has allowed Discovery World to engage our guests in a manner that was never possible before. On any given day, a child who may have never left his or her hometown now has the ability to explore new places, such as the surface of the moon or the deepest oceans.
6. What is the reach and impact of Discovery World?
Discovery World regularly attracts nearly 300,000 yearly visitors, more than 67,000 students on field trips, and more than 1,600 week-long Summer Campers. While the Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging, our new virtual field trip programming has allowed our educators to continue to reach new audiences and provide access to STEM programming.
7. How has MilliporeSigma’s partnership with Discovery World supported the organization’s mission?
The partnership with MilliporeSigma has truly allowed our Milwaukee-based museum to help our guests discover the world. The “MilliporeSigma Virtual Explorer” has provided endless accessibility opportunities that simply were not available prior to our partnership. At Discovery World, our mission is to inspire the next generation of engineers, designers, scientists, innovators and community leaders. Over the past four years, MilliporeSigma has been instrumental in helping us reach new audiences and increase science literacy within our community.
8. What has been the most rewarding part of your role at Discovery World?
I love having the opportunity to encounter children who become so excited by the wonders of science and are inspired to want to learn more. One of my favorite things is seeing a child teach their parent about what they just encountered at Discovery World and hearing them connect it to something they experience in their everyday life.
9. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you MilliporeSigma for allowing Discovery World to continue to provide accessibility to science for families and students in Milwaukee, the region and the state of Wisconsin. Through this partnership, we are able to generate excitement for STEM, freshwater education and careers in the minds of children and young people, while playing a vital role in the workforce development pipeline.
Tweet me: @MilliporeSigma sat down with Bryan Wunar, president and CEO of @Discoveryworld, to highlight the impact the organization is making on visitors of all ages and the communities throughout Wisconsin. Check out the full partnership spotlight here: https://bit.ly/2OwuJZ2
KEYWORDS: STEM, MilliporeSigma, Discovery World, MilliporeSigma Virtual Explorer, virtual reality, virtual education