Science museum

Jenny Powers will be the museum’s first female leader since 1949

Published: 03/22/2022 22:17:31

Modified: 03/22/2022 22:16:38

HOLYOKE — It’s been almost 75 years since the Springfield Science Museum has had a director. But with the hiring of Jenny Powers, that drought ended.

Powers, who lives in Holyoke, is trained as a science educator and also served as Family Engagement Coordinator for Springfield Museums for six years, developing a number of programs for children and families, including online during the pandemic.

Now she hopes to bring some of those same ideas to the Science Museum, and she’s also drawing inspiration from Grace Pettis Johnson, who oversaw the museum from 1910 to 1949.

“What makes our (science) museum especially vital is that people of all ages can explore ideas together, and teach and learn from each other,” Powers said in a statement. “Our museum can offer fun and entertaining information that will be useful in the real world.”

Indeed, the museum, founded in 1859, focuses on presenting science in fundamental ways that make it relevant to the lives of visitors, she added, which can deepen the experience of visitors and show them how “they can use science to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.

It’s an idea shared by Johnson, Powers says, and his predecessor also opened the museum’s first space specifically designed for children, a “junior room” at the Museum of Natural Science in which young visitors can be seen working with children. real tools on a photograph. from the museum archives.

Powers says she hopes to bring real tools herself to today’s visitors by adding more technology and hands-on interactive stations throughout the science museum — whatever is needed to showcase the latest science.

“We want to be nimble because science changes as researchers watch, discover and understand more,” Powers said.

Kay Simpson, president and CEO of Springfield Museums, said Powers was a natural fit to make the science museum a space that was always “relevant, inspiring and interactive” with the other museums in the complex.

“(We) couldn’t have a better leader than Jenny, who makes science understandable, exciting and accessible to everyone,” Simpson said. “Jenny is very knowledgeable about current museum practices, innovative in her approaches to education and passionate about inclusion.

“She is just the visionary leader we need to bring our beloved science museum into the 21st century and beyond,” Simpson added.

Among a number of new initiatives in recent years, the Science Museum has added a workshop that includes accommodation for students with special needs; an International Space Station gallery is set to open this summer. Other improvements are made to the basic infrastructure like the HVAC system.

Ideally, Powers said, the Science Museum will continue to help people answer questions about the world around us. “When we look at the stars, or at the bottom of the ocean, we are filled with wonder,” she said. “Museums can be a creative place to help fuel this natural curiosity.”

Steve Pfarrer can be contacted at [email protected]