Sacred Heart To Take Over Discovery Museum
FAIRFIELD, CT – Sacred Heart University will take over management of the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport.
The college Tuesday announced plans to assume operations of the museum at 4450 Park Ave., near the Fairfield campus. The agreement is effective Jan. 1, 2021, and will continue through an existing land lease with 67 remaining years.
The museum has a 62-year history of providing hands-on STEM learning experiences, a university news release said, adding Sacred Heart intends to modernize and enhance the exhibits to offer state-of-the-art interactive and educational displays and programs.
“The Discovery Museum and Planetarium staff and trustees are proud to join with Sacred Heart University in this momentous collaboration,” said Robert Panza, chairman of the Discovery Museum, in the news release. “Sacred Heart University shares our continuing commitment and mission to providing a strong STEM education experience to our community.”
The museum is undergoing a $ 1.8 million upgrade funded by the state. Improvements are being made to the exhibits, classrooms and more. The planetarium was updated over the past year and offers a realistic simulation of the starry sky.
The Discovery Museum prides itself on showcasing local artists in gallery space and encouraging creativity and expression through science, technology, engineering and math activities, according to the news release. That will not change under Sacred Heart’s management, the news release said.
“This project is another example of how a university gives back to the community where it resides,” Sacred Heart President John Petillo said in the news release. “We plan to continue to offer new and exciting programs and displays for families while also offering new opportunities for our students to learn and teach. With ever-changing programs and exhibits, we hope to make it a venue that people will visit again and again . “
The university plans to use the museum to host student events such as science-based competitions and special programs. The museum will present opportunities for new activities for students in the university’s Upward Bound program and the Horizons at SHU program.
Sacred Heart also intends to use the museum as a hub for professional development for the region’s STEM and computer science education communities, with opportunities for internships for students in education, marketing, media, management, communications, graphic design and more. The museum will give faculty an opportunity to develop exhibits for classes as well as the public.
“We are excited about the options for new and creative opportunities for students in our teacher preparation and leadership programs and for College of Arts & Sciences students in STEAM,” said Michael Alfano, dean of Sacred Heart’s Isabelle Farrington College of Education. “This will give both students and faculty a chance to show their creativity and, especially, to focus on much-needed STEM programs.”