Science Museum wins $10,000 grant toward regional science festival in 2014

We have won a $10,000 grant to help start a Blacksburg-Roanoke science and technology festival in 2014!

We are one of only 12 initiatives nationwide chosen by Science Festival Alliance, which is based in Cambridge, Mass.

Our goal for this festival is to showcase our region’s incredible scientific and technological achievements, and inspire people of all ages to further explore the wonders of science.

What is a science festival? It’s a public celebration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), often drawing tens of thousands of people to events, lectures and activities spread over several days throughout a community.

Our festival will incorporate the Roanoke and New River valleys and further bridge our region’s two main economic hubs: Roanoke and Virginia Tech. Partners on our festival team include Carilion Clinic, Virginia Tech, Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council, and Roanoke Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The grant includes travel support for a Science Museum representative to see a science festival in action. On Oct. 17, I traveled to St. Petersburg, Fla., to attend the third annual St. Petersburg Science Festival.

Click here to see a video about the St. Petersburg Science Festival I put together to share with our festival team.

Funding for this grant came from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-President and CEO of General Motors, the Foundation makes grants in support of original research and education in STEM and economic performance.

This grant is really “seed money,” because the festival will ultimately cost many times the amount of the award. But it’s an exciting opportunity that awaits us all!

Interested in our festival planning? Email me at or call 540.342.5718.

Michael Hemphill
Director of Development & Marketing

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