Our History & Mission
In January of 1970, the Science Museum of Western Virginia became first science museum in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was chartered by a group of local teachers and volunteers who identified the need for an informal education facility to help students learn about science away from the structured setting of the school classroom. Local school principals permitted their teachers paid release time to develop curriculum materials that incorporated museum exhibits and programs into the schools’ classroom instruction.
Initially, the museum was located in a 400 square-foot space and was only available to local students and teachers. Over the next decade, the science museum relocated several times to larger locations and sustained the continual increase in the number and quality of its exhibits. Today, the Science Museum of Western Virginia resides a 50,000 square-foot space in the heart of Downtown Roanoke, following a $27 million renovation, and is open for all to enjoy. Whilst the physical features of the museum have evolved dramatically over this time, the mission of the original founders remains unchanged: to make science and technology accessible to all people by being an outstanding regional institution that ignites and nurtures life-long learning.