What is your favorite thing about the Eugene Science Center?
Its potential. Seriously. I know we do amazing things now with limited resources (for many years now), but we have the potential to do so much more for our community. Eugene/Springfield is on the verge of becoming an incredibly impactful science and tech community, and Eugene Science Center is poised to become the STEM hub our community needs.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic influenced your business?
We were forced to close our doors in mid-March, and haven’t been able to reopen. Phase 2 guidelines allowed museums to open, but not interactive ones, so we remain closed. Anticipating this, we became an emergency childcare facility and are now running full-day camps for children. We’re supporting their formal education in the morning, and growing their minds in the afternoon with exciting and engaging STEM experiences in safe environments. These programs are the only financial support for our education team. We’ve taken a huge hit this year, especially without our largest annual fundraiser: UO football parking. The financial loss has been devastating.
When operations return to normal, what is your hope for the future of the Eugene Science Center?
2019 was a record-breaking year with over 41,000 visitors, including incredible attendance for our new planetarium. Our community responded overwhelmingly positive to the changes and upgrades we’ve implemented over the last three years. 2020 was poised to be another banner year for us, as we opened the outdoor Ecology Lab, until the pandemic hit. I hope we can continue where we left off and implement more upgrades. We have plans to expand inside to double our early education space and create two new outdoor science parks. After these projects, our ambition is to dream big and create the world-class science center our community deserves.
How can the community support you at this time?
We need financial support to weather this storm. But we also need our community to keep us front-of-mind and think about us in ways they haven’t before. We’re more than a science center; we’re a community center. I want our community to see the potential we see.
How has your collaboration with the Chamber impacted your business?
I love the support and the gentle inquiries just to see how we’re doing. I also love how the Chamber has helped us be a part of a larger conversation in our community’s response to this pandemic. They have helped us remain in touch with our community partners.
Learn more about the Eugene Science Center at EugeneScienceCenter.org