Da Vinci Science Center

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Da Vinci Science Center
Da Vinci Science Center Building.jpg
Da Vinci Science Center
Established 1992
Location Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA
Type Science, technology, careers
Accreditation ASTC, NSF
Visitors 93,000 participants annually, including exhibit floor visitors and program participants
Director Lin Erickson
Website www.davincisciencecenter.org

The Da Vinci Science Center (DSC) is a science museum and nonprofit organization in Allentown, Pennsylvania that has been a leader in bringing science to life and lives to science since 1992. Its slogan is Open for ExSCIting Possibilities.[1]

The Center excels in connecting people of all ages to the wonders of science in their lives, their creative curiosities, and tomorrow’s innovative careers. Its engaging and highly-interactive experiences include a two-story exhibit floor; nearly three-dozen programs for visitors of all ages, students, educators, and community groups; and regional workforce initiatives that integrate limited-engagement exhibits with programs highlighting workforce development opportunities.

The Da Vinci Science Center is located in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, approximately 65 miles north of Philadelphia, Pa., and 90 miles south of New York, N.Y. Its primary service area in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey is home to 3.8 million people.[2]

Year of the Human Body[edit]

The Da Vinci Science Center began its Year of the Human Body project, a medical workforce development initiative with St. Luke's University Health Network of Bethlehem, Pa., in Sept. 2012. Its presentation of the world-famous Bodies Revealed exhibition from Oct. 2012-Feb. 2013 attracted larger audiences of adults, high school students, and college students. The Year of the Human Body also includes public programs, and industry ventures intended to broaden interest and participation in medical careers. [3] The Year of the Human Body continues from May-Sept. 2013 with a second blockbuster exhibition titled GROSSOLOGY: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body.


What is known commonly today as the Da Vinci Science Center has inspired enthusiasm for science and technology's ExSCIting Possibilities since 1992. Its earliest incarnation was as the Science Model Area Resource Team (SMART) Center at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. Its primary purpose was originally to host interactive JASON Project broadcasts for students featuring Bob Ballard, Ph.D., the oceanographer who discovered the wreckage of the RMS Titanic.

While the organization would host JASON Project through the spring of 1998, the SMART Center began developing additional hands-on science experiences for students in grades K-8 and their teachers with support from an anonymous benefactor. The SMART Center evolved quickly into the Discovery Center of Science and Technology and began offering public science experiences.

When the Discovery Center separated from Lehigh University in 1999, it was a small, grass-roots organization that served school field trips for grades K-8 primarily and had limited exhibit and program engagement. A 2003 merger with the former Leonardo da Vinci's Horse, Inc. (LDVHI) bolstered the organization's strength, gave it a new namesake, and added an emphasis of connecting science and technology to the arts and other disciplines.

After closing its operations in a former Bethlehem Steel Corporation building in June 2005, the Center moved to a custom-built exhibit building on land its leases from Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa. The expanded and modernized visitor experience allowed for a deeper emphasis on public visitation, expanding its reach throughout the greater Lehigh Valley region, and developing programs for other age groups.

Emerging as the Da Vinci Science Center, the organization has adopted a focus on scientific and technical careers. Along with achieving a record number of more than 93,000 total participants, the Center established its integrated workforce development initiatives as its signature experiences during the 2012 fiscal year. These initiatives integrate a limited-engagement Da Vinci Science Center exhibit experience with community programming that highlights industry workforce development needs and opportunities.[1]

The Da Vinci Science Center announced in Jan. 2013, that its Executive Director and CEO, Troy A. Thrash, would transition to become the President and CEO of the Air Zoo museum in Portage, Mich., an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

Liin Erickson – who led the organization from 1997-2005 – began her second tenure as the organization’s Executive Director and CEO on March 18, 2013. Erickson has more than 25 years experience spearheading educational initiatives for students from kindergarten through college – raising more than $46 million from public and private sources. Erickson was Chief Development Officer of the Air Force Museum Foundation in Dayton, Ohio, from June 2011-Feb. 2013, and Director of Government, Corporate, and Foundation Relations at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, from 2006-2011. [4]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Da Vinci Science Center: Our Facts". Da Vinci Science Center. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  2. ^ "Da Vinci Science Center: Our Service Area". Da Vinci Science Center. 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2013-05-01. 
  3. ^ "Da Vinci Science Center Year of the Human Body". Da Vinci Science Center and Discover Lehigh Valley. 2012-11-21. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  4. ^ "Lin Erickson Begins Second Tenure as Da Vinci Science Center CEO". Da Vinci Science Center. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 

Coordinates: 40°35′02″N 75°31′19″W / 40.58394°N 75.52207°W / 40.58394; -75.52207