Discovery Museum and Planetarium
|Location||4450 Park Avenue Bridgeport, Connecticut|
|Type||Art, Science and Industry|
|Owner||Board of Trustees|
The Discovery Museum and Planetarium is a hands-on science museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that serves as both a tourist destination and an educational resource for area schools. The museum hosts three creative traveling exhibits each year and has permanent space, sound, and electricity galleries.
The Discovery Museum was founded in 1958 and opened to the public in 1962. Its mission is to educate, excite, and engage visitors in the exploration of science, technology and ideas through interactive experiences that prompt new insights. The museum seeks to enhance public understanding of science through its hands-on physical science exhibits, education programs, planetarium presentations, and the Challenger Learning Center. It is southern Connecticut’s preeminent non-profit educational resource for science and space education. Starting in 2005, the museum has held an annual Tech Fest hosted by David Pogue, technology columnist for the New York Times. In 2008, the museum’s staff delivered 2,200 hours of targeted science lessons to school groups during the year providing more than seven hours of instructional time for each weekday that the museum was open.
The museum is located at 4450 Park Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, one mile south of Merritt Parkway (CT Route 15) Exit 47, directly across from the Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course.
Challenger Learning Center
The Challenger Learning Center is a network of 48 locations across the United States, United Kingdom and Canada with a focus on mathematics and science for grades 5 through 9. At the core of each Learning Center is an interactive computerized simulator with a Mission Control room and an orbiting Space Station. Students are then presented with problems to solve. The Discovery Museum is home to Connecticut's only Challenger Learning Center.
Henry B. duPont III Planetarium
The museum's planetarium features a 33 feet (10 m) domed ceiling, seats 121 people and was most recently upgraded in November 2008. Presentations are made with 18 slide projectors, a digital video display unit, and a central Spitz 512 Planetarium Projector that is capable of displaying over 2500 stars. Stereo sound is provided by an array of four JBL studio monitors suspended above the dome, complemented with speakers built into the theater's walls.
To the right of the museum entrance is a cast bronze statue Los Portadores de la Antorcha ("The Torch Bearers") by Anna Hyatt Huntington. It was dedicated in August 1963 when the museum was still called the Museum of Art, Science and Industry. While the original is in Spain, it is one of four replicas in the world, all of which are in the United States.