Chartered in January 1970 as the first science museum in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Science Museum of Western Virginia (SMWV) was created by a small group of teachers and community volunteers in response to the need for an informal education facility to help students learn about science.
Our mission is to make science and technology accessible to all people by being an outstanding regional institution that ignites and nurtures life-long learning.
We fulfill our mission by:
Providing hands-on interactive exhibits.
Offering a variety of innovative programs, both on-site and in the community.
Preserving our collections and using them to enhance learning.
Creating a welcoming atmosphere that stimulates curiosity and wonder.
The Science Museum of Western Virginia's Rural STEM Initiative aims to inspire and motivate children to achieve their full potential in science, technology, engineering, and math by partnering with local school systems to provide access to costly scientific equipment and project-based teaching resources unavailable in the classroom. Our educators work directly with teachers to create dozens of programs that adhere to Virginia SOLs and offer shared resources that individual schools cannot otherwise afford.
Our region must create a science literate workforce for tomorrow. Science-oriented careers offer the most opportunity for future employment, and for social and financial advancement. However, interest in the sciences continues to decline, especially among young girls and undeserved populations. Exposure to math and science opportunities at an early age is a key ingredient to career interests, confidence, and growth. Many in our community lack the support in the home environment that encourages STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) education outside of formal settings or consideration of STEAM-based careers.
Project-based experiences spark interest in science and STEAM-based career choices. Long-term studies have demonstrated that if we do not engage children in science-related activities by the 3rd grade, we risk losing their attention forever. It is up to us to put the mechanisms in place that create a love of science, both to promote science literacy among the general population and to encourage consideration of STEAM-based careers.
Join us to support science education in the New River Valley and beyond!