EdVenture is starting a $5 million upgrade that its leader says will enable a stronger emphasis on science for youngsters.
The plan is a “new chapter” for the Vista museum that focuses on children ages 12 and younger, president Catherine Horne said.
She outlined plans for new exhibits Tuesday in asking Lexington County Council to chip in for those changes coming during the next five years.
The museum is shifting its attention increasingly to health, nutrition, farming, energy, environment, technology, engineering and mathematics in response to recommendations from parents and educators, she said. Some examples she cited include the butterfly garden and a health exhibit.
The museum has raised $3 million so far, she said, hoping to get the remainder from public sources.
Horne didn’t ask Lexington County Council members for a specific donation, saying that request will come later.
But she noted about a fifth of the museum’s 170,000 visitors yearly come from the county. In addition, more than 100 of the county’s teachers have taken part in training from museum staff members, which is designed to improve instruction in classrooms, she said.
The prospect for county assistance to the museum is uncertain.
Some council members praised its performance but stopped short of supporting aid to it.
“The opportunity to do something is there,” Councilman Smokey Davis of Lexington said.
Interest in a donation is premature until it’s clear how much is wanted and whether it would be a one-time or multi-year commitment, council chairman Bill Banning of West Columbia said.
Horne said Richland County also is being asked to provide aid.
No addition to the 92,000-square-foot museum overlooking the Congaree River is planned.
The changes are the first major enhancement at the museum since it opened in 2003, Horne said.
“It’s a renewing and refreshing of what we do,” she said.