Most people think of museums as backwards-looking — celebrating the past and memorializing the things we have achieved.
That’s part of the mission, but any great museum focuses more on charting a course for the future, laying down a foundation for the development of young people and new ideas. We study and remember our past as a guide to continue our success and growth.
The same could be said for the Boeing Co. as it celebrates its 100th anniversary this year as one of the greatest companies of aerospace. Many in South Carolina are acknowledging this achievement, from local communities to the State House. But this is not just a celebration of a bygone era. Thanks to our state’s deep and abiding economic and community partnership with Boeing, this celebration is about the future, about what we can do together.
Boeing a boon for Palmetto State economy
Boeing’s economic impact in our state has been tremendous, with more than 7,500 Boeing South Carolina teammates and $2 billion invested in land, facilities and infrastructure. The company’s long-term commitment to South Carolina is apparent. Boeing is planning for future generations of an advanced manufacturing workforce for the next 100 years. It has demonstrated this in multiple ways, but especially through its investments in our communities: more than $28 million given to non-profit organizations across the state since 2010. As a company that aspires to lead through innovation, it also inspires action and opportunity that helps us all build better communities every day.
SC aerospace industry growing, buoyed by Boeing
Boeing partners with organizations that are committed to and understand how to improve the quality of life for families. Its investments engage families from the birth of a child through that child’s graduation and/or job placement. Boeing has invested more than half of its charitable donations to expand science, technology, engineering and mathematics education opportunities for all students while equipping future generations with 21st century skills. These skills include communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking — all of which are necessary for success in life and careers. By focusing its investments to help create a future workforce pipeline, Boeing is ensuring another century of innovation while helping our state succeed. At the State Museum, we’re honored to receive such support from Boeing and be part of its solution to meeting the science, technology, engineering and mathematics education gap.
Boeing’s $1 million grant supported the Boeing Observatory as part of our Windows to New Worlds expansion in 2014. Since the observatory opened two years ago, more than 108,000 people have visited (70 percent of whom were students from local schools). And we have launched programs that help equip our state’s science teachers with materials for their classrooms. Now, thanks to Boeing’s generous support, our educators have tools to inspire South Carolina’s students, from every community, to dream for the stars and pursue careers in science.
And Boeing reaches out — and forward — in more direct ways, including bringing young people to its facilities for tours through its DreamLearners Program and giving them a glimpse of the future of high-tech manufacturing. Boeing teammates visit schools weekly where they offer guidance and advice to students who dream of being astronauts or want to build the next great airplanes. That kind of outreach and connection is invaluable to charting a more hopeful course for at-risk youth.
At the State Museum we are proud to join our fellow citizens in commending Boeing on its first 100 years of accomplishments. But we are even more excited to imagine what the next 100 years will bring.
Mr. Calloway is executive director of the S.C. State Museum; contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org..