Science Museum of Virginia Foundation, Inc.

Richmond, VA   |  www.smv.org

Mission

The mission of the Science Museum of Virginia is to inspire Virginians to enrich their lives through science. The Science Museum of Virginia Foundation supports the services and operations of the Science Museum of Virginia.

Ruling year info

1972

Executive Director

Kinsey P. Peeler

Main address

P.O. Box 11624

Richmond, VA 23230 USA

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EIN

23-7185836

NTEE code info

Science & Technology Museum (A57)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Exhibits

From virtual presentations featuring STEM experts to fun videos on social media, and from in-person experiential exhibits to in-depth lab demos, the Science Museum of Virginia looks for all opportunities to encourage Virginians to enrich their lives through science. The Museum is a catalyst for inspiration, a place that sparks curiosity, encourages discovery, and generates ideas in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Whether you’re a thinker, tinkerer, creative, or full-on science geek, the Museum has something for people of all ages. Helping curious minds discover the connections between — and their connection to — STEM guides Museum staff in all they do. Science is all around us and discoveries are limitless. We’re simply a gateway to that universe!

In addition to the permanent exhibits described below and our four lab spaces — eco, animal, science, and art — that let guests interact with science in unexpected ways, the Museum also hosts thought-provoking touring exhibitions from around the world.

Speed
Featuring the SR-71 Blackbird supersonic jet, Speed explores motion and time across science and technology. Displaying audacious demonstrations of the superfast to the incredibly slow, you can race an Olympic athlete, feel hurricane force winds, challenge a quick-thinking robot and more.

Speed features over 50 stations with hundreds of unique experiences, including an interactive light race that travels along the ceiling of the striking 10,000-square-foot exhibition.

Boost!
Science is more than fun and games … but not in this exhibit that helps Boost! your mind, body and lifestyle through a series of interactive challenges! Test your creativity, flexibility, memory and strength with entertaining, hands-on activities centered around wellness and self-improvement.

Walk on a tightrope, practice yoga and get creative as you record a quirky video. Are you quicker than your friends? Challenge them to a battle of reaction times, memory games and more! Plus, watch our team cook healthy recipes and sample fresh snacks inside of our working kitchen.

Light Place
LightPlace, which is open Wednesday — Sunday from 9:30 a.m. — 1 p.m., is a bright experience for our youngest scientists. This exhibit promotes skill development and exploratory learning in children 5 and under with fun, hands-on STEM activities.

Encourage your child to play, explore, discover, and learn in a setting that advances problem solving, social, and environmental awareness, motor skills, sensory perception, object identification, and introductory reading and math activities. Multi-sensory activities in LightPlace support developmental milestones that cultivate 21st century learning skill sets and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts.

Step Outside
There’s so much to do inside, you might forget about the great stuff we have outside, but don’t!

Step outside to appreciate the history of the Museum’s building, which extends back 100+ years ago when Broad Street Station opened as a vibrant, fully operational passenger train station. To celebrate the legacy of the site, and recognize the technological innovations involved with rail transportation, the Museum has several train cars sitting on the tracks for guests to view. Those include the luxurious Car ONE, a bright yellow Chessie System Caboose and a RF&P Kitchen Car.

See the world’s first aluminum submarine, the Aluminaut, developed by Richmond-based Reynolds Metals Co. Once you’ve docked, stop by the BayScapes Garden to learn about using native plants in an environmentally sound method of landscaping or check out the Pollinator Garden to learn about attracting birds, bees, moths and other insects that help pollinate crops and trees.

Finally, head around front to check out Mary Morton Parsons Earth-Moon sculpture “the Kugels.” At the time it was dedicated in 2003, the 29-ton solid granite globe of the Earth Kugel — that can be moved with your bare hands thanks to a jet of water — was the Guinness World Record-holder. Follow the brick pathway to the Moon Kugel, a smaller sculpture that demonstrates distances and proportional size of the Earth and moon.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

At 76 feet, The Dome is the largest screen in Virginia. Whether you’re traveling deep into the Amazon rainforest, plunging into the ocean with great white sharks, hunting for dark matter at a particle physics laboratory or traveling to the cosmos in search of the new ninth planet, seeing an astronomy presentation or giant screen film in The Dome provides the ultimate “you are there” experience.

The planetarium provides a powerful, dynamic tool for our astronomers to use to help curious-minded guests of all ages connect to the world and beyond.

All Dome features are approximately 45 minutes.

The Science Museum of Virginia has partnered with Virginia Voice to create recorded audio descriptions for select Giant Screen Films and Planetarium Shows in the Dome theater. Audio description is an additional narration track that verbally describes what is happening on the screen during pauses in dialogue. Audio description is accessible for guests who are blind or low vision through a receiver. If you would like to check out a receiver, notify Guest Services when you purchase your Dome ticket: https://smv.org/visit/accessibility/blind-and-low-vision/

The Dome theater is equipped with closed and open captions for select features to assist guests who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Contact us to learn about captioning options for your feature of interest. Please contact Guest Services in the lobby to make arrangements at least one hour before your show time: https://smv.org/visit/accessibility/deaf-and-hard-hearing/

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

For more than 40 years, the Science Museum of Virginia has served as a community gathering place, a leader in informal learning practices, and a resource for STEM education. Guests of all ages can explore 205,000 sq. ft. of exhibits, teaching labs, live science demonstrations, a Science-on-a-Sphere® presentation platform, and the world’s most advanced digital Dome theater. We are committed to making our programs accessible to all.

Our partnerships with youth agencies empower vulnerable children and teens to create solutions for collective impact in their own lives and neighborhoods and provide access to technical skills and mentors necessary for success in a digital economy. Programming enriches out of school hours with STEM-based activities that foster teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, and students’ sense of themselves as competent learners while reinforcing principles they learn in school. Our ongoing relationship with Groundwork RVA, which provides training for Richmond Public School teens from low resource communities to achieve career success in the green workforce, earned the 2020 Metropolitan Business League Outstanding Partnership Award. Our Institute of Museum and Library Services grant-funded work with Groundwork RVA includes jointly investigating air quality in the teens’ own historically underserved neighborhood to inform city planning efforts and develop solutions.

Our virtual field trips, which include live science demonstrations — such as Cow Eye and Heart Dissections — and engineering challenges, such as Build a Better Parachute, are aligned with Virginia Standard of Learning (SOL) standards and support the development of the Virginia Department of Education’s “Profile of a Virginia Graduate” — an individual who is a critical and creative thinker, excellent communicator, collaborator, and community-minded citizen.

Our annual Girls in Science and Girls in Medicine Camp-Ins for middle school girls demonstrate our commitment to closing the STEM gender gap. Programming for adults includes our free weekly Lunch Break Science speaker series and Science on Tap, an evening event for the 18+ crowd that is especially popular with millennials.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

The Center for IDEAs (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility) at the Science Museum of Virginia is an internal working group that evolved to meld the work of the Museum's Science Within Reach initiative, which builds partnerships with community organizations to ensure access to science for all, with training from the Cultural Competency Learning Institute (https://community.astc.org/ccli/home) into an active exploration and application of a DEAI lens to all aspects of the Museum, including staff interaction, policy development, hiring and recruitment, exhibits, social media, and outreach activities. They intend for DEAI insight to become ingrained and as natural as scientific integrity.

The Museum is committed to being an accessible and inclusive community resource.

As a participant in the national Museums for All program, we offer deeply reduced admission/family memberships to guests who qualify for an electronic benefits transfer card, an indicator of low income: https://smv.org/get-involved/membership/museums-all-memberships/

We underwrite field trip visits for students from Title 1 schools.

We have partnered with Commonwealth Autism and the Autism Society of Central Virginia to provide our staff with disability-specific training. To help guests with autism spectrum and sensory concerns prepare for their visit to the Museum, we provide our Social Narrative and Sensory Friendly Curiosity Guide: https://smv.org/visit/accessibility/autism-spectrum-and-sensory-concerns/ We also worked with the Autism Society of Central Virginia to create sensory backpacks, which include noise-cancelling headphones, sensory fidget toys, sunglasses, a magnifying glass, and activity sheets with crayons. Sensory backpacks can be checked out for free from the Guest Services desk. Guests who would like to check out a backpack need to leave a form of ID, which will be returned once the backpack is returned to the Guest Services desk.

A free, sensory friendly evening event at the Museum, Minds of All Kinds offers a less crowded museum experience, as well as hands-on activities that will pique the curiosity of the young at heart of all ages. Minds of all Kinds events are held multiple times throughout the year: https://smv.org/visit/accessibility/minds-all-kinds/

The Science Museum of Virginia has partnered with Virginia Voice to create recorded audio descriptions for select Giant Screen Films and Planetarium Shows in the Dome theater. Audio description is an additional narration track that verbally describes what is happening on the screen during pauses in dialogue. Audio description is accessible for guests who are blind or low vision through a receiver. If you would like to check out a receiver, notify Guest Services when you purchase your Dome ticket. For a listing of which films offer audio description, please contact us: https://smv.org/visit/accessibility/blind-and-low-vision/

The Dome theater is equipped with closed and open captions for select features to assist guests who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Contact us to learn about captioning options for your feature of interest. Please contact Guest Services in the lobby to make arrangements at least one hour before your show time.

ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation often provides the most effective communication for people who are deaf. An interpreter can be arranged to provide tours of the Museum or supplement any of the Museum’s performances. Please make arrangements for an interpreter at least two weeks prior to your visit by contacting us.

Various locations throughout the Museum are equipped with assistive listening technology, including the Dome Theater, Dewey Gottwald Center, and Barbara Thalhimer Theater. Please visit Guest Services to check out a receiver.

Free admission for a paid Personal Care Assistant (PCA) accompanying a guest with a severe disability who needs the PCA’s assistance due to that disability is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The guest may request a free admission for the PCA at the Guest Services desk in the Museum lobby, and the PCA will receive, free of charge, the same admission pass that was purchased by the guest.

Service animals are welcome on all levels of the Museum.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Since 1977, the Science Museum of Virginia has served as Virginia’s flagship for informal science learning, engaging audiences in STEM principles and processes through experiences that inform real-world solutions and practices. We developed a core strength in fostering climate change literacy and awareness of resilience strategies through cutting-edge communication platforms; creation of original, digital educational content related to Virginia resilience; public workshops; and a lecture series.

The Museum is currently developing a new urban greenspace on the site of its historic flagship. The project reclaims two acres of asphalt parking to re-envision the full front acreage along the busy Broad Street corridor as a new civic gathering space. True to our mission to inspire Virginians to enrich their lives through science, we are developing our urban greenspace through the lens of science — employing creative soil use and biodiverse Virginia native trees and grasses along with beneficial naturalized species to reduce urban heat, manage stormwater, and create a living laboratory that incorporates and localizes best practices in environmental resilience for Richmond.

The Green at the Science Museum of Virginia will amplify lessons learned through our communication platforms and our own climate science research — including our 2017 Urban Heat Vulnerability Assessment, which has informed the city’s Richmond 300 master plan, and Museum-led citizen science efforts to document air quality around our campus — to offer a highly visibly model of green infrastructure in transforming an urban setting. This project will provide access to the only greenspace along the GRTC Pulse Bus Rapid Transit corridor. The park will provide ecological, health, and social benefits that will enhance the community’s resiliency and connectedness.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

Where we work

Awards

Autism Society of Central Virginia Mission Partner Award 2020

Autism Society of Central Virginia

Financials

Science Museum of Virginia Foundation, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Science Museum of Virginia Foundation, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 7/15/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Robert Feeser

Robert Feeser

Scott Stovall

CowanGates PC

Rosann Bocciarelli

Community Volunteer

Roby Hackney

Hackney Real Estate Partners

Stephen Holdych

CapTech

Hank Coleman

Bank of America

John Wick

Wells Fargo

Thomas Benedetti

Blue Heron Capital

John Whitlock

The Whitlock Group

Richard Conti

Science Museum of Virginia

David Cottrell

Retired

Robey Estes

Estes Express Lines

Sky Massey

Community Volunteer

Charles Valentine

Q Customer Intelligence

Robert Alexander

Capital One

Elena Edwards

Allianz Global Assistance USA

Anne Marie Elles

Trappings, Inc.

John O'Bannon III

Neurological Associates

Adam Thalhimer

Thompson & Davis

Jamala Arland

Genworth Financial

Glenn Davidson

Deliotte

Patricia Nicoson

Elsa Falls

Randolph-Macon College

Richard Groover, Ph.D.

J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College

Eucharia Jackson

Amy Laufer

Charlottesville City Public Schools

Lauren Mathena

All Care Home Health

David Mills

David Mills LLC

Denise Walters, Ph.D.

GSK Consumer Healthcare

Molly Ward

City of Hampton

James Caudill

WestRock Company

Cristina Ramírez

Varina Area Library

John Benton

Independent Consultant

JoAnne Carter

PFM Financial Advisors LLC

Eric Martin

CarMax

Rodney Berry, Ph.D.

Virginia Department of Corrections

R. Alexander Kurland

R.A. Kurland & Company

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 06/29/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/15/2021

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.