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Montana Science Center

Where Science and Play Connect

Bozeman, MT   |  www.montanasciencecenter.org

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Montana Science Center

EIN: 81-0542194


Mission

Our mission is to provide interactive learning experiences in science and technology that inspire creativity, innovation, and lead to real-world application.

Ruling year info

2002

Interim Executive Director

Faye Nelson

Main address

2744 W. Main St.

Bozeman, MT 59718 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Children's Museum of Bozeman

EIN

81-0542194

Subject area info

Children's museums

Science museums

Education services

Population served info

Children and youth

Women and girls

Families

NTEE code info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Science & Technology Museum (A57)

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Montana Science Center (formerly Children's Museum of Bozeman) strives to address how children and youth are learning in a rapidly changing technological world and how they will develop the skills to be a highly-qualified, innovative participant in that world when many lack access to the relevant high-tech resources and tools needed for that growth. Socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic separations affect several Montana communities, especially those in rural and tribal communities. Teachers struggle to implement high-tech curriculums into their classrooms, given their existing knowledge and resources. Additionally, great inequality exists in the access, pursuit, and availability of role models of STEM careers for women. Montana Science Center (MSC) programs are developed to directly address these complications through informal learning and interactive experiences, creating confident creators of tech, not mere consumers.

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?

STEAM Field Trips

MSC provides K-12 hands-on, interactive field trips on a variety of topics. Field trips align with Montana standards and NGSS. Curriculum is developed in-house and in cooperation with local industry volunteers. Trips are offered to groups throughout the school year; financial assistance is given to Title 1 and rural school groups, including those from tribal and one-room schoolhouse communities. Customized university student field trips are also available, especially for pre-service teachers.

Population(s) Served
Families
Children and youth

MSC's Summer Science Camps (as well as Winter and Spring Break) and PIR Day Camps serve more than 200 youth each year. In these programs, students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience with high-tech tools and explore and test scientific concepts in an informal group setting. Professional community mentors often collaborate with the Center on curriculum design and delivery.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

MSC's STEAMlab is a high-tech MakerSpace area, with 3D printers, laptop computers, mBots, Arduinos, micro:bits, breadboards, drones, soldering sets, and more. The STEAMlab facilitates a safe, fun community of tech learning through hands-on, mentor-led programs, to make and
remake in the physical and digital worlds. STEAMlab programs foster experimentation, invention, creation, exploration, and STEM learning.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Families

This weekly morning class invites children aged 2 - 5 years old to investigate age appropriate science concepts through literature, experiments and activities. Children work together with caregivers to do a simple experiment, enhance their literacy with a story time, and develop key skills like fine motor by doing an activity

Population(s) Served
Infants and toddlers

Self-directed and guided science activities and experiments are hosted at our Science Station with various topics relating to science and technology concepts. Materials are provided for visitors to work together through a science concept.

Population(s) Served
Families
Children and youth

Hosted several times a year, our Women in STEM Series is an opportunity for visitors to engage with women in STEM careers from our community. Women present their field of study or career in an interactive setting for visitors to learn about STEM topics and experience women in STEM careers. Additionally, this program partners with other Women Scientist groups to work towards gender equity in STEM careers in our community.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Children and youth

Hands-on science activities in this drop-off program, including STEAMlab time. Each series is a semester in length and each semester has a dedicated topic such as 'Engineering & Design.' There are two sections, one for a younger age group and one for an older age group.

Population(s) Served

On the main floor of the science center are approximately six interactive exhibits for all ages. Current exhibits include: Building Brainstorm, Critter Corner, Earth in Layers, Wild Alaska, LiGHTLAB, and Physics & More.

Population(s) Served
Families
Families
Families

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Montana Science Center (MSC), formerly Children's Museum of Bozeman (CMB), aims to create a robust suite of interactive exhibit experiences and programs in science and technology, creating opportunities for youth, children, and adults to engage critically and creatively, while working together. Through these exhibits and programs, MSC aims to lower the barriers to access for any group, regardless of age, socioeconomic status, location (rural vs. urban), or existing skill ability. By presenting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in a thoughtfully-developed, informal manner, MSC aims to intrigue and inspire visitors of any and every age, stemming an increased curiosity.

We aim to meet these goals in our STEAM Programs:
1. STEAM Learning for All Students. Reducing financial barriers to participation in our programs is an essential component of MSC’s mission. As high-tech learning materials are often expensive, many youth have limited access to such tools. MSC helps meet the needs of today’s students by serving as a locus for hands­-on, high-­tech learning across a range of grade levels, regardless of individual family incomes.
2. Exposure to the local science community. With increased access to local scientists, students will be able envision a future in the STEM fields, within their own community. While many STEM positions require a four-year college degree, MPIA (Montana Photonics Industry Alliance) and MSC are fostering a variety of STEM-oriented career pathways for all students, facilitating and encouraging the school to high-quality job pipeline available here in Montana.
3. Actionable Data. Our programs will deliver valuable data on best practice and methodology for teaching technology, achieving scaffolded, diversified learning outcomes through student involvement in the MSC STEAM Connections field trip program. MSC uses this data to design and refine high-tech STEM curriculum. Data will also be shared with our collaborators.
4. Practical Experience for Teachers in Training. Our initiative is to help students and their parents successfully navigate and influence a rapidly-changing world. As such, we are partnering with MSU’s Teacher Education Team, led by Professor Joseph Hicks, to find and utilize cutting­-edge tools, develop methodologies, and implement best practices. STEAM Connections serves as a practicum site which offers vital training to the next generation of science and technology teachers.
As MSC continues to expand and grow, we aim to increase our local hosting and state-wide outreach of high-quality, highly-tech, and locally-designed and developed STEM education throughout Montana, demonstrating that we truly are the Montana Science Center.

With the rebranding to Montana Science Center, from Children’s Museum of Bozeman, MSC has begun a long-term strategy for increasing its status and community emplacement as the state’s leading science and technology center. This will be achieved through skilled scaffolding of exhibit experiences and a expansion of high-tech STEM program offerings. Additionally, our Women in STEM program brings together local female scientists and engineers at MSC family outreach events, facilitating meaningful connections between local industry opportunities and showcases ways in which females can and have entered into these fields successfully.
Our collaboration and partnership with Montana universities and colleges, with MPIA (Montana Photonics Industry Alliance), and with other key alliances will assist us in researching, designing, and implementing key research, programs, and grants that support our mission and the future of advancing Montana STEM education. Our intensive training and mentoring program includes preservice teachers and volunteers, recent graduates, current university students, and high school and middle school students. Our informal, interactive learning space allows for flexible, hands-on training and skill development of using technology in the classroom. The MSC STEAM Team is MSC’s local outreach team, made up of trained student mentors, able and enthusiastic about sharing their STEM understanding and skill set with others.
We also collaborate with several local nonprofits, especially those providing targeted children’s and family services, offering reduced admission rates and planning outreach events at which we can better support the local community at large through partnered service.

Montana Science Center (MSC) has almost two decades of history in the Bozeman community, beginning as the Children's Museum of Bozeman (CMB). Our institution has always been focused on providing the community, its families, and its youth with STEM-focused exhibit experiences and programs. Since creating the STEAMlab, our high-tech MakerSpace, in 2016, we’ve seen more than a 100% growth in STEAMlab-specific programs. This massive, sustainable growth has acted as a catalyst for the rest of the Center, allowing us to explore and develop more interactive, scaffolded STEM programs for MSC as a whole. These include elevating our Preschool Program, to provide standards-based science experiments, in addition to other STEAM experiences. Our Family Science Days have gained recognition in the local community with the creation and incorporation of a Women in STEM Program, made up of professional female scientists and engineers. We’ve also developed a STEAM Team (originally our Near Peer Mentor program), made up of trained university, high, and middle school students, assisting with MSC outreach, camp implementation, and as a mentorship opportunity for older youth who might not otherwise find a like-minded, safe, fun community of tech tinkerers.
MSC guided by a working board and a staff that is made up of experienced, specialized members and local, professional volunteers. Our increasing partnership with schools, PACs, and our expanded, standards-aligned, interactive field trip curriculum has grown our capacity to support and advise Montana’s educational community, based on our extensive, informal educational experiences with a broad range of students from several counties across Montana. Since 2016, our field trip program has grown 100%, serving more than 8 different Montana counties, 33% of whom are from Title 1 schools. Since 2016, the STEAMlab’s Open Lab program, a time of self-directed play and access to the STEAMlab’s high-tech resources and skilled staff guidance, has grown more than 200%. STEAMlab programs, designed to provide hands-on, project-based learning using high-tech tools and resources boasts a gender equality of 46% female youth, all without labeling any one program as being gender specific.
As MSC continues to grow, and outgrow our current space, we are actively searching for a new, larger space, allowing us to further expand our offerings to the community and state. We’ve established funding with foundations that recognize STEM importance, and increased our partnerships with state universities, local industry alliances, and community organizations.

Montana Science Center has successfully rebranded itself this year, from the Children’s Museum of Bozeman, fullying developing itself into a science center and elevating its presence to match its mission and vision. This rebrand reflects the expansion of our programs and exhibit experiences to serve all ages, not just young children and their caregivers, with innovative, interactive STEM learning. Our visitation this past year has been its strongest yet, surpassing 20,000 people.
We have introduced several new programs, including: Family Science Days, Women in STEM, a standards-aligned preschool science program. New exhibit experiences include: Rigamajig, expanded Physics Place, and a nearly-completed Electric Dollhouse.
The STEAMlab, our high-tech makerspace area, has doubled its program offerings and grown in participation by more than 100% in the last year. This increase has continued at a sustainable, strong rate throughout this year, demonstrating a strong community interest, especially from older youth who are otherwise underserved with informal opportunities to develop career-relevant STEM skills and training in a safe, community-oriented setting. STEAMlab participation numbers have increased, as has involvement in the STEAM Team, MSC’s student mentoring program, and in furthering established partnerships with MSU professors, academic departments, local educators, and local industry professionals.
STEAM Connections, MSC’s Field Trip program has introduced new curriculum, expanding the quality of its content and age-range. Field trip numbers and Montana counties reached have increased alike, with groups as young as Pre-K coming to enjoy the new Bugs curriculum, on the one hand, and at-risk high school students and university preservice teachers coming to learn about soldering circuits, local career pathways in photonics, and programming.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
NET GAIN/LOSS:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

0.56

Average of 11.58 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

1.2

Average of 3.7 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

11%

Average of 8% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Montana Science Center

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Montana Science Center

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Montana Science Center

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Montana Science Center’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $11,371 $155,562 $33,969 -$36,982 -$73,867
As % of expenses 4.9% 51.9% 8.1% -8.0% -12.5%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $2,659 $147,526 $18,333 -$56,912 -$93,646
As % of expenses 1.1% 47.9% 4.2% -11.8% -15.4%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $310,543 $337,636 $453,313 $426,797 $515,888
Total revenue, % change over prior year 32.3% 8.7% 34.3% -5.8% 20.9%
Program services revenue 39.1% 31.6% 14.3% 34.5% 45.6%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 60.8% 75.9% 84.8% 64.7% 54.4%
Other revenue 0.1% -7.5% 0.9% 0.8% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $230,949 $299,823 $419,344 $463,779 $589,755
Total expenses, % change over prior year 2.4% 29.8% 39.9% 10.6% 27.2%
Personnel 65.9% 58.0% 51.4% 53.9% 62.3%
Professional fees 0.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Occupancy 11.4% 8.8% 29.8% 27.3% 23.8%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 22.1% 33.2% 18.8% 18.8% 13.8%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $239,661 $307,859 $434,980 $483,709 $609,534
One month of savings $19,246 $24,985 $34,945 $38,648 $49,146
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $33,700 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $97,534 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $258,907 $332,844 $567,459 $556,057 $658,680

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 7.0 6.5 6.3 3.8 1.2
Months of cash and investments 7.0 6.5 6.3 3.8 1.2
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 1.1 6.8 3.1 1.5 -0.7
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $134,872 $162,325 $219,753 $145,037 $56,536
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $102 $1,203 $0 $1,000 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $71,967 $71,249 $168,783 $182,017 $198,606
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 43.8% 45.4% 28.4% 37.3% 44.2%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 2.0% 2.4% 35.2% 36.9% 56.6%
Unrestricted net assets $61,760 $209,286 $227,619 $170,707 $77,061
Temporarily restricted net assets $118,335 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $118,335 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total net assets $180,095 $209,286 $227,619 $170,707 $77,061

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No Yes No No No

Operations

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

Documents
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Interim Executive Director

Faye Nelson

Faye Nelson joined the Montana Science Center as the Interim Executive Director in October of 2023 when the organization's previous executive director stepped down after six years at the helm of MSC. Faye has spent nearly 30 years in the nonprofit sector. With an extensive background in administration, management and fundraising, she brings strong leadership to this position. Faye is a Bozeman, MT native. She graduated from the University of Puget Sound and has worked for organizations in the arts, human services, conservation, and higher education.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Montana Science Center

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Compensation
Other
Related
Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Montana Science Center

Board of directors
as of 01/30/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Mrs. Lauri Moss

Retired

Term: 2023 - 2025

Kindra Warman

Alliant Employee Benefits

Jen Burgett

Energy1

Lauri Moss

retired

Randy Babbitt

Montana State University

Mary Hubbard

Montana State University

Stephen Pedersen

BioSurf Technologies

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? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/30/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

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

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/17/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. 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.
Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • 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.