2015 marked a significant milestone for Akron Fossils & Science Center as we celebrated 10 years of exploring creation! Now 2016 is just around the corner and along with the New Year some exciting new changes will be happening here at Akron Fossils & Science Center! Like most small, non-profit museums, we are always stretching our budget to its limit. Over the past 10 years, we have worked hard to wisely invest that limited budget to building and strengthening our programming so that it is exciting, educational, and beneficial to people from all walks of life. The payoff of these investments has been incredible. Our science classes have grown nearly ten times over, our birthday parties have more than tripled, and our summer camps, Super Science Saturdays, and other programs have improved and grown in size each year.
Unfortunately, because our central focus has been on creating quality programming, our building itself has not always received all the TLC it truly deserves. While our tours and programming are first-rate, our facility does not always reflect that professionalism. Additionally, the current layout cannot fully support the new growth we are enjoying. Now that we have cultivated a solid foundation of excellent programming, we would like to solve this problem by taking steps to make our building more professional and functional so that it can better serve the needs of our guests and better present our message. Sadly, some people have been turned off from our message because of our facility. We want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to explore creation with us!
To make this vision a reality, we have created a plan called “The AFSC Professional Upgrade”. Taking ideas from guests, supporters, tour guides, graphic designers, educators, and other professionals, we have designed a 3-phase plan to upgrade our facility, the information we have available, and the way that information will be presented.Rest assured:
We will not be changing our core message or eliminating any programming.
We are simply taking what makes Akron Fossils & Science Center great and enhancing it!
Part of what makes Akron Fossils & Science Center great is you. Without the love, backing, and enthusiasm of our supporters and visitors, we wouldn’t be where we are today. That’s why we want to take you along on this journey with us. We will do our best to keep you informed every step of the way through blog posts like this one, updates and photos on Facebook, and regular reports in our newsletter. To bring you into our vision, we have outlined the three phases of the upgrade below.
PHASE 1-Interior-In progress
Phase 1 of our upgrade will focus on the interior of the Science Center. Not only will we be making changes to layout, we will be upgrading and adding to information presented throughout. These changes will occur in 3 main areas of AFSC: The Lecture Hall, The Gift Shop, and The Exhibit/Biblical History Hall.
The Lecture Hall
The space that is currently our Lecture Hall which houses the majority of our fossils and living fossils will be transformed into a multipurpose space. The exhibits residing there now will be moved into another part of the museum, freeing up room for other activities.
Our vision for the new multipurpose space is to have an area for hands-on activities that can change and rotate throughout the year, allowing us to continuously present new, fresh, and interactive material. Examples of what we would like to do in the multipurpose room are: fossil replica making, hands on experiments, seasonal educational experiences, lectures, and more. Having this space will allow guests of all ages to get up close with science and will provide an ever-changing, unique experience for return visitors.
The Gift Shop
Though our lobby and gift shop now offers a wide variety of literature, fossil replicas, and toys to purchase, it is not as welcoming as we would like it to be. It’s important to us that Akron Fossils & Science Center is a place where people feel comfortable.
AFSC Current Gift Shop
With that in mind, we set out to design an area where our guests could relax, read some of the books we have available, or sit down and discuss everything they just learned on their tour. The result was the idea
for a small café within the gift shop that will have comfortable seating as well as pre-packaged food and drinks to enjoy while reading or conversing
with other science enthusiasts.
Our desire is not only to start conversations about creation science, but to also provide a place where those conversations can continue and grow.
The Exhibit Hall/Biblical History Hall
This area of the Science Center represents the largest portion of the upgrade. In addition to changing the layout of this area, we will be upgrading the technology and signage used to present information, with the goal of making the tour more interactive and user friendly. Currently, our tours are led by tour guides and explore three main sections: The Lecture Hall, The Exhibit Hall, and The Biblical History Hall. In the new layout, the wall that divided The Exhibit Hall and The Biblical History Hall will be removed, creating an open space more conducive to exploration. This open layout will also make room to bring in the exhibits previously featured in the Lecture Hall, creating a cohesive flow between all our exhibits and information.
Although we will continue to have guided tours available at regularly scheduled times, we have designed the new tour to be self-
guided, as well. To help enhance the experience and understanding, electronic tablets and T.V. screens will accompany several exhibits. This technology will allow guests to explore a world of information much larger than could ever fit within the four walls of our Science Center! Touch screens will
also feature interactive activities and links to materials visitors can read to learn more about a particular topic. This technology will give us the ability to consistently update our information, always keeping our visitors up to date with the latest scientific discoveries. It will also allow us to feature rotating exhibits ensuring guests a new learning experience every visit!
Finally, new signage that is as beautiful as it is informative will help visitors to better understand the exhibits they are exploring, as well as enhance the professionalism of the facility as a whole. Work on this phase has already begun and we hope to have it completed by spring!
Phase 2 will focus on the exterior presentation of our facility. While we will continue to freshen up and maintain the building exterior as best we can, the more extensive work we need will be reliant on funding to be
raised in the near future. The upgrades will be costly, with a starting price of approximately $25,000, but they are extremely vital.
The outside of our building is the first impression of who we are, so it is imperative that it be
professional and exciting.
The more professional we are and the more people that come through our doors, the more funding we will be able to secure to pour back into the creation of quality programming.
PHASE 3- Outdoor Adventure
Phase 3, like phase 2, will be reliant on funding from our supporters. In this phase we would like to begin the expansion of our outdoor area, Truassic Park. Currently, our park features swings, a giant slide, a mini-golf course, a small challenge course, picnic area, and 200ft zip-line. Truassic Park is one of the strongest draws for people who may not initially be open to our message, making it an essential part of the Science Center.
In this third phase, we would like to add some exciting adventure zones.
First, we want to upgrade to a larger zip-line. Second, we would like to build a large rope bridge. Third, we want to create an upgraded challenge course that would have features such as a high ropes course. In order to make this a reality, we will need, in addition to the funds to create the adventure zones themselves, funds to purchase the adjacent land so that we have the necessary space for this expansion. There are no parks like this in the immediate vicinity so we believe that the addition of adventure zones would add great value to the surrounding community!
This is a major undertaking both logistically and financially, but we feel that it is absolutely necessary to reach more people with the truth. Please continue to pray for us as we take this next step. We hope that you will come along with us on this new adventure!
If you would like to help us out financially as we take this next step, there are a couple of options you can choose!
Membership: Annual Membership $75, Annual Supporter $150