Mission and History

Our Mission

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

Our Vision

Our vision is a society of individuals encouraged to be curious, think critically, and innovate; enabling them to understand and thrive in the changing world around them.

Our History

Montana Science Center was originally founded as the Children's Museum of Bozeman in 2001 by a group of parents and community leaders who recognized that enriching, experiential learning opportunities are central to the education and growth of all children. In the past 20 years, MSC has grown into one of the city’s main family attractions. MSC has created a community by focusing on learning through play with interactive exhibits, engaging science classes, and educational programs throughout the year. What began as a grass-roots effort to create an informal, interactive educational resource for the community’s children has grown into a full-fledged museum facility with interesting experiences, engaging programs, and a professional staff.

We understand that children make profound meaning from direct experience, and facilitating pathways for hands-on exploratory learning for real world problem solving is the mission of the Science Center. Budding scientists, engineers and inventors can spark curiosity through interactive engagement in many ways through the Montana Science Center.

Increasingly, students need access to high-tech tools and materials in order to take their place in a fast paced, technology-driven world. MSC opened the high-tech makerspace STEAMlab in 2015, offering personally relevant project-based learning opportunities to kids ages 7 and up with the aim of bolstering interest and expertise in 21st century skills. Since it’s opening, students have come to the STEAMlab to learn how to design in 3D, code robots, play collaboratively in Minecraft, complete projects with a laser cutter and more. Students discover tools in the STEAMlab that allow them to develop critical thinking, creativity and problem solving. Projects in the STEAMlab encourage students to envision themselves with skills for real world challenges. The STEAMlab is also the foundation for MSC’s outreach programs with the STEAMTruck, piloted in Summer 2021, that strives to reach students and adults in rural communities by bringing high-tech materials directly to them.

With the success of the STEAMlab, Montana Science Center’s board of directors participated in a “revisioning” process in 2017 that allowed them to reconnect with the most frequent visitors, past board members and community members to address a declining visitation in the overall museum, but increasing visitation in the STEAMlab. Through this revisioning process, the Children’s Museum of Bozeman recognized it’s full potential as the Montana Science Center. Still a place for play and imagination, but one focused on the values of the community - enhanced engagement and learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

In January of 2020, families were welcomed into a new location nearly double the size of the previous location. With a frequently rotating collection of interactive exhibits, families with children of all ages can explore together in order to spark curiosity and learn through play. The exhibit floor also hosts a Science Station featuring activities and experiments to take learning further. It frequently features “long term” experiments such as bacteria cultures, live plants, mushroom habitats and worm composting to engage families over a series of visits.