2023 has been a year of robust updates for Maine Discovery Museum: beyond addressing much needed refreshing of our spaces, we have also updated our programs and programming. One of the most exciting updates for me has been completing a new strategic plan in June. It has provided the whole MDM team (staff and Board alike) with a foundation and audacious goals for the next four years.
I was fortunate enough to meet up with some colleagues in the museum field recently, and we were talking about access and how we try to ensure accessibility to our community. One of our colleagues in Portland noted they have a goal of having 20% of their programs available at no or low charge to participants to maintain accessibility for all. I'm proud to note that MDM's programming - which is heavily focused on science, technology, engineering, and math, and includes arts (STEAM) - has been hitting well beyond this mark for years. Since 2014, we have provided 95% of our offsite mission-driven programming free-of-charge to participants, which includes our educational outreach to school students, families, science enthusiasts, and many rural and underserved kids in Maine. We do this without any government funding (city, regional, state, or federal), with all operations and programs covered by what we raise through admissions, fees, grants, and donations.
These programs are critical to Mainers of all ages, and MDM has built a robust and dynamic Educational Outreach program, spearheaded by the extraordinary Trudi Plummer (Director of Education). Right now, we have more demand for our programs than staff and resources to meet that demand, and one of our 2024 goals is to bridge that gap.
I'm really proud of the team here at MDM; not just because they are experts at their jobs, but also because they are having an impact on people's lives - I believe for the better. I know that we will be able to do more great work if we are able to raise additional funds to support a larger team. If you believe that what we offer is important to kids, families, Maine - or all three - please consider making a donation to MDM.
Kate Dickerson, Executive Director