Science museum would inspire youth

Dear Editor:

As Janet Urquhart’s article on Friday detailed, there is no shortage of creative suggestions for future use of the current Aspen Art Museum space (“Ideas abound for future of Aspen museum space,” March 1, The Aspen Times). The city is to be commended for creating the Open-City-Hall website to solicit residents’ suggestions on this and other questions.

In the future, the best jobs and the most creative and important businesses will be related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The kids who learn to love these STEM-related subjects will be the ones who excel in these fields and will be the leaders of the next generation.

Cities both large and small have science centers and science museums and understand the importance of this type of facility in fostering excellence in STEM education. The science teachers in the Roaring Fork Valley do an admirable job of instruction in these areas, but they can’t do it all. Conveying the excitement of STEM-related subjects together with inspiration and experiential learning are areas in which the community can help by hosting a science museum.

The Aspen Science Center proposes to take the responsibility for converting the art museum space into the Aspen Science Museum, a community resource offering stimulating and informative science activities for children, covering the breadth of science. This is not a proposal to offer better space to an existing organization. This museum would be transformative, offering totally new experiences to local children with the potential for important changes in their lives.

Should this proposal be accepted, the Aspen Science Center will actively seek the advice of the community, especially teachers and parents, to produce a facility that optimally meets community needs and will raise the necessary funds from private sources. Some possible lead donors already have expressed interest.

There is a nationwide network of science museums and science centers sharing traveling exhibits that provide a wide variety of interactive science for all ages. The Aspen Science Museum would primarily use such exhibits to offer regularly changing experiences for local children.

We are delighted that Aspen Science Center board member Alan Fletcher proposes an extension to activities linking science and music. Creativity underlies success in all STEM-related work, as it does in art, music and theater. Introducing children to this commonality would be a key feature of museum activities; inserting the arts into STEM programs produces STEAM and would be particularly exciting.

Aspen has a strong tradition of excellence in music, arts, theater and environmental studies for our kids. It’s time for a science museum. If you’d like to help, please visit to learn more about Aspen Science Center, and contact

Mike Simmons

Chairman, Aspen Science Center