Hands-On Museum operating at Greenwood Mall for a limited time BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- February 3, 2012 – Volunteers will be loading exhibits from The Barren River Imaginative Museum of Science Saturday and moving them across town. BRIMS, a popular field trip destination for regional elementary schools, is planning to open for tours February 16 in its new location at Greenwood Mall on Scottsville Road.
BRIMS will occupy the new space, formerly occupied by The Medical Center Health & Wellness Center, until July 31 while the organization seeks a permanent home for the Museum. After announcing its closure in August 2011, operations of the Museum continued by reservation only at 1229 Center Street until last week.
“We were at a tipping point last year,” said Board of Directors President Jeff Moore. “The school trip model wasn’t working as well, the building needed repairs, our director was retiring, and our income stream was struggling. Rather than chance leaving bills unpaid, we decided to close and see if the community really missed us,” he said. “Since then, a lot of different people have stepped in to help us in a lot of ways.”
Fundraising efforts by two local elementary schools began shortly after word spread about the closure of BRIMS last fall. Cathy Willoughby, a science teacher at Cumberland Trace Elementary, started a “Save Our Science” letter-writing campaign where her students wrote letters to local businesses asking them to support BRIMS. Willoughby also began the “Bucks for BRIMS” program in which teachers can make a donation and wear jeans to school.
The students liked this idea and began “Cents for Science” so they may wear a hat or pajamas to school in exchange for their donation. Lost River Elementary also does “Bucks for BRIMS” and has donated $300 to the Museum so far. Additionally, Greenwood Mall has partnered with BRIMS by providing the location.
The new director, April McCauley, began working with the Board of Directors in December and brings museum experience to the organization for the first time. While receiving her Master’s degree in History with a concentration in Museum Studies, McCauley worked with the American Association for State and Local History and presented successful conference sessions for the Tennessee Association of Museums.
“I am so happy to be a part of this change at BRIMS,” McCauley said. “We are keeping a lot that was good while looking at ways to enhance and grow those learning opportunities.” Hoping to use the time at Greenwood Mall as a prototype for the next stage, McCauley says they want community input and suggestions.
A senior-level advertising class at WKU is helping BRIMS reshape its brand by conducting an internal and external analysis that will include an online survey.
Some of McCauley’s ideas for future exhibits explore local topics like why racecars have smooth tires, how a hot air balloon works, what is the science of baseball, and other real topics that children can relate to current events.
BRIMS will continue to facilitate one such practical application, the annual Regional Bridge Building Competition. Held at Stupp Bridge Company, this year’s event is Saturday, March 10. Bridge building kits are available at BRIMS for $5 and more information can be found online at brimsbridgebuildingcontest.wikispaces.com.
Volunteers are needed to staff the new location. Interested persons can contact McCauley at 270-843-9779 or 270-746-1165 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note to Media: Moving will begin at 1229 Center Street at approximately 9 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, February 4.