clock Closed

Museum of Life and Science hopes for Durham voters’ support this November

For Immediate Release – October 20, 2022 | 11 am

Media Contact:
Matt Pusateri, Senior Director of Marketing
(919) 220-5429 x390

Photo Gallery Link


DURHAM, NC – Starting this week, voters can support significant improvements and upgrades to the Museum of Life and Science by voting in favor of a bond initiative on the ballot.

The $14 million bond investment will help them create all-new learning environments focused on health sciences, climate change, and technological innovation, along with accessibility enhancements across campus, visitor infrastructure improvements, and renovation of dining and meeting areas to serve guests better.

“Thanks to the support of Durham, the Museum has grown and expanded over the decades to meet the changing and evolving needs of our community,” said Carrie Heinonen, CEO and President of the Museum. “We want our Museum to continue inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders right here in Durham. So if our community wants to help make Durham a leader in education and learning, we hope they will vote ‘yes.’”

The bond is one of three education-related items on the Durham ballot this fall; the other two support funds to improve Durham Public Schools and Durham Tech. Together, all three bonds support education and learning for all ages in Durham, helping shape minds for the next generation.

The Museum of Life and Science, a 401(c3) nonprofit organization, receives very little state funding. Support from Durham County is critical to helping the Museum expand its service to the community.

“Voters will have the chance to help Durham make a major commitment to education for all generations,” said Kate Senner, Vice President for Development. “And at the same time, they can help create a greener, more sustainable Museum that will offer a more welcoming experience to all visitors.”

The bond initiative will invest in significant improvements at the Museum, which will include:

  • All-new exhibits on both floors of the main building, with an emphasis on climate change, biosciences, and technology
  • Expansion and renovation of the Sprout Café to provide more seating, faster food service, and improved kitchen facilities to meet visitors’ needs better, along with a teaching kitchen and nutritional education space
  • Renovations and improvements to Mercury Meeting Room, its largest program space, will allow for better events and educational programs at the Museum
  • Installation of outdoor campus lighting, providing the opportunity to expand programming hours. The lighting will comply with “dark sky” standards to minimize light pollution.
  • Expanded use of photovoltaic equipment at Butterfly House and warehouse to reduce the Museum’s energy needs
  • Installation of upgraded HVAC systems for better airflow and improved health standards for guests
  • Other infrastructure upgrades and accessibility improvements around campus

The Museum has partnered with Durham to educate children and families since opening its doors in 1946. Its deep relationship with Durham includes the following:

  • 22 free admission days for Durham residents, serving more than 8,711 visitors last year
  • Free field trips for Durham Public Schools — on average, 4,207 Durham student visits every year
  • Partnering with 20 local nonprofits, the Museum provided heavily-discounted Memberships to 1,263 Durham families in need last year and welcomed more than 11,998 visitors as part of that program.
  • Development of special afterschool and outdoor educational programs with Durham Public Schools to boost nature and science learning
  • Community outreach and special collaborative projects with Durham residents on climate change, local ecology and waterways, and other conservation efforts

The Museum also makes a significant impact on the local economy. Discover Durham estimates that the Museum generates an annual economic impact of $47.5 million on the region. Support for the bond will help the Museum evolve and expand, strengthening our regional economic impact.

“If we’ve learned one thing over the last few years, it’s that our world is rapidly changing, with potential impacts on our everyday lives,” Heinonen said. “We need to understand these changes better and let science help empower us to create a better, safer world for the next generations. We believe the Museum can play a meaningful role in that educational effort. We hope Durham will agree and support us this November.”


More about the 2022 Durham Bond


About the Museum of Life and Science

Located less than five miles from downtown Durham, the Museum of Life and Science is one of North Carolina’s top family destinations. Our 84-acre campus includes a two-story science center, one of the largest butterfly conservatories on the East Coast, and beautifully landscaped outdoor exhibits. Our interactive experiences include Dinosaur TrailEllerbe Creek RailwayHideaway WoodsInto the MistEarth Moves, and Aerospace, which features one of the largest collections of Apollo-era NASA artifacts in the state. The Museum is also an AZA-accredited zoo, home to rescued black bears, lemurs, endangered red wolves, and more than 60 species of live animals. This year, the Museum celebrates its 75th anniversary and its ongoing commitment to Durham, the Triangle, and North Carolina communities. To learn more, visit