When the New England Museum of Natural History opened in Boston during the Civil War, it established a permanent home for a collection of artifacts collected by local naturalist that has been moving between temporary exhibit spaces for a generation. By the end of World War II, as America was entering a new technological age and the baby boom was dramatically increasing the population of school children in Boston and nationwide, Museum trustees decided that it needed to expand dramatically.
The new Museum of Science was established in an area along the Charles River in Boston that was named Science Park. When it opened in 1951, it became the first museum to house exhibits from all the sciences under a single roof. Over the ensuing decades the Museum of Science maintained its commitment to a wide variety of scientific study, branching out from Natural History to include major attractions dedicated to astronomy, electricity, computer science and emerging technology.
Every decade, it seemed, a new and exciting field of science took its turn in the Museum of Science spotlight. Late in the 1950s as America and Russia competed in the space race, the Hayden Planetarium opened its doors in Boston. In the 1960s, the Museum of Science opened a two-story tall Theater of Electricity, which housed a two-and-a-half million volt generator. By the 1970s, the exhibit space at the museum increased dramatically with the opening of a new West Wing. In the 1980s an enormous domed theater five stories high displayed larger-than-life IMAX films. In the 1990s it was the debut of the Computer Museum, and in 2001the Gordon Current Science & Technology Center.
Through the years, thousands of New England school children have made field trips to explore and discover the wonders at the Museum of Science. These annual trips to Boston are the highlight of school years for kids from around the region.
Highlights of current exhibits at the Museum of Science include the crowd-pleasing dinosaur displays, including one of just four complete triceratops fossils in existence. A trio of related exhibits traces the miracle of human reproduction, the study of anatomy and an explanation of evolutionary theory. An interactive display identifies the various species of birds found in New England, glass-enclosed cases unveil the world inside a beehive, and a climate-controlled butterfly garden overlooks the Boston skyline across the Charles River.
In addition to the IMAX experience, the Museum of Science theaters offer a wide range of programs, including state-of-the-art 3D films and popular laser light shows in the planetarium.
The Museum of Science in Boston is open daily. Ticket package costs vary, depending on the theater shows and attractions included. Admission to the exhibits only is $20 for adults, with discounts for students and seniors. The Science Park subway stop is located on Boston’s Green Line.