National Academy of Sciences to Open New Science Museum in Washington, DC, April '04 Marian Koshland Science Museum to explore the scientific advances that impact daily life

Media Contact: Museum Communications Officer, Koshland Science Museum
Phone: 202-334-1201, Email: Museum Communications Officer

Maureen O'Leary, The National Academies
Phone: 202-334-3875, Email: Maureen O'Leary

November 17, 2003 - Washington, DC - The Marian Koshland Science Museum, a new museum exploring the links between scientific research and everyday life, will open in Washington, DC in April 2004. The Koshland Science Museum will be the only museum in the nation's capital solely dedicated to exploring the science at the core of public policy decisions and the only museum in the world operated by the National Academy of Sciences - a private, nonprofit organization created by a congressional charter in 1863 to advise the government on scientific and technical matters.
Visitors to the Koshland Science Museum will discover the practical applications and social implications of scientific research through engaging exhibits that involve unique interactive displays, graphics, videos, and scientific projections. Visitors will be able to piece together the scientific evidence behind current and often controversial issues, discovering how that evidence influences policy decisions relevant to their daily activities.
Two of the museum's three exhibits will be temporary and on view at the Koshland Science Museum for approximately two years before traveling to other museums across the country. The museum's inaugural exhibits will explore scientific discoveries, global climate change and DNA sequencing.
The Wonders of Science , the Koshland's permanent exhibit, will feature animations of groundbreaking research and house an introductory film describing several pivotal scientific discoveries. The film and animations will be updated periodically.
Global Warming Facts & Our Future will reveal the science behind global warming and examine the possible implications of this phenomenon for the quality of life around the world. Visitors will view high-tech representations of changes in temperature and carbon dioxide emissions across the globe over the past century and review predictions for the next century. Interactive exhibits will allow visitors to "flood" the Chesapeake Bay, illustrating the predicted sea-level rise that will gradually occur around the world, and feel the affects of global warming with their own hands through an interactive copper globe that mimics the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Putting DNA to Work will detail several applications of DNA mapping, from tracking the origin of SARS to the widespread use of criminal forensics. Visitors will have a chance to catch a criminal in an interactive display based on the FBI's CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), explore how inherited diseases are diagnosed, discover crucial new tools for identifying and limiting the spread of infectious diseases such as the SARS outbreak, and review the science behind crop improvement.
"The museum will show visitors the excitement of science through exhibits that demonstrate how science impacts their lives on a personal level," said Daniel Koshland, founder of the Marian Koshland Science Museum. "We hope that visitors to the museum will leave with a better understanding of science and how it can help inform their decisions about scientific issues in the news today."
The mission of the Marian Koshland Science Museum is to provide the public with a greater understanding of and appreciation for the value of science by bringing to life reports by the National Academies that directly impact people's daily lives. The Koshland Science Museum is dedicated to the nonpartisan presentation of current and often controversial scientific issues with an emphasis on the practical uses and social implications that result from scientific advances.
Content for the Marian Koshland Science Museum is derived from reports produced by the National Academies, a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization comprised of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council. Together they enlist the nation's most knowledgeable scientists, engineers, health professionals, and other experts to volunteer their time to the study of specific issues. The results of their deliberations, more than 200 studies each year, have led to some of America's most significant and lasting efforts to improve the health, education, and welfare of the population, including the Human Genome Project, national standards for science education, and FDA nutritional guidelines.
As part of the National Academies' efforts to expand their involvement in science education and improve public understanding of science, these studies will serve as the basis for future exhibits at the Marian Koshland Science Museum, exhibits that have the potential to explore all aspects of science, engineering and medicine. Over 20 members of the National Academies and other experts participated in developing the museum's current exhibits, ensuring scientific accuracy and objectivity.
"The input of the museum's scientific advisers was crucial to explaining complex topics in clear and concise ways while maintaining the accuracy of the science presented," said Bruce Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences. "The museum is breaking new ground for the National Academies by taking written reports that are produced for specialists and transforming them into visual and interactive exhibits meant for a much broader public audience."
Marian Koshland
The Marian Koshland Science Museum is named after Marian Koshland (1921-1997), a National Academy of Sciences member who made major contributions to the field of immunology and molecular biology throughout her career, including work on the cholera vaccine and groundbreaking research in the behavior of antibodies. This new museum has been made possible by a $25 million endowment from her husband, Daniel Koshland, also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Marian's research helped improve the quality of life for so many people, just as the National Academies' reports have done on a national and global scale," said Koshland. "This museum is a tribute to her devotion to improving public understanding of science and her dedication to promoting the role of women in science."
Marian Koshland Science Museum
The Marian Koshland Science Museum will feature state-of-the-art exhibitions that present the complexities of science in an engaging and accessible way to a general, nonscientific, adult audience. Best enjoyed by visitors ages 13 and older, the museum explores current scientific issues at the core of many of the nation's public policy decisions, as presented in reports by the National Academies.
The Marian Koshland Science Museum will offer a wide range of educational programs for students and adults, inspired by the museum's exhibits, including hands-on activities, educational field trips, and other special events throughout the year. Knowledgeable volunteers will staff the museum floor every day, providing additional information to visitors, interpreting museum exhibits and answering questions.
The Koshland Science Museum will occupy approximately 6,000 sq. ft. of street-level space at the corner of 6 th & E Streets, NW in Washington, DC, within one block of the Verizon Center and National Building Museum, within 3 blocks of the National Mall, and within one block of the Gallery Place and Judiciary Square Metrorail stations, serviced by the red, yellow and green lines.
The museum will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Tuesdays and the following holidays: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. Admission rates will be $5 for adults and $3 for seniors (65+), active duty military, and students (ages 5 - 18; college students with ID). Admission proceeds will support the museum's student and public programs. For more information, call 202-334-1201.