SPRINGFIELD — Springﬁeld Museums announced that Jenny Powers has been named director of the Springfield Science Museum. A science educator for 20 years and the family engagement coordinator for the Springfield Museums for six years, Powers is ready to take her knowledge of playful learning to the Science Museum in the form of interactive, immersive additions to the museum. She also takes inspiration from the last woman who directed the Science Museum, Grace Pettis Johnson, who led the way from 1910 to 1949.
Powers’ dynamic programing has filled the Museums on family-engagement days with exciting features such as bubble parties, high-fives with the Cat in the Hat, and Mount Crumpit derbies during Grinchmas. She has also been a regular guest on WWLP’s Mass Appeal, sharing hands-on science that families could explore together at home.
“The opportunity the Museums have to help our visitors expand their worlds with science is so important,” Powers said. “What makes our museum especially vital is that people of all ages can explore ideas together, teaching and learning from each other. Our museum can offer fun, entertaining information that will be helpful in the real world.
“I love that the Science Museum offers visitors chances for simple, positive interactions. This is when the most important learning happens,” she went on. “By ensuring that the science we present is relevant to our visitors’ lives, we can deepen their museum experience and know that they can use science to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.”
Powers said her overall vision is to always present the most up-to-date science. What this means is adding stations throughout the museums that are easy to change and update. “We want to be nimble because science changes as researchers look, discover, and understand more. We want to be a science museum that is relevant today and into the future — and we want to be fun.”
For Powers, fun means not only entertaining, but also barrier-free. “We want to make sure that every visitor feels welcome by including diverse stories and accessible spaces.”
Kay Simpson, president and CEO of the Springfield Museums, noted that “Jenny excels at engagement. As we move the museums forward as relevant, inspiring, interactive spaces, we could not have a better leader than Jenny, who makes science understandable, exciting, and accessible for all people whether they are new to the subject or experts. Jenny is highly knowledgeable about current museum practices, innovative in her approaches to education, and she is passionate about inclusion. She is just the visionary leader we need to bring our beloved Science Museum into the 21st century and beyond.”