Community continues support for Discovery Centre

Discovery Centre General Manager Jonathan Ridnell.
Discovery Centre General Manager Jonathan Ridnell.

After fighting for its life in 2015, Bendigo’s Discovery Science and Technology Centre is continuing to flourish with the support of the community.

A combination of small and large grants as well as community and in-kind donations has allowed the science centre to upgrade many aspects of its operation.

Discovery general manager Jonathan Ridnell said the “SOS” in 2015 reminded the community that the centre needed ongoing support.

“That comes thought things like memberships but also through reminding the whole community that what we do is important,” he said.

“Part of my job is to make financially sustainable as possible.”

Mr Ridnell said community grants from Strategem, the Frances & Harold Abbott Foundation and Fosterville Gold Mining Community Grants had allowed the centre to upgrade its wireless internet facilities, meeting room and purchase a cinema quality data projector.

“Having a great board and auditorium,might only be used a few hours a week but if corporate or government groups want a space, they can hire it out and it is another income stream for us,” he said.

Upgrading and introducing new exhibitions in the centre is next on the list for the Discovery crew.

“We have volunteers going through the archives and some exhibitions are 21 years old,” Mr Ridnell said.

“The Under 6 Kaleidoscope Learning Space is also 11 years old so it is time for a refresh.

“A sub-committee with local kinder directors, early educators, career education officers and our science communicators have had input into our plans.

“Some exhibits will be upgraded and others built from scratch. one new thing will be a 3D dinosaur jig saw puzzle for our young paleontologists.”

Mr Ridnell said he not only wanted to create new exhibits but also new education programs.

“Programs have been developing in the last 12 months and going through the creative cycle to imagine, prototype, test and evaluate them,” he said.

“At school if you get 55 per cent on a test, you move on. We want to say ‘OK, you got 55 per cent, how can we get that to 90 per cent?

“(Is is a philosophy of) learning how to fail but also learning how to improve.”