An image of the Nature House, from the outside

All public operations are limited to select programming until further notice. Check this page for the latest information.

2021 Annual Appeal

Thank you for supporting the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and Leslie Science & Nature Center!

Dear Friends,

We have faced many challenges over the past three years, but we refuse to be defined by adversity. We choose instead to grow into a stronger and steadfast whole, all with the help of you, our beloved community.

In 2017, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum (AAHOM) and Leslie Science & Nature Center (LSNC) merged, combining our staff, mission, and core values. Entering FY18 (fiscal year 2018), this unification positioned our team to deepen the impact of our work. We launched partnerships with the Detroit Public Schools Community District and Ypsilanti Consolidated Schools, resulting in one of our strongest school years on record. Investing in our summer camp, we built a STEM middle school program with scholarships for those who otherwise could not attend, holding camps at LSNC as well as at our partner site, the Yankee Air Museum.

We began FY19 ready to embark on the construction of our Nature Playscape at LSNC. When routine testing exposed environmental concerns, the entire site was shut down, and we relocated all programs within the span of a weekend. Dedicated to serving our community, we persevered. As we shifted to other sites, we forged new relationships and sought new ways to grow, beginning a partnership with St. Clair County Community College in Port Huron.

In FY20, we resolved to continue expanding our programming and sought further ways to serve community members, and with partial funding launched an EBT discount, welcoming families with significantly reduced Museum admission.

Then, the world paused.

After navigating the site closure, COVID-19 arrived. Our team’s resiliency did not waver. Working together, we remained present for our community by offering free programs as well as online training for our partners. Our community rallied both in their generosity and in their encouragement as we navigated the unknown. We celebrated the reopening of the LSNC site and brought many of our programs outdoors, providing safe opportunities to learn and to experience our STEM and Environmental programming. We also welcomed our treasured community back into our museum space.

In the year since, we have continued to look to the future with enthusiasm and energy. We broke ground on our Nature Playscape in late 2020, confident that this experience will allow our visitors to reach even greater heights of discovery. At the Museum, we unveiled two new galleries created through the collaboration and support of our community. With your help, we have built and sustained relationships throughout Southeast Michigan and have now expanded our work to include aviation, aerospace, and space science.

We have no intention of stopping now.

You have been our strength as we managed two major crises. As a unified organization, we persevered and remained resilient, ready to face the future. We know that by partnering together we will spark curiosity, discovery, and joy across Southeast Michigan and well beyond.

Sincerely,

Mel Drumm
President & CEO
Susan Westhoff
COO

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