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Michigan Science Center designated a Smithsonian affiliate

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

One of Detroit's institutions, the Michigan Science Center announced Thursday that it has joined a national network of affiliates to share the resources of the Smithsonian Institution. 

The center joins more than 200 similar organizations across the country, giving them the opportunity to have access to a range of Smithsonian benefits like professional development opportunities and special grant-funded projects. The only Smithsonian affiliate in Detroit, the Michigan Science Center will be able to offer combo memberships to the museum on John R as well as the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and other  

Christian Greer is the president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center in Detroit.

MiSci president and CEO Christian Greer said the Smithsonian affiliate designation is "a big deal" for the Michigan Science Center and the city. 

"In many ways, it celebrates the tremendous improvements we have made over the course of the pandemic. New high-quality STEM programs and exhibit experiences for students, teachers, families and communities await,” he said in a media release about the news. “I am incredibly proud of the exceptional progress our team has made, despite the challenges we faced during the past year. Our Board of Directors, along with other influential members of the metro Detroit community, has played critical roles in helping us raise our standards and achieve new levels of recognition both nationally and internationally.”

Greer said the center already has a Smithsonian partnership with its Spark!Lab, a feature that focuses on invention and innovation. 

“Being the only Smithsonian Affiliate in Detroit gives us an added responsibility to connect with other affiliates across the state and beyond to share best practices," he said. "We are extremely hopeful that this partnership will add a new dimension to our existing portfolio of offerings." 

Families pack the Michigan Science Center during the facilities' Free Day as the center offers free admission to the public to celebrate Earth Day, April 20, 2019.

“We are delighted MiSci applied to become a Smithsonian Affiliate,” said Myriam Springuel, director of Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and Smithsonian Affiliations. “Throughout the rigorous application process, it was clear that MiSci had thoughtfully considered the many ways in which our organizations could collaborate to enrich the Detroit community with educational programming and exhibitions. We pay attention to many factors during the review process, including the organization’s capacity and interest to work with the Smithsonian and if there are other Affiliates in that community."

Springuel said the Smithsonian has other affiliates in Michigan, but this is the only one in Midtown Detroit and the only science center in the state that they've teamed up with. 

"Discovery and learning are at the core of both MiSci and the Smithsonian’s missions, and exploring the ways in which we can collaborate to have critical conversations around science is something both our organizations are looking forward to," she said.