The Explorit Science Center is selling its Second Street venue. Explorit, a nonprofit in Davis that offers hands-on scientific educational programs to public schools, shut down the public museum on Jan. 30 due to a lack of funding.
The closure was caused by a combination of the recent downturn of the economy and the high cost of the building itself, said program director Megan Contreras.
Explorit is funded by individual donations, grants from private corporations and proceeds from membership and program fees. The organization’s annual contributions have fallen 14 percent, according to a letter from the Board of Trustees posted on the Explorit website.
Since its opening in 1982, Explorit has occupied several different locations, settling on Fifth Street in the early ’90s, according to Contreras. The Second Street facility, acquired by Explorit in 2006, was an expansion of their Fifth Street venue.
The Fifth Street location is primarily used for group reservations and school field trips, including traveling programs that provide hands-on science education to surrounding schools. The Second Street venue was a museum open to the public.
Contreras said that she and other members of Explorit hope that this is not a permanent closure.
“Right now we’re planning to continue the programs we offer [on Fifth Street] and eventually we’re hoping to expand to having public visitation hours there as well,” Contreras said.
“A lot of people don’t realize that while we are an important resource for our community, we also provide education to public schools outside of Davis who do not have the same resources and opportunities,” Contreras said.
Keeping the Second Street facility open would make it difficult to continue to provide educational programs to public schools, according to the Board of Trustees.
Contreras said Explorit will continue to offer as many events to the public as they can. This includes the upcoming Astronomy Club presentation on Feb. 12, which will discuss the NASA space shuttle program.
Nonetheless, Explorit is still looking for help.
“In order to make these offerings available, even greater community support is needed in the form of in-kind and financial contributions,” the letter said.
For information about donating or becoming a member, visit the Explorit website at explorit.org.
JENNIFER LISTUG can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.