Top Science Museums around the Country Support STEM Education

Top Science Museums around the Country Support STEM Education

Education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) has been a national priority for several years now. Beyond the public school systems, many of the country’s science museums are also working to provide STEM education opportunities for their communities.

These museums provide access to science education for the general public, including youth in underserved areas. A few of these science museums have been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, which represents the highest global standards of museum programming and administration.

Science museums with this accreditation exist around the country. Read on to find a list of these top science museums near you.



The Museum of Discovery in Little Rock is in charge of the Arkansas Discovery Network, which brings STEM education to school children around the state. During the summer, the museum also offers a weeklong free workshop called Girls in STEM for girls ages 11-14. The program introduces girls to STEM career paths and is led by women in STEM professions.



California Science Center
Image by ATOMIC Hot Links | Flickr

The California Science Center in Los Angeles has housed the retired Space Shuttle Endeavor since 2012, and the museum has been home since 2004 to a public elementary school that focuses on STEM education.



Since 2010, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science has featured a 3D IMAX theater, and since 2014 it has been home to high-tech education learning spaces.



The Museum of Arts & Sciences in Macon has partnered with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to offer as part of its permanent collection NOAA’s Science on a Sphere exhibit, which highlights earth science.



The Herrett Center for Arts and Science and Faulkner Planetarium in Twin Falls focuses its science collection on anthropology and natural history, especially the American continents during the prehistoric era, and its planetarium emphasizes asteroid research.



The Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines offers outreach to every county in Iowa, including professional development opportunities for STEM educators. In addition, the museum operates a preschool accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).



Museum of Science and Industry

The Chicago Museum of Science & Industry has a large permanent collection with highlights that include a WWII-era German submarine, a re-created coal mine, and a 1930s diesel-electric train.



The Museum of Science in Boston features a 2.5 million-volt electrical generator, a five-story theater with a range of adaptive technologies for people with disabilities, a planetarium, and the National Center for Technological Literacy, among numerous other exhibits.



The Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul has wide-ranging exhibits that focus on dinosaurs and fossils, the human body, mathematics, Mississippi River ecology, and hands-on activities for kids, just to name a few.



The St. Louis Science Center features among its collections a 50,000-square-foot space for a permanent exhibit that highlights the food supply chain. Science story times, a summer camp, and a preschool science class are a few of the museum’s offerings for children.


North Carolina

Discovery Place offers four interconnected museums in locations throughout the state, including two children’s museum, a nature museum, and a science museum. The science museum features a “thinker space” workshop where kids can learn new skills, a hands-on studio for STEM educators, and special classes for students visiting on field trips.


New Mexico

The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History
Image by Jason Eppink | Flickr

The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque was established by an act of Congress, and a highlight among its programming is a summer camp that focuses on robotics, flight, engineering, medicine, and general science.



Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City features daily science demonstrations in its auditorium on such topics as physics and explosions. The museum also offers interactive exhibits on light, space, optical illusions, fungi, and construction, as well as a planetarium.



The Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh is host to exhibits on health science and human biology, water and river ecology, robotics, and space science. The museum also houses a WWII-era US submarine, as well as an extensive miniature model railroad and village that shows visitors what life was like in western Pennsylvania in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


South Dakota

The Washington Pavilion of Arts & Science in Sioux Falls is home to a performance space, art museum, and science museum, with the science museum featuring science-themed educational movies as well as a schedule of traveling exhibits.



The Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas houses permanent exhibits that include dinosaur bones and other fossils, gems and minerals, and hands-on activities related to earth science, space science, and engineering and innovation.



The Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond is housed in a building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by noted architect John Russell Pope. One of the museum’s highlights is an exhibit that focuses on the science of motion and time and is home to a supersonic jet.