Bob Ballard, Ph.D., the oceanographer who discovered the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, asks Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., to be a host site for his JASON Project broadcasts for school students after The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pa., had declined to host the broadcasts for a second year.
April 30, 1990
Lehigh University, the Junior League of the Lehigh Valley, and the Bethlehem Junior Women’s Club present the first JASON Project broadcast at Lehigh University’s Grace Hall. JASON broadcasts would continue at Lehigh until 1998 and engage more than 70,000 students.
Oct. 15, 1992
Lehigh University announces the establishment of Science Model Area Resource Team (SMART) Center to host the JASON Project broadcasts, to produce hands-on experiences for young people that promote interest in science and technology, and to train teachers to nurture those interests. Created with support from an anonymous benefactor, the SMART Center was affiliated with Lehigh University’s College of Education.
Jan. 15, 1993
The SMART Center holds its first non-JASON program – a workshop for teachers of grades K-12 to engage them in a telecommunications network of educators around the world called the People Sharing Information Network (PSINet).
March 1, 1993
The SMART Center holds its first non-JASON program for students – a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) career program for girls in grades 8-9.
The Center hosts its first two extended teacher professional development programs – the Hughes Intern Research Experience (HIRE) program and the Mat/TER residence program, which focused on materials science.
March 9, 1994
The Center holds the First Discovery Expo at Moravian College to compliment SMART Center’s hosting of JASON broadcasts. The expo features more than 20 interactive science exhibits produced by partner corporations and colleges. More than 5,000 people attend the three-day expo.
The SMART Discovery Center is incorporated as a member corporation of Lehigh University.
April 4, 1995
The SMART Discovery Center opens its public exhibit floor and resource center at 715 East Third St. in Bethlehem, a former annex building of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation.
The Center begins performing exhibit outreach programs in the Lehigh Valley region.
April 1, 1997
The re-named Discovery Center of Science and Technology opens its expanded exhibit floor in a former Bethlehem Steel operations building at 511 East Third St. in Bethlehem; Center’s opening is highlighted by presentation of the blockbuster Mission to Mars exhibit. The Center is led by new Executive Director and CEO Lin Erickson, a fundraising executive who had developed educational initiatives for students from kindergarten through college at Lehigh University and Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pa.
The Discovery Center holds its first after-school outreach programs for students in Bethlehem’s south side.
July 1, 1999
The Discovery Center announces it has become an independent nonprofit organization with an independent governing board; Center also acquires its building as a gift from its original anonymous benefactor through Lehigh University.
The Center announces completion of a three-year, $2.3 million campaign to expand its educational programs.
May 30, 2002
The Center announces an agreement with Cedar Crest College to construct a new facility on a three-acre tract of the college’s Allentown, Pa., campus and launches a campaign to support construction, exhibits, and programs.
July 8, 2003
The Discovery Center merges with Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse, Inc., (LDVHI) to form The Da Vinci Discovery Center of Science and Technology, Inc. – known popularly as the Da Vinci Science Center.
Aug. 9, 2004
The Center establishes its Da Vinci Teacher Leader Institute – a multi-year professional development program in science education, inquiry, and leadership for elementary-level educators.
Dec. 6, 2004
The Center’s trustees break ground on its 29,000-square-foot facility in Allentown, Pa. Preliminary funding for the project would come from the sale of the Center’s Bethlehem building to Northampton Community College.
March 3, 2005
Lin Erickson announces that she would step down as Center CEO shortly before her Mark Erickson, Ph.D., became President of Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.
June 11, 2005
The Center closes its exhibit floor in its former Bethlehem Steel building.
Aug. 8, 2005
Frank Steslow, a former Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences in Camden, N.J., becomes the Center’s Executive Director and CEO.
The Center moves its operations to its location in Allentown, Pa.
Oct. 30, 2005
The Da Vinci Science Center is re-established with opening of its newest exhibit floor.
March 17, 2006
The Center reaches 1,000 household members for the first time in its history.
The Center opens its first preschool exhibit area, the Little Learners Lab.
June 30, 2008
Frank Steslow announces his transition from the Da Vinci Science Center to become Chief Operating Officer of the Miami Science Museum in Miami, Fla.
March 30, 2009
Troy A. Thrash, a nationally-respected authority and advocate for scientific and technical workforce development, becomes the Center’s Executive Director and CEO; organization adopts an expanded focus on scientific and technical career development.
The Center’s flagship professional development program for educators – which is known today as its Math-Science Partnership – is ranked among the 20 best of more than 600 programs of its kind in America for 2008-2009 in a report by the U.S. Department of Education.
April 30, 2011
The Center introduces a branding initiative that officially adopts Da Vinci Science Center brand name and introduces slogan of Open for ExSCIting Possibilities.
June 4, 2011
The Da Vinci Science Center opens its Summer of Manufacturing initiative, anchored by the popular How People Make Things exhibit. The initiative also includes holding of a Lehigh Valley Manufacturing Summit in Aug. 2011.
The Da Vinci Science Center, Leadership Lehigh Valley, and several corporate and community partners, hold the first regional science festival for the Lehigh Valley area over three days. The festival builds upon a national movement begun in 2007 to hold community science festivals across the United States.
Sept. 15, 2012
The Center begins its Year of the Human Body initiative with St. Luke’s University Health Network to highlight medical careers.
Oct. 6, 2012
The Bodies Revealed exhibition, the first of two feature Year of the Human Body visitor experiences, begins its appearance at the Da Vinci Science Center. The Center was the first organization of its size to host the world’s most-viewed traveling exhibition.
Jan. 2, 2013
The Center announces that Troy A. Thrash would transition to become President and CEO of the Air Zoo Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Portage, Mich.
Jan. 5, 2013
The Center draws more than 1,000 paid visitors on a single day for the first time in its history as its hosts the Bodies Revealed exhibition and its Ice Cream Wars 5.0 competition.
March 18, 2013
Lin Erickson begins a second tenure as the organization’s Executive Director and CEO. Her husband, Mark Erickson, Ph.D., has transitioned the previous year to become President of Northampton Community College.
June 30, 2013
The Da Vinci Science Center closes its 2013 fiscal year, during which it engaged a record total of more than 125,000 people with its exhibits, events, and programs.
March 22, 2014
The renamed and re-introduced Lehigh Valley Science Festival engages more than 3,400 people as a free event at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pa.
April 4, 2014
David Smith, Ph.D., the Da Vinci Science Center’s Senior Director of Science and Strategic Initiatives becomes one of two recipients of the 2014 National Science Teachers Association’s (NSTA) national Distinguished Informal Educator Award.
May 27, 2014
The Mentor Allentown Coalition – a dynamic partnership of more than 30 companies and organizations formed by the Da Vinci Science Center – receives one of three national grand prizes in 2014 from the US2020 City Competition to lead a national movement to change the way that students are mentored toward careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
June 30, 2014
The Da Vinci Science Center closes its 2014 fiscal year, during which it engaged more than 120,000 people for the second time in its history.
Sept. 5, 2014
The Da Vinci Science Center and Cedar Crest College held the Lehigh Valley region’s first Women in Science Event. The event engaged students with female college students and scientists through activities, workshops, and an evening panel discussion with a national panel of distinguished professionals – including former NASA Astronaut Mary Ellen Weber, Ph.D., from Dallas, Texas.
June 30, 2015
The Da Vinci Science Center closes its 2015 fiscal year, during which it set a new total participation record with nearly 128,000 people.
July 1, 2015
The partnership known as Mentor Allentown Coalition assumes a new name – the STEM Valley Mentoring Coalition – and expands into Bethlehem, Pa., and Easton, Pa.