Located in Manchester, New Hampshire, the SEE Science Center is an interactive educational center offering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics exhibits and activities for children and families. The history of the SEE Science Center dates back to 1984, with grant funding allocated to Southern New Hampshire Services for the purposes of creating a science center facility for the promotion of STEM education to Manchester’s children.
A location within the city’s Millyard area was chosen, and after two years of exhibit planning and construction, the museum was opened to the public in 1986. A mobile outreach program, SEEmobile, was also established that year for the purposes of bringing exhibits to area schools and youth organizations. Additional exhibits were added to the facility throughout the 1990s, including traveling exhibits for the purposes of touring museum collections throughout New Hampshire, and in 1998, the museum moved to a larger facility within Manchester’s downtown area. In 2011, the museum became an independent nonprofit organization, offering expanded exhibit space and programming.
Permanent Exhibits and Attractions
Today, the SEE Science Center is a member organization of the Association of Science and Technology Centers, the New England Museum Association, and the American Association of Museums. In 2015, the museum was voted as the Best Place to Take Your Kids in Manchester by the readers of Hippo magazine. The museum welcomes more than 150,000 annual visitors and is open seven days a week, with the exception of major national holidays and an annual renovation period in early September.
A variety of interactive exhibits are offered at the museum, focusing on introducing STEM principles to young visitors. The museum’s popular Moonwalk exhibit allows children to experience a simulation of the moon’s low gravity through the use of safe jumping harnesses. A companion game to the Moonwalk exhibit, called Gravity Expedition, is offered on the museum’s website. The LEGO Millyard Project exhibit, added to the museum in 2006, is the world’s largest permanent minifigure installation, depicting the turn-of-the-century appearance of Manchester’s Amoskeag Millyard, the former location of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. The exhibit is constructed at a scale of 55 to one, using over three million LEGO bricks, nearly as many as the original bricks used for the construction of the Jefferson Mill in 1886. 8,000 minifigures also depict the millyard’s workers in scenes from daily work life. The exhibit was awarded with an Historic Preservation Award from the Manchester Historic Association in 2006.
Other museum exhibits focus on physics, astronomy, light and sound, and electricity principles, including a whisper-sending machine, a chair pulley system, and a functioning periscope. A gift shop at the museum offers educational gifts, apparel, and science-themed souvenirs for visitors of all ages, and an online museum store sells custom educational books written by the Center, as well as museum gift certificates and annual memberships. Snacks and beverages are provided at concession stands throughout the museum, and outside food is permitted on the premises.
Ongoing Programs and Education
Live science demonstrations are presented daily throughout the museum, focusing on a variety of STEM topics. Guided and self-guided tour programming is available for elementary school groups and youth organizations with 15 or more participants, with all tour content incorporating New Hampshire curriculum requirements and able to be tailored for the specific age levels and needs of each tour group. All tour groups are offered free exploration time in addition to supervised use of larger exhibits, including Moonwalk and the Van de Graaf Static Electricity Generator. Lab programming is available for elementary and middle school students, with all activities supervised by SEE staff members. Lab programming topics include Slimy Science and Chemical Reactions. Outreach programming is also available, bringing the Center’s SEEmobile directly into New Hampshire area classrooms for hourlong presentations on topics such as optical illusions, polymers, and recycling.
Annual weeklong summer science camps are available for students ages 8-14, offering hands-on activities related to creative play and scientific innovation. Mini-course programming is available throughout the year, offering activities for homeschool students. A Technology Academy program is offered in February, emphasizing technology design principles for middle school students, and Summer Math Activities events provide hands-on learning experiences for families. Events for adult visitors include a Science on Tap series, which bring scientific experts to the museum for lectures and offer beverages from local breweries. The museum may also be rented for private birthday party packages, allowing access to a party room for two hours, exploration of the museum’s exhibits, and astronaut ice cream and a gift certificate to the museum’s gift shop for all party attendees.
200 Bedford St, Manchester, NH 03101, Phone: 603-669-0400