EcoTarium Announces $9.1 Million Capital Campaign | EcoTarium

EcoTarium Announces $9.1 Million Capital Campaign

Release Date: 
Wednesday, June 22, 2016


  • Part of a strategic plan to reinvigorate the museum’s campus, visitor experience, and impact as it approaches the start of its third century
  • Campaign provides for 2 new major exhibits, and improvements in infrastructure and amenities
  • $7.2 million has been raised to date, $1.9 million remaining

WORCESTER, MASS. – The EcoTarium has announced the public phase of a capital campaign aimed at strengthening the museum’s indoor and outdoor exhibits, programming and infrastructure. The announcement was made by EcoTarium President Joseph P. Cox at the museum’s Annual Meeting on June 21, 2016.

The campaign is part of the Third Century Plan, a larger strategic effort to reinvigorate the EcoTarium’s campus, visitor experience, and community impact as it approaches its 200th birthday in 2025. These efforts will allow the EcoTarium to advance its mission and provide innovative informal learning opportunities well into the future.

To date, the EcoTarium has secured $7.2 million in support from private, foundation and corporate donations, and pledges during the quiet phase of the campaign, including a $2 million lead gift from the Myles & C. Jean McDonough Foundation. The goal is to raise the remaining $1.9 million from the community to complete the major components of the Third Century Plan.

The Capital Campaign funds four major priorities that implement the museum’s Exhibit Master Plan, unifying and transforming the 55-acre campus to enhance visitor experiences and educational programming, along with making key infrastructure upgrades. It also reflects the museum’s Strategic Plan which calls for expanding audiences by offering substantive, memorable and accessible experiences; extending the museum’s impact on the local, regional and national levels through strong collaboration; strengthening the institution, and its community and economic impact; and developing a campus infrastructure that enables responsiveness to current and future needs.

Major components of the EcoTarium’s campaign include:

  • City Science - Funded in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF), this dramatic 2,500-square-foot exhibit on the museum’s middle level will immerse visitors in the science of the modern city — an environment not often considered in science and natural history museums. In this first-of-its-kind exhibit, visitors will engage in a comprehensive investigation of urban science, from city animals and neighborhoods to engineering infrastructure to larger questions of how we design cities and how they impact our lives.
  • Wild Cat Station - Transforms a large parcel of land which includes the museum’s former polar bear exhibit into a spectacular outdoor exhibit, home to mountain lions and other native New England species. While creating a memorable and intimate exhibit experience, Wild Cat Station also enhances wildlife care facilities, adds visitor amenities, and makes the museum’s outdoor experience more accessible to those with restricted mobility.
  • Powering the Future - Allows the EcoTarium to decommission its aged co-generation power plant and establish a modern, energy-efficient mechanical plant that connects to the electrical grid. This allows the museum to sustainably and efficiently power its current operations and provide for future expansion.
  • Explorer Express Train - Refurbishment and enhancement for the iconic narrow-gauge railroad that has delighted generations of museum visitors. A new train stop will be added at Wild Cat Station, and new rails have already been installed over this train ride’s 1-1/2 mile journey around the EcoTarium campus.

“Since our founding in 1825, the EcoTarium has inspired a passion for science and nature in countless visitors,” said Cox. “The success of the Third Century Plan campaign will allow us to achieve the goals laid out in our Strategic Plan and ensure that the EcoTarium is a vital part of our community for generations to come. It is also an opportunity to implement our vision of becoming a national leader in engaging communities with science and nature. With the generous investment, partnership and commitment of our supporters, members, visitors, and community, we are well on our way to achieving this.”

A longtime leader in science learning within the New England region, the EcoTarium has expanded its reach through a number of national-level partnerships, including becoming New England’s first National Geographic Museum Partner and exhibit collaborations with the National Science Foundation. The current fundraising effort builds upon a successful capital campaign that concluded in 2012, which raised $8.2 million towards a slate of Third Century Plan priorities, including The Arctic Next Door: Mount Washington exhibit.

The Campaign is led by EcoTarium Trustees Patricia Z. Eppinger and Susan M. Foley; and Steering Committee members: Chairman of the Board of Trustees Raymond L. Quinlan; Trustee Patricia S. Lotuff; Honorary Trustee Irwin H. Miller, and former Trustee Diane H. Robbins. Honorary Campaign Chairs are longtime EcoTarium supporters Stephen B. Loring and C. Jean McDonough.


Charlene L. Leith-Bushey
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Office: 508.929.2738