A component fund of the Upper Valley Region of New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

The Montshire Museum of Science

From its beginnings in a bowling alley to its current status as one of the best science museums in the country, the Montshire Museum has nurtured an interest in the natural and physical world for nearly a million visitors and schoolchildren in New Hampshire and Vermont.


After Dartmouth College’s natural history museum closed in the early 1970s, a group of area educators persuaded the college to donate specimens and other resources in support of a new community science center. The organization was incorporated in 1974, taking its name from the last syllables of the two states whose communities it would serve: VerMONT and New HampSHIRE.

The Montshire Museum’s first home was a former bowling alley. The “new” Montshire opened 15 years later, and has continued to add to its facilities, including the outdoor and water exhibits in Science Park in 2002, and the Hughes Pavilion in 2010.

The Montshire is now one of the busiest museums in northern New England, typically attracting more than 150,000 visitors annually. The Museum’s school programs also reach more than 20,000 schoolchildren in New Hampshire and Vermont.

Partnerships and Collaborations

The Museum has been the recipient of numerous grants from NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other science and education foundations. In recent years, the Museum has partnered with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Vermont Center for Ecostudies and with ILEAD (Institute for Lifelong Learning at Dartmouth). The college and the museum have also created the Dartmouth-Montshire Institute for Science Education.

Montshire Museum’s mission is to awaken and encourage a lifelong interest in science through exhibits and programming dedicated to hands-on discovery and education for people of all ages. Unique to this mission is Montshire’s 100-acre New England riverfront setting, which fosters deep and creative learning in both the physical and natural sciences.

Grants Awarded: 

2007 - Funds to explore the role of "tweens" (ages 8-12) as Montshire visitors,with the longterm goal of attracting more tweens as visitors, and helping to engage this age group in science education

2008 -  Support for a strategic planning process with trustees and staff.

2006 - The Children’s Fund contributions support the Montshire Museum of Science in sharing the joy of learning and discovery with low-income families in Vermont and New Hampshire.The Montshire is a hands-on museum offering dozens of exciting exhibits about the natural and physical sciences, ecology, and technology. It is located on a 110-acre site near the Connecticut River, making the Museum’s outdoor environment a large part of the visitor experience. The Montshire is dedicated to serving families of all income levels, and each year partners with 200 local human service agencies to distribute thousands of free admission passes.

Grant Year(s): 

2016 Children's Fund Grantees