A new science museum in Johnson City is poised to engage the next generation of problem solvers. The nonprofit Hill Country Science Mill (HCSM) opens Valentine’s Day, with a special “Fall in Love with Science” grand opening celebration. With a focus on middle school and high school students, but with something for ALL ages to enjoy, the Science Mill is a unique place for interactive learning and creative thinking.
Housed in an historic 1880s grist mill and cotton gin in downtown Johnson City, the museum retains the historic relevance of the original mill while creating a new home for science discovery and inquiry. The 14,000-square-foot space features 35+ interactive and educational exhibits sourced globally, many of which unique to the HCSM.
Bonnie Baskin, PhD, the museums’s founder and chair of the board, had the vision for the Science Mill after moving to Johnson City several years ago. “I would drive by the mill all the time. It was derelict and falling apart; in fact, it looked like a crazy science experiment itself,” she says. “When I heard it was for sale, the idea sparked.”
Baskin and her team have spent the past two and a half years renovating the site, sourcing interactive, engaging exhibits and designing a place where kids can learn about science and career opportunities through hands-on involvement. “Many kids have no idea what kinds of opportunities exist for them in science and technology. Our aim is to inspire a large and diverse work force for the future,” says Baskin.
For its grand opening on Saturday, February 14, the Science Mill has planned fun activities and demonstrations throughout the day (in addition to all of its regular exhibits), including rocket launches by SystemsGo; science demonstrations by Dr. Kold and Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve; face painting by Sunshine the Mad Scientist; a robot drawing machine; and special maker activities. A 3D film on great white sharks will show every hour, and a special performance by Bobby Flores and the Yellow Rose Band, also featuring Rebecca Henricks, will cap off the celebration from 4-6 pm. Proceeds from the Grand Opening will benefit the Science Mill’s Scholarship Program, which will help defray the admission and transportation costs for field trips and enrollment in science programs and camps for qualified students.
What: Hill Country Science Mill Opening Weekend
Where: 101 South Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City, TX 78636.
When: Saturday, February 14, 10am-6pm; Sunday, February 15, 12-4pm; and Monday, February 16 (President’s Day), 10am-4pm. Regular museum hours are Wed.-Sat., 10am-4pm and Sunday, 12-4pm.
Cost: Admission is free for children under 2, $6.50 for ages 2-18 and students, $8.00 for adults, $6.00 for seniors (65+) and military.
For more information, please visit www.sciencemill.org, on Twitter @ScienceMill, on Instagram @HillCountryScienceMill.
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