The idea of The Science Center (TSC) was imagined by Jolynn Smith and Linda Herold (the founders) in approximately 1992. Both of the founders are retired faculty members of the Med Prep Program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). The founder’s incorporated The Science Center as a private tax exempt 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit as an educational hands on science center in 1994. The founders are still associated with TSC as committee chairs for The Science Café yearly lecture series.
TSC first opened its doors in 1994 on E. College St. in the basement of a city owned vacant dormitory once operated by SIUC. In or around 1996, TSC moved from the old E. College St. location to the University Mall (UM). At the UM, TSC moved at least 4 times to various store fronts. TSC remained at the UM until early 2005, when TSC moved to a location on South Old Rt. 51 next to Arnold’s Market. This location was not viable and only lasted until November 2007.
After closing/moving for 2 months, TSC reopened its doors, again at the UM, in January 2008. This location was directly across from the food court and helped TSC rebuild from its time on Old Rt. 51. Again and hopefully for the last time in November 2012, TSC moved to its semi-permanent location directly across from Macy’s in the old Ney York & Company store front. The new location more than doubled the sq. ft. exhibit space with over 12,000 sq. ft.
At the present location TSC boasts over 65 hands-on science exhibits and now produces all exhibits and sculpture in house. In 2016, out of hundreds of applications, TSC was 1 of 6 museums chosen by The Smithsonian to curate and display Water/Ways, a water inspired traveling exhibit hosted by Museums on Main Street.
TSC sees approximately 70,000 visitors every year and features FREE Day! on Thursdays where which features free admission to all members of the community. We are honored that we are able to give back to the Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky and Southeast Missouri area.
TSC is governed by a 15 member board of directors, has 4 full time employees, 2 part-time employees, and over 15 volunteers