Mission & History

The Science Center of Iowa engages and inspires Iowans along their journey of lifelong science learning.

SCI History

The pioneering Des Moines Center of Science and Industry opened its doors in October 1970 in Greenwood-Ashworth Park. What started as a Junior League of Des Moines project became one of the first interactive science centers in the world, rising to the forefront of a new wave of learning centers featuring hands-on programs and exhibits.

Over the years, the center gained prominence as its audience expanded and the name was changed to the Science Center of Iowa (SCI) in 1986 to better reflect its statewide reach. From space science to dinosaurs, SCI was inspiring generations of future scientists and inventors.

In the year 2000, SCI recognized a need to expand in order to meet the changing needs of its Iowa community, and planning began for a new downtown facility. This creative learning center opened its doors in Downtown Des Moines in May 2005 with an innovative, dynamic and changing environment that adapts its experience platforms, theaters and programming to serve future generations. By 2010, the Science Center of Iowa had served more than two million participants in the new informal learning center with engaging educational programs, exhibits and films.

Mission & Goals

The Science Center of Iowa engages and inspires Iowans along their journey of lifelong science learning.

Our goal is to be a quality community resource for informal science learning where children, families, school groups and individuals come to explore science and technology. As a fully accredited museum, SCI has reached the highest level of national recognition.

SCI programming reaches every county in the state of Iowa, promotes cultural awareness and provides unique experiences to Iowans. The broad range of available opportunities speaks to the many roles SCI plays for the community, for both education and fun, and is the foundation upon which SCI has built a successful organization.

SCI's hands-on exhibits, special-format theaters and other unique facilities attract Iowans and distant visitors. SCI also supports the larger interests of the Des Moines metro area by being a significant place for community gatherings and maintaining collaborative partnerships with neighborhoods, cultural groups, Iowa businesses, the educational system, sponsoring investors and others who share the mission of developing skills and encouraging cultural exchange.