The Discovery Museum and Planetarium is a hands-on science museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that serves as both a tourist destination and an educational resource for area schools. The museum hosts three creative traveling exhibits each year and has permanent space, sound, and electricity galleries. The Discovery Museum was founded in 1958 and opened to the public in 1962. Its mission is to educate, excite, and engage visitors in the exploration of science, technology and ideas through interactive experiences that prompt new insights.
The museum seeks to enhance public understanding of science through its hands-on physical science exhibits, education programs, planetarium presentations, and the Challenger Learning Center. It is southern Connecticut’s preeminent non-profit educational resource for science and space education. Starting in 2005, the museum has held an annual Tech Fest hosted by David Pogue, technology columnist for the New York Times. In 2008, the museum’s staff delivered 2,200 hours of targeted science lessons to school groups during the year providing more than seven hours of instructional time for each weekday that the museum was open.
The Challenger Learning Center is a network of 48 locations across the United States, United Kingdom and Canada with a focus on mathematics and science for grades 5 through 9. At the core of each Learning Center is an interactive computerized simulator with a Mission Control room and an orbiting Space Station. Students are then presented with problems to solve. The Discovery Museum is home to Connecticut's only Challenger Learning Center.