Releases | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Expands its Educational and Space Science Programming through a $300,000 Grant from Meta

January 20th, 2023

Albuquerque, NM – A new, five-year partnership between the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (NMMNHS) and Meta will substantially expand the Museum’s educational footprint in Valencia County and also support the Museum’s Space Science programming.  

Meta is donating $300,000 to the NMMNH Foundation, which will support five years of educational classroom visits for every 5th grade classroom in Valencia County and annual sponsored attendance for Valencia County residents. Additionally, the grant will fund new physical and virtual space science programming and planetarium shows for all visitors to enjoy.  

“One of the strengths of our museum is its educational programming, and we’re thrilled that this partnership makes these programs more accessible to Valencia County students and families,” said NMMNHS Executive Director Dr. Anthony Fiorillo. “We’re very grateful to our partners at Meta for their generous support.” 

“Valencia County has been our home since 2016, when we broke ground on our Los Lunas Data Center, and we are invested in the community and helping to provide educational opportunities for students,” said David Williams, community development manager at Meta. “The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science has been a wonderful partner over the years, and we are pleased to continue our support of its vital educational programming and sponsored attendance for Valencia County residents, as well as some out-of-this-world exhibits and planetarium shows!”  

The Space Science Support Program connects Valencia County students, teachers, libraries, and residents to New Mexico space science opportunities. Through this program, approximately 53 Valencia County teachers and their classes will visit NMMNHS for an educational experience each year, which includes a planetarium show, hands-on activities in the Museum’s Space Science galleries, and a visit to a new virtual reality station in the Museum’s education wing. Pre- and post-visit materials will also be shared with educators and Valencia County libraries.  

To celebrate Meta’s commitment to Valencia County, Museum attendance and planetarium shows will be sponsored for all Valencia County residents throughout the month of February.  

Additionally, the funding will support improvements to the Museum’s Space Science offerings over the next several years. The expansion is designed to better accommodate future exhibitions, and a new interpretation strategy will highlight astronomical discoveries that connect to New Mexico institutions and research. The NMMNHS Planetarium will be rebranded to highlight the partnership with Meta for the duration of the agreement. The Museum also plans to purchase at least one new planetarium show each year, ensuring that there’s always a new way for visitors to explore the cosmos. 

About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Trustees of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation, through the generous support of donors. Established in 1986, the mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is to preserve and interpret the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The NMMNHS offers exhibitions, programs, and workshops in Geoscience, including Paleontology and Mineralogy, Bioscience, and Space Science. It is the Southwest’s largest repository for fossils and includes a Planetarium and the large format 3D Verus Research DynaTheater. 

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