SCI Initiatives

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  • Mental Health Matters

    One in five adults (600,000 Iowans) live with mental illness. Whether it’s a friend, family member, coworker, classmate – or yourself – mental illness affects us all.

    Yet, the stigma around it persists.

    At SCI, we bring learning to life, helping hundreds of thousands of Iowans better understand the world around them. Mental health is a critical topic, and through science, we can understand it better. When we approach mental health, we have the opportunity to talk about multidisciplinary fields of science, like psychology, physiology, chemistry and more.

    With support from HealthPartners UnityPoint Health and numerous other community sponsors and partners, we are continuing the conversation with Mental Health: Mind Matters. This groundbreaking exhibit gives our community the chance not only to talk about mental illness, but also to understand what 600,000 Iowans live with every day. It helps all of us empathize with one another and better understand what mental illness is.

    We encourage you to experience Mind Matters for yourself. Listen to audio recordings that simulate the experience of schizophrenia. Learn about people who battle mental health every day, overcoming stigma and limitations. Discover techniques to express your emotions and strengthen your own mental health. Build emotional resilience and physically shred your worries and fears.

    Mental Health: Mind Matters is at SCI through April 28, and it is included with admission. In addition, numerous community conversations are planned to shine a light on the spectrum of mental health – from early childhood to aging populations.

    Mental health matters to us as a cultural institution in Des Moines, as individuals within Iowa, and it matters to us, personally, as human beings. We’re working to break down the stigma and #MakeItOK. Please join us.

  • Building our Future Brick by Brick

    Pairing 10 spectaular LEGO®-built artictectural structures with immersive hands-on building challenges, our new permanent exhibit, Brick by Brick, showcases how architects and engineers push the limits of design to make the seemingly impossible possible. 

    It is obvious when you walk into the exhibit that we are doing things a little differently. Engaging visitors, adults and children alike, with real-life problem solving and unconventional building challenges, Brick by Brick is a representation of a larger strategy SCI is taking to engage visitors and help make the connection between the inspiring exhibits at SCI and the real world. 

    No pun intended, we are building on the foundation of our mission. If you ever need to take a break and feel inspired, all you have to do is walk through Brick by Brick to see excited kids and adults learning about the design process: designing structures and adapting when they fail. The laughter and energy that radiates reaches almost everywhere in the building! Adults pulling themselves up on the pulleys, children frantically building their structures before the clock goes off on the shaker table, families talking over the enormous Golden Gate Bridge structure, pointing to various facets of the design... You can see the wheels working as children grasp concepts architecture, design and engineering.

    That is the future of Brick by Brick, the future of SCI. We are growing physically, and we are taking a leading role in growing the next generation of STEM professionals. We know it only takes one experience to inspire someone and give them the idea, the hope that they could be the next Frank Lloyd Wright, the next person to help design the greatest architectural feat. We are so grateful to help bridge that gap between inspiration and engagement. 

    We are grateful for opportunities to expand our work and our impact beyond our building, to change the way we impact our visitors and to help make connections to everyday life. Every day, we celebrate the power of science, the opportunities inherent in failure and what we are able to learn from our visitors who challenge us to grow, expand and innovate.

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