1964-2014: SciWorks Celebrates 50 Years at Festive Family Friday on December 14

By Leigh Ann McDonald Woodruff

56ff-sciworks-nsc-plans-SFWIn 1962, four women, on behalf of the Junior League of Winston-Salem, introduced a new idea for a nature sciences center that would become a permanent part of the educational and recreational landscape for Winston-Salem.

By January 1964, the decision was made to locate the center in the barn at Reynolda Estate, which was graciously made available by the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation. Through the cooperation of Wake Forest College, the 100 acres surrounding the building were also made available for outdoor study and conservation. Plans for the center included educational programs in the natural and physical sciences, displays, dramas, field trips, nature walks and a small planetarium in the barn’s silo. At that time, Mrs. Robert Cordell was president of the Junior League, and Mrs. Matt Long was chair of the Project Findings Committee.

56ff-sciworks-silo-photo-SFWOn December 12th, 1964, the Nature Science Center—today’s SciWorks—officially opened its doors, allowing generations of Piedmont Triad residents and visitors to experience the spark of scientific inquiry through informal, hands-on, experiential learning.

“Fifty years ago, with much foresight, the Junior League of Winston-Salem had already recognized that this was the city of innovation and made a gift of a science center to inspire the community,” Paul Kortenaar, Ph.D. “It’s exciting to be part of that tradition and to transform SciWorks into the place where innovation begins for future generations in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County.”

The science center was co-sponsored by the Recreation Department of the City of Winston-Salem, the Winston-Salem Foundation, the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, and the Junior League of Winston-Salem. During October of the following year, there was a formal ribbon-cutting and dedication. Over the years, the center moved to its present location on Hanes Mill Road, changed its name to SciWorks, expanded the exhibits and revised the mission to reflect its responsiveness to the changing needs of the community.

SciWorks invites you to help celebrate its 50th Anniversary from 4 to 8:30 p.m. on December 12th, 2014, at Festive Family Friday. Admission is $1 per person (free for Members), and there will be live holiday music, holiday crafts, Christmas planetarium laser shows and special guests…including Santa himself!

During Festive Family Friday, SciWorks is offering a BOGO—Buy One, Give One—special on memberships. You can buy or renew a membership and purchase a second membership for 50 percent off to give as a gift or donate to a family in need. SciWorks is partnering with the Augustine Literacy Project to identify families of children who could benefit from these membership donations that allow children to improve their scientific literacy through informal, hands-on exploration in the science center.

As SciWorks celebrates its 50th anniversary, the science center is undergoing a transformation to better fulfill its mission of inspiring creative scientific learning for the Winston-Salem community and beyond. “The stage is set for SciWorks to preserve its past while moving into the future,” Dr. Kortenaar says. “We want to maintain tradition and create a center that provides every child in Winston-Salem with the opportunity to genuinely engage in individual science exploration and experimentation—to truly be the place ‘Where Innovation Begins.’”

The First Nature Science Center Board of Trustees in 1964
Mr. P. Frank Hanes
Mr. G. Kempton, Sr.
Mr. James Norman
Dr. Walter Flory
Mr. Douglas Carter
Mr. Joe White
Mrs. Joyce Sutton
Mrs. Ted Blount
Mr. Gardner Gidley
Dr. Frank Albright
Dr. Alphonso Vick
Mr. M.C. Benton
Mr. Carl R. Martin
Mr. Irving Carlyle
Dr. Rachel Meschan
Mr. Tully Blair
Mrs. Ray Reed
Dr. Lillian Lewis.

Junior League Representatives
Mrs. Glenn Sawyer
Mrs. Robert Sartin
Mrs. Matt Long

Executive Directors of the Nature Science Center/SciWorks
Myron Vourax (1964-71)
Lee C. Finneran (1971-78)
Robert W. Wolk, Ph.D. (1971-81)
Robert D. Richardson (Interim) (1981-83)
David D. Bonney, II (1983-91)
Robert O. Russ (Interim) (January-June, 1991)
Chris J. Pendleton (1991-95)
William F. Hohman (Interim) (July-December, 1995)
Beverly S. Sanford, Ph.D. (1996-2012)
Paul Kortenaar, Ph.D. (2013-Present)

President/Chairs of the Board of Directors of the Nature Science Center/SciWorks
Mrs. Matt Long, Jr. (1964-65)
Mrs. A. Robert Cordell (1965-67)
Mrs. A. Lincoln Sherk (1967-68)
Mr. Gardener Gidley (1968-89)
Mrs. William O. Spencer, III (1969-70)
Mrs. A. Robert Cordell (1970-71)
Mrs. Robert Sartin (1971-72)
Mr. C. Royce Hough (1972-73)
Mr. Eldridge C. Hanes (1973-74)
Mrs. W.T. Wilson (1974-75)
Mr. William A. Davis, II (1975-76)
Mrs. Louise Womble (1976-77)
Mr. David Irvin (1977-79)
Mr. F. Borden Hanes, Jr. (1979-80)
Mr. William E. Hollan (1980-81)
Mr. Jerry Shiffert (1981-82)
Mr. David Butler (1982-83)
Mr. Walter W. Pitt, Jr. (1983-85)
Mr. Emmett McCall (1985-86)
Mr. G.W. Holden (1986-87)
Mr. Paul Wold (1987-88)
Mr. James W. Douglas (1988-89)
Mr. Walter W. Pitt (1989-92)
Mr. Patrick J. Considine (1992-93)
Mr. David Irvin (1993-95)
Mr. F. Borden Hanes, Jr. (1995-97)
Mrs. Anne Owen Armfield (1997-99)
Mr. Victor F. Harllee, Jr. (1999-01)
Mr. Randy Britton (2001-02)
Mr. Victor F. Harllee, Jr. (2002-03)
Mr. Stephen D. Poe (2003-05)
Mr. Mark Leach (2005-07)
Mr. Michael P. Gwyn (2007-08)
Mr. Jimmy Flythe (2008-10)
Mr. Chuck Greene (2010-11)
Dr. Anne Lambros (2011-11)
Mr. Michael Myers (2011-Present)

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