We Energies Foundation gives $2 million for new Discovery World exhibit

Interactive energy exhibit set to open in October

Discovery Center

Discovery World has received a $2 million gift from the We Energies Foundation to develop a new energy experience exhibition at its museum on the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee.

Discovery Center

The new exhibit, called Power On, is set to open in October and will include multiple interactive exhibits allowing guests to generate energy and explore energy concepts that affect everyday life.

Visitors will be able to reach out and touch lightning, explore how wind turbines work, discover how to meet the energy needs of a city, play with invisible light energy and experiment with gravitational potential energy. A video rendering of the exhibit is available here.

“We are pleased and excited to partner with Discovery World to invite families and students to interact with the vital force that powers their daily lives,” said Beth Straka, vice president of the We Energies Foundation and senior vice president of corporate communications and investor relations at We Energies parent WEC Energy Group. “We’re hoping Power On inspires the next generation of engineers and innovators who will be integral to the success of our industry.”

Discovery World is also developing a new STEM-based, energy-focused educational curriculum with We Energies and other community partners to complement the exhibit.

“The energy experience will allow guests to engage in all kinds of physical activities that are connected to the most important topics and concepts around energy,” said Joel Brennan, president and chief executive officer of Discovery World. “This powerful, often unseen force will become better understood and appreciated through these highly interactive experiences.”

Discovery World is undergoing an $18 million expansion project, which will add nearly 20,000 square feet to the museum. The first phase, expected to be completed this summer, will add a 10,000-square-foot pavilion to take the place of the seasonal tent pitched each spring and summer on the north lawn of the lakefront museum. The second phase of the project involves remodeling major exhibit space and doubling the available exhibit and program space in the Technology Wing. That work is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

The $2 million contribution from We Energies Foundation will contribute to Discovery World’s $18 million fundraising goal for the project.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.