The mission of the RMSC is to inspire a better future for all through curiosity, exploration, and participation in science, culture and the natural world.


The RMSC is an extraordinary place where students, families, and learners of all ages can gather to explore the wonders of our world and beyond. It is a place where curiosity is encouraged, where guests can learn the stories of our past, and find inspiration for our future. At the RMSC, discovery has no limits. Whether you are tapping maple trees for sap at the Cumming Nature Center, gazing at the stars from a reclining chair in the Strasenburgh Planetarium, or exploring the iconic dioramas and interactive exhibits that bring our shared history, natural history and culture to life, there is something inspiring for everyone at the RMSC.

Our region is experiencing remarkable economic and cultural changes, and the RMSC’s role in inspiring imagination and innovation, a love of learning, and a shared sense of community is more essential than ever before. We are honored to support the transformation of the RMSC into an inclusive 21st-century community gathering space with updated content, new exhibits, updated infrastructure, increased hands-on experiences, and new resources for today’s learners of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. Museums are an essential part of a thriving community and these upgrades and renovations will ensure that the RMSC continues its long history as one of the community’s premier cultural institutions. As the Rochester community reinvents itself, the RMSC will be a powerful force for creating new economic opportunities and cultural understanding.

Please join us in supporting this vital transformation that is sure to have a positive and lasting impact for many generations to come.



Inside the walls of the RMSC, under the dome of the Strasenburgh Planetarium, and among the majestic red pines at the Cumming Nature Center (CNC), you’ll find boundless opportunities for inspiration and discovery. As Rochester’s hub for lifelong learning, the RMSC enables visitors to experience the thrill of adventure and innovation while inspiring a better future for all through curiosity, exploration, and participation in science, culture, and the natural world.

The RMSC exists to ensure that people of all ages and abilities from across the region may come together to nurture curiosity, enhance knowledge, and spark imagination through creative, hands-on exploration.

A transformational investment in our future is needed to enable people of all backgrounds and abilities to achieve their highest potential; to ensure today’s youth become tomorrow’s leaders; and to further connect our rich past to a promising and innovative future.

The RMSC Campaign for Innovation is a $10 million capital campaign that will generate new, exciting, and innovative spaces at the RMSC Museum and Science Center, the Strasenburgh Planetarium, and the Cumming Nature Center, featuring updated content, improved infrastructure, and increased interactive learning experiences. With funds in support of the following priority areas, you can help enhance the experience of learning and discovery for our community.

For more information, please contact: Vice President for Institutional Advancement at 585.697.1936


New and Enhanced Exhibitions

New exhibits, both in the Museum and Planetarium, will draw from our region’s rich scientific and cultural past and innovative present to encourage social interaction, hands-on scientific and cultural inquiry, and playful exploration while studying the technology of the future.

The ever-popular AdventureZone exhibit gallery, located on the Museum’s first floor, will be reimagined and blend full-body kinesthetic experiences with hands-on, object-based interactive exploration of the local watershed, inspiring and empowering visitors to apply their passion and knowledge to critical issues including water pollution, environmental sustainability, and climate resilience. Guests of all ages will discover the waters of our region as a source of life and as an extraordinary natural force that powered the growth of the City of Rochester. A new, custom designed climbing structure will simulate an underwater experience for visitors as they explore the depths of Lake Ontario while discovering natural and cultural objects from the RMSC collection that tell the story of the region’s past, present, and possible futures.

Educational Infrastructure

The RMSC will transform our ability to serve as a distinct educational resource for schools, supporting curriculum and inspiring students’ curiosity by transforming three classrooms into dynamic science laboratories, renovated and outfitted with 21st century technology. Learners of all ages will conduct experiments in three technologically robust environments – a Physical Science Lab, a Life Science Lab, and a Technology Lab. Increasing educational accessibility and the sophistication of programming will allow for a deeper exploration of STEM concepts and fields.


Renovation and Reimagining
the Strasenburgh Planetarium

With Phase 1 of renovations complete, the RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium is once again at the forefront of innovation. A powerful instrument for scientific and artistic exploration, the Star Theater wows visitors with a state-of-the-art full-dome digital projection system featuring special hemispherical lenses made by Rochester-based optics manufacturer Navitar, Inc. This reimagination includes upgraded interiors, greater accessibility, flexible seating, colorful and programmable LED lighting, and an upgraded sound system. A beautifully renovated lobby and service area allow for unforgettable events and celebrations.

In Phase 2 of the Strasenburgh Planetarium renovation, visitors will be met with three new interactive exhibits. In the lobby, guests will marvel in awe at the optical system of Gambit-1 (KH-7), a previously classified spy satellite designed and manufactured in Rochester in the 1960s. Visitors will explore the optical components of this complex system through interactive digital exhibit enhancements. Rochester’s Eyes in Space will feature hands-on experiences inviting visitors to discover the intersections between the space sciences and Rochester’s technological past, present, and future. Through indigenous art, technology, and storytelling, Same Sky, Varied Views will present a multicultural approach to the night sky we see and the celestial changes we observe. Designed in collaboration with communities of origin, a series of vignettes will demonstrate the ancient, modern, and universal endeavor of skygazing through unique cultural perspectives.

Cumming Nature Center
and Treehouse Village

The RMSC Campaign for Innovation creates an iconic opportunity for visitors of all ages and abilities to connect with the natural world through the creation of a new Treehouse Village at the Cumming Nature Center. The village, connected with paths, nodes, nets, and pods, will have a whimsical magnetism that pulls visitors from one adventurous experience to another, bringing them further into nature as they go. The CNC Treehouse Village will instill a sense of wonder for the natural world, strengthen gross motor skills through climbing, jumping, and running, and connect people with nature in a welcoming and fun way. To greatly improve accessibility for all to the unique offerings at the CNC, much needed capital improvements will take place. The installation of an ADA-compliant elevator and a groundwater remediation project will increase safety for our guests, staff, and collections, ensuring the facility remains in great condition for years to come.

See recent article from WXXI here.


Rochester cannot be an incredible Science City
without having an incredible Science Center.

In a city that is constantly growing – technologically, economically, culturally, socially, and environmentally – the RMSC remains a vital resource for framing topics for public understanding. The RMSC serves as a civic gathering space for learners of all backgrounds, abilities, and walks of life. It provides programs, exhibits, experiences, and events that catalyze public attention and participation. The RMSC Campaign for Innovation will have a resounding impact on our community. It will ensure that the RMSC remains a place where the community can convene, discover, learn, and grow for many generations to come.

Generosity supports curiosity

The RMSC is fortunate to have an incredibly dedicated Board of Trustees representing a broad range of professional expertise and personal experience.
The RMSC Campaign for Innovation has secured 100% participation from the RMSC Board of Trustees, who have contributed more than $2 million to date.

let us show you how innovative Generosity

supports curiosity for future generations.

Explore how you can help.

wonders of water

Wonders of Water will feature content-driven, place-based, topical, and accessible learning experiences where science, culture, and the natural world intersect.

strasenburgh planetarium

As visitors enter the renovated Star Theater, they discovered new carpeting, wall coverings,
wider aisles, and a flexible seating plan that allows the space to be used for diverse events and programs.

cumming nature center

Soon to be nestled on the edge of Cumming Nature Center’s iconic red pine forest,
the new Treehouse Village will serve as a destination experience like no other for
guests of all ages and abilities.

life science lab

The Life Science Lab will provide unique scientific experiences through hands-on and inquiry driven program experiences across many areas of the life sciences including biology, genetics, biotechnology, neurology, botany, zoology, medicine, and health.

physical science lab

The Physical Science Lab will focus on inquiry-driven programs across many areas of the physical sciences including Earth science, astronomy, physics, chemistry, and material sciences.

technology lab

The Technology Lab will provide an environment where participants can develop the four skills at the core of living and working in a 21st century global society: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creative skills.

campaign for innovation invitational

December 1, 2022