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Sandia donates $25,000 to Valley Children's Museum

Funds to help update exhibit space, STEM-themed curriculum

Sandia National Laboratories has donated $25,000 to the Valley Children's Museum in Dublin, a grant made possible through Sandia's gifts and grants program.

The grant will be used to update the museum's exhibit space and curriculum with engineering-themed activities, according to Michael J. Padilla, spokesman for Livermore's Sandia National Laboratories site.

"Sandia is honored to be a partner in bringing the world of engineering to San Francisco Bay Area youth and adults," said Madeline Burchard, community relations officer for Sandia's Livermore site. "We believe science and engineering is fun and we are excited to inspire children to believe so too. This grant is one of many ways Sandia is supporting our local communities."

Burchard was on-hand to present the check to Valley Children's Museum board members Rick Beaumont, Ed Duarte and Loren Behr.

The museum aims to inspire lifelong learning in children and families through activities and exhibits that feel like play. The museum, known among Bay Area families for its California mission exhibits, is currently based out of a "mobile museum" trailer housed at Emerald Glen Park in Dublin but museum organizers are trying to secure a permanent location in Dublin.

The history of Spanish missions is a part of the fourth-grade curriculum in California elementary schools. With the support of Sandia, engineering-themed activities and curriculum will be added, Padilla said.

"In addition to financial support, the museum will benefit from Sandia's greatest resource -- its people," Padilla added. "Scientists and engineers from Sandia are invited to join the museum's advisory committee to assist with the museum's exhibit makeover."

Rachel Wallace, an executive strategy specialist at Sandia, serves on the museum's board of directors and said she looks forward to helping guide the direction and implementation of a children's museum in the Tri-Valley area.

"Sandia's grant to the museum to upgrade their current mobile museum experience is immensely impactful," Wallace said. "Valley Children's Museum will be able to completely update the current exhibits, with a new focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics."

Wallace said the creation of fun, play-based engineering exhibits and activities in the museum will allow children to engage with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects in an approachable and interactive way, opening a world of scientific and engineering discovery they might not have access to in their daily life.

"This access to STEM is such a tremendous benefit to everyone in our region," Wallace said. "I hope this will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers in our community to change the world."

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