As the largest informal STEAM institution in the Roanoke region, the Science Museum of Western Virginia provides unparalleled experiences that spark curiosity and interest in science and STEAM-based career choices. Exposure to math and science opportunities at an early age is a key ingredient to career interests, confidence, and growth. Over 36,000 students each year are exposed to science and technology concepts through the Science Museum's impactful, STEAM-based programming. This education and programming leads to a science literate workforce that is in high demand now more than ever. Science-oriented careers offer the most opportunity for future employment, social and financial advancement, and for the long-term growth of our region. Long-term studies have demonstrated that if we do not engage children in science-related activities by the 3rd grade, we risk losing their attention forever. It is up to us to put the mechanisms in place that create a love of science, both to promote science literacy and to encourage consideration of STEAM-based careers.
Our mission is to make science and technology accessible to all people by being an outstanding regional institution that ignites and nurtures life-long learning. We fulfill our mission by providing interactive exhibits, offering innovative programs, and creating an atmosphere that stimulates curiosity and wonder. As a museum, we offer many exciting, educational STEAM-based exhibits for visitors during our operational hours. Beyond our museum education, we create and facilitate educational programming that is held both in our museum and in schools across the Roanoke, Virginia region.
With that said, there is no doubt how essential our organization is to the community, beyond even our immediate radius, and how essential our access to many printing options is. Much of our influence stems from our significant programming aimed at providing STEAM education and experiences to K-5 students, but the other percentage of our community impact is the result of our daily museum operations. Newly installed exhibits, such as our Parakeet Garden that features live budgies, draw hundreds of visitors each month. In order to reach as many people within the community as we can, much of our advertising is print and direct mail. Specifically, we share newsletters and yearly membership information to our community via direct mail each day and on a monthly basis. With nearly 300 memberships purchased between 2021 and 2022, a considerable number as we continue to face COVID, printing new member information is a large portion of our printing needs. In addition, our museum prints and distributes museum brochures outlining our organization and in-museum features. Printing pamphlets, brochures, event flyers, and membership information has proven to be invaluable to our organization. Additionally, much of our Department of Education requires quality printing for educational programming materials. While digital distribution is becoming more popular than ever, the value of print and sharing messages and information through direct mail is a truly unmatched resource to the Science Museum of Western Virginia.
Therefore, the Science Museum of Western Virginia currently utilizes print and direct mail to maximize our mission and community outreach. However, we aim to spread our mission and impact by upgrading our print efforts and increasing the information we distribute within our community.
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