About spectrUM

Three photos of people exploring at spectrUM Discovery Area

spectrUM Discovery Area is Missoula's hands-on science center dedicated to inspiring a culture of learning and discovery for all. 

Founded in 2007, the spectrUM Discovery Area engages students across Montana in hands-on science education featuring inspirational role models. As part of the Broader Impacts Group at the University of Montana, spectrUM connects Montana's next generation to opportunities in STEM and higher education.

We provide robust science educational programming in our Missoula-based museum, now located at the new award-winning Missoula Public Library, as well as programming  beyond our museum walls and in collaboration with many community partners.

How we achieve impact beyond our museum walls

  • We travel to the rural Bitterroot Valley weekly to embed making and tinkering into an array of in- and out-of-school settings, all year round, in collaboration with our Bitterroot STEAM Advisory Group.
  • Our award winning statewide mobile science program travels to rural and tribal communities so that everyone can have a "science museum" experience.
  • Our education team provide regular programming around the state for children and community members experiencing food insecurity.
  • We engage with our SciNation on the Flathead Reservation community advisory group to bring educational programming to youth on the Flathead Reservation, including the Science Learning Tents at the Arlee Celebration and Elmo Standing Arrow powwows.
  • We collaborate with the Missoula Food Bank and Missoula Public Library to operate the award-winning EmPower Place, nourishing bodies and minds of children in Missoula.
  • We share our unique science exhibits with our local airport, the People's Center on the Flathead Reservation, Boys and Girls Clubs, at three libraries in rural Bitterroot Valley, and at other museums and libraries throughout Montana.

Each year, we reach 200,000 people with fun, hands-on exhibits and activities at our Missoula museum and through our award-winning programs beyond our museum walls.

To help ensure that our mission serves all Montanans, we maintain a robust Science for All Scholarship Fund for low-income children, schools, and communities.

spectrUM's national sponsors and partners include the National Science Foundation EPSCoR Program, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the NISE Network, and SciGirls. In Montana, we are supported by the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation, the Jane S. Heman Foundation, and the tireless individuals and businesses who support STEM and education in our communities.