Montshire Profile

Nancy Dwight, September 2012

What is your connection to the Montshire?
Our family has always been involved with Montshire. In the 1990s, Montshire was the science education center for all of us. Helen was an Explainer, Chris sampled and re-sampled all of the exhibits, and Don and I took part in the programs and supported the Montshire Fund, the Auction, the capital requests, and the calls for governance support. I’ve been honored to serve two tours on the board of trustees, and chaired it during the capital campaign for Science Park. My final lasting contribution was to guide the fund raising for The Hughes Pavilion which I believe is synonymous with all that is great about Montshire – an all season gathering place within natural exhibits that teach and inspire.

Why do you choose to be involved?
Just after we moved to the Upper Valley, my Lyme neighbor Penny Breed knocked on my door and said “I’d like to introduce you to David Goudy at the Montshire.” Since Walter Paine had already captured our hearts about Montshire it was not a difficult request and led to years and years of service and enjoyment.

When was the first time you came to the Montshire?
Our first visit was in the late 1980s, when the Montshire was on Lyme Road in Hanover. That was before we settled in the Upper Valley and it’s fair to say that   Montshire influenced our decision to move north from Connecticut in 1993. We were part of the "Bowling Alley Bubbles" crew of toddlers and their parents who would regularly splash on Saturdays in our favorite exhibit.

What do you wish everyone knew about the Museum?
That our success rests on the incredible dedication and vision of the Museum’s founders and the inspired leadership of David Goudy. In remarks on a groundbreaking in 2001, I said, “a few very wise individuals envisioned a gathering spot, a museum that could embrace our valley’s need for science education and our valley’s extraordinary setting for learning. The vision of Montshire was cast then and remarkably, has not wavered. Bring science to willing learners. Teach science to school age minds. Engage the community in its natural life. Connect the cities and towns of this region and beyond in a quest for the natural. And be the center of an ever-evolving “place” that we call the Upper Valley.” 

What do you wish the Montshire could do in the future?
My hope for Montshire is that it continues to deepen its connection with schools and communities in our immediate area and in northern New England. We are a science-learning center that should be available to all, beginning with the very young. Our challenge is to connect our extraordinary museum with all that are near, and to deepen our connection to the history and natural setting of the Connecticut River.

What do you find most rewarding about volunteering at the Montshire?
As so many of our founders knew, Montshire is more than a museum – it’s a center of educational excellence and character – and I’m proud to have been associated with it ever since my grown children were toddlers. Many of my closest friendships began at a museum event or project.

What is the best kept secret at the Montshire?
The Museum depends on the support of the community for its day-to-day operations. Everyone should be both a member and a donor!

Which other museums do you enjoy visiting?
I was fortunate to be appointed by President George W. Bush to the board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2003 so I spent a great deal of time during his presidency visiting museums throughout the country. I learned that there are true museum cities in our country – places that should be destinations for all family vacations. Fort Worth and Dallas have some of the nation’s newest and best art museums; Portland, Oregon has an astonishing array of art, history and science offerings; and the older cities such as Pittsburgh and Toledo and Cleveland and certainly Chicago are museum centers of note.

Now that we live in Boston, I’ve rediscovered the Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museums, but I’ll always travel back to Norwich for my first love, The Montshire Museum of Science!


Montshire Museum of Science Engage the Senses