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Mission & History

About Us

Raven Hill Discovery Center’s mission is to provide a place that enhances hands-on & lifelong learning for all ages by connecting science, history and the arts. Connections emerge through exhibits, facilities & programs, that provide opportunities for all ages to learn, create, grow and play.

In 1991, Raven Hill Discovery Center was the beginning of a dream, when the Center was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) corporation. That dream became a reality in 1992, when Raven Hill opened to the public. Founders, Cheri and Tim Leach, imagined a place that would provide hands-on experiences through programs, exhibits and facilities that would connect science, history and the arts for all ages. Located on 175 acres in rural Northern Michigan, Raven Hill expands time from prehistory, to modern, to the future and from our world to beyond the universe. Minds of the young and old are challenged and stretched through experiences that expand the brain and link ideas. The Center uses informal education to tear down walls - opening doors that connect learning for children and adults. Something at the Center catches the visitor’s eye and leads to a new experience, which strengthens an individual's understanding and problem-solving skills. That experience might be connecting the science and history of copper during a copper pendant art class. It might be families using physics to create a ramp system to slow the golf ball down on the Rollaway in the Museum. Visitors to the Alternative Energy House might see “the light bulb go on” and better understand the sequence of energy conversion from solar to chemical (batteries) to electrical to light. No matter—program, exhibit or facility—the agenda is the same: making connections that point to new ways of thinking and new experiences for Raven Hill visitors.

Connected learning gives visitors a holistic, creative and critical way of thinking, promotes a desire to seek out answers and allows for greater depth of understanding. There are no similar programs in Michigan, the United States or perhaps even the world. Most museums are “stand alone” science, history or art, with subjects occasionally combined, but not really interconnected.

At Raven Hill, visitors experience a “new world” in the main museum, learn about animals in the exotic animal room, and further expand their explorations and minds outside in the Music Garden; Beyond Jurassic Park walk; One-Room School House; ET Building; Accessible Tree House and the Ancient World. Learning experiences at Raven Hill abound. Some exhibits remain popular year after year, like the animals, tree house and pyramid, but new experiences await visitors too. Raven Hill continually provides a place for scientific exploration, historical reflection and immersion in the arts. Due to the current pandemic and its variants, the indoors is currently "eyes-only", with the exception of a few larger "hands-on" exhibits, like the generator bikes, kaleidoscopes and marimba, that are easily and quickly cleaned between groups. The outdoors remains open and hands-on with a new Connections Trail being added in the spring of 2021. 

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