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Our Annual Appeal

Dear Friends,

In June we were tested and today we are asking for your help.

When the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and Leslie Science & Nature Center merged in 2016, we brought together two inspiring teams of people dedicated to creating moments of discovery in our community. Each year, we are pleased to share with you our successes and challenges along the journey. This year we are asking you, as someone who shares a passion for our mission and vision, to join with us and provide a one-time increased level of support.

2019 has been a year of incredible growth for our organization. Our educational programming has increased to include partners in Ypsilanti, Port Huron, and so many more. We are reaching more students and families across southeastern Michigan and have invested in programs and partnerships to remove as many financial barriers to program participation as possible.

This growth is made possible with your support - support which allows us to invest in an incredible team who is resilient, passionate, and prepared. Prepared even for the unexpected.

In June, we excitedly began site prep for our long-awaited Nature Playscape to be located at the Leslie Science & Nature Center site. Our organization was thrown into turmoil when contaminants were found in the soil, resulting in the determination to move all programs offsite – something that continues to this day. Because of our strong values, our No. 1 concern, as always, from that point forward was the safety our families, campers, volunteers, and staff.

Despite the sudden and completely unforeseen challenges this news created, our incredible team had the strength and resolve to relocate our most important programs without disruption, all within 24 hours. It was an amazing feat that required the support of everyone

One camp parent remarked, “I’ve been extremely impressed by the grace with which you have handled this situation. I respect your integrity and honesty about the issue itself, as well as its response. You have made everything so easy.”

When we embarked on our merger, we knew it would take an investment to build a unified team who could withstand a challenge like the one from this past summer. We are only able to invest, and continue to invest in them, because of you and your support. Together, we have created a team that is agile, able to think outside the box, and willing to handle a crisis that was not of their making.

But we are struggling.

The unanticipated loss of the LSNC site for programming has created a reduction in revenue for our entire organization. This decrease has come from losing participants who couldn’t move to a new location with us, having to sideline programs we simply don’t have the space to hold and ballooning expenses in staff travel time and equipment. While our staff are working incredibly hard to build innovative partnerships and think creatively regarding other spaces, this type of work takes an investment in planning and innovation, which means time and money to pay for it.

This year, we are asking you for a one-time increased level of support to help us to continue our long-standing tradition of sustainability and keep our team unified. With your support, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and Leslie Science & Nature Center will continue to offer inspiring and educational experiences for children and families for years to come across Southeastern Michigan.

Thank you,

Mel Drumm
President & CEO
Susan Westhoff


P.S. won’t you consider a 50% increase this one-time in your year-end gift, to help us as we navigate this unexpected site closure?  

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220 E. Ann St. 
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

*We will be closed until further notice. Click here for more information.*

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Monday: 10 - 5
Tuesday: 9 - 5
Wednesday: 10 - 5
Thursday: 10 - 8
Friday: 10 - 5
Saturday:  10 - 5
Sunday: Noon - 5

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