is a science and nature museum located in Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester is a city and the county seat of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population is 181,045, making it the second largest city in New England after Boston....
. Previously known as the New England Science Center
, the museum features several permanent and traveling exhibits, the Alden Planetarium, a narrow-gauge train pulled by a scale model of an 1860s steam engine, a tree canopy walkway, and a variety of wildlife.
The EcoTarium was founded in 1825 as the Worcester Lyceum of Natural History
. The first spaces dedicated to the museum were
the Natural History Rooms on the third floor of the Worcester Bank Block on Foster Street, which opened on October 1, 1867. In 1891 the collection that started the EcoTarium moved to the Old Edwin Conant Mansion.
As the collection grew more and more space was needed. In 1954 the museum moved exhibits to the Daniels House
Frederick Daniels House is a historic house at 148 Lincoln Street in Worcester, Massachusetts.It was built in 1885 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.-References:...
and the Rice House
Ezra Rice House is a historic house at 1133 W. Boylston Street in Worcester, Massachusetts.It was built in 1833 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.-References:...
, both in Worcester. The final move took place in 1971 to a new building, designed by Edward Durell Stone
Edward Durell Stone was a twentieth century American architect who worked primarily in the Modernist style.-Early life:...
, built on 60 acres (242,811.6 m²) of donated land. At this point the name of the museum was changed to the Worcester Science Center,
then changed again in 1986 to the New England Science Center
In 1998 the museum yet again changed its name to EcoTarium
, and began an 18 million dollar expansion and renovation project which was finished in 2000.
Until recently, one of the museum's most well-known exhibits was a polar bear
The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...
named Kenda. Kenda died June 13 2011. Kenda had developed kidney disease and it was decided that she should be euthanized. Kenda's mother, Ursa Minor, lived at the museum until her death in 2001 at the age of 36, making her one of the oldest captive polar bears.