Monroe Science Center Opening This Spring in Downtown Monroe

Monroe Science Center Opening This Spring in Downtown Monroe

Jerry Blackwelder, On: 09/06/2019

Coming in the spring of 2020 to the Downtown area of Monroe, NC is a newly renovated historic theater and science center for children. With something new to enjoy and explore in the community The Monroe Tourism Development Authority hopes to strengthen the quality of life in the area. 

The “Dowd” Center Theater, an art modern-style theater built in the 1930s, sat vacant for nearly three decades until the City of Monroe purchased the theater and the adjacent building in 2013. Their plan, to renovate these structures into a location for performing arts, speakers, dance and movies. 

The Monroe Tourism Development Authority (TDA) determined that this location could also be used to house a hands-on science and learning-themed facility. Their hope is that this facility would not only be an asset for city and county residents, but also serve to attract residents from surrounding counties and provide additional family opportunities for individuals staying in Monroe. The Center’s focus will be towards science education for toddlers through teenage years.
The location of the new Science Center will be a 16,000-square-foot building at 316 E. Franklin Street and can be found adjacent to the Union County Public Library and the First Presbyterian Church on Windsor Street and is in close proximity to the downtown businesses.

This long term project included converting a one story, windowless brick building, originally a grocery store, into an exciting new children’s science museum.  The exterior was designed to be a neutral with a playful, eye-catching and engaging entry sequence. Structural and architectonic design elements respond to the mission of the museum as a facility to inspire inquisitiveness.  Floating in front of the existing building, sloped steel tube columns of varying dimensions playfully support colorful, shaped canopies in a myriad of geometries.  Outdoor exhibit panels and simple interactives are part of the entry experience sequence, including the playful, anagram-like building signage.  The canopies float at varying heights, like staffs of written music, with each letter of the building’s signage floating above like notes of different values. An outdoor seating area serves as a waiting area to enter a feature WW II cargo plane that will be exhibited adjacent to the building. 


The Monroe Science Center is expected to open in the spring of 2020. For more information visit

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