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Larry MacIntyre
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Louise Schlesinger
812-337-1337 ext. 12

Last modified: Thursday, August 28, 2008

IU President and First Lady serve as honorary chairpersons for WonderLab Benefit

August 28, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University president Michael A. McRobbie and first lady Laurie Burns McRobbie will serve as honorary chairpersons of Science Night Out, the annual benefit for the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology in Bloomington.

Michael and Laurie Burns McRobbie

Michael and Laurie Burns McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

The McRobbies are active advocates for science literacy, a topic of great concern among educators, scientists, parents and national policymakers. Study after study shows students from the United States lagging behind most other developed countries in science education. Laurie McRobbie serves on the WonderLab Board of Directors.

Science Night Out takes place at the Bloomington Convention Center on Sept. 12 (Friday), starting at 6 pm. This year, guests will be transported into an atmosphere of Venetian Carnevale. The evening features a glass-working artisan, a juggler, and more surprises to create the magical and festive ambience during a cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. An elegant dinner follows. There will be silent and live auctions during the evening.

Highlights from the auctions to raise critical funds for the museum include: a vacation package at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas, one-week stays in Costa Rica and Martha's Vineyard, a French Lick Resort get-away, a party at the fire station, tickets to an Indianapolis Colts game, court-level seats to an IU basketball game, suite seats at an Indianapolis Indians game and an IU football game, a Peyton Manning autographed item, an in-home wine tasting, a hot-air balloon ride, a Nintendo Wii and Wii game, an Indianapolis Zoo membership, a Lake Monroe double-decker pontoon package, a Playmobil pirate ship kit, meals at Bloomington's finest restaurants, theater tickets, unique handcrafted items from local artists, jewelry, crystal, gourmet food baskets, dog accessories and services, dance lessons, golf equipment, a 148-piece tool kit, spa services, a telescope and much, much more.

WonderLab, a private 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was recently named by Parents magazine as one of the top 20 science centers in the United States. It was the only science museum selected from Indiana, and it was one of the two smallest museums recognized for the excellence of its exhibits, programs, staff, and value of the experience relative to admission price.

WonderLab serves 75,000 children and their families from throughout south-central Indiana each year. The museum also hosts professional development workshops, which more than 140 area elementary and middle school teachers have attended, to help teachers develop stimulating hands-on science activities directly tied to Indiana science standards. WonderLab provides valuable work experience for college students in the form of assistantships, internships, and volunteer opportunities.

The goal of Science Night Out is to raise $80,000 in essential operational funding. Common misconceptions about WonderLab are that the museum is a tax-supported public institution, that it is part of a national franchise or that it can survive solely on earned revenue from visitors. None of these ideas is true. In fact, for every $1 spent by a museum visitor, WonderLab must raise another $1 through individual donations and special events to maintain an affordable admission price. This means that WonderLab must raise more than $500,000 from donors each year.

Advance tickets for Science Night Out can be purchased at the museum's welcome desk, online at, or by calling Heidi Frankson, WonderLab's development director, at 812-337-1337, ext. 14. Tickets are $80 per person ($50 tax-deductible) or $640 per table of eight ($400 tax-deductible). Guests must be 21 years or older.

Lead sponsors of Science Night Out in support of WonderLab are Aegis Women's Healthcare (introducing Drs. Brian Cook and Melissa Watters), Bloom Magazine, David Lawler and the Center for Sound Sleep, Cook Medical, Duke Energy, Hurlow Wealth Management Group, Inc., Innovative Financial Solutions, Inc., Ivy Tech Community College - Bloomington, Markey's Rental & Staging, Old National Bank, Oliver Winery, The Stone Age Institute, Vectren, Weddle Bros. Construction Co., Inc., WFIU and World Arts, Inc.

WonderLab is located at 308 West Fourth Street in downtown Bloomington. It is a member of the Alliance of Bloomington Museums and the Association of Science-Technology Centers. The museum is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 - 5 p.m. General admission is $6.00 for children and $7.00 for adults. Children under the age of one are free. Members enjoy free unlimited general admission to WonderLab, as well as other benefits, with the purchase of an annual membership.