In Good Company- Sarah Wolf
Photograph by Nels Akerlund Photography + Video
124 N Main St., Rockford
The popular Discovery Center Museum features more than 250 exciting hands-on exhibits spread over a two-floor area. Out in the museum's backyard, visitors can explore Rock River Discovery Park, a giant, multi-level science park with a hands-on twist. The museum also hosts traveling exhibits, classes and camps.
"It's a place to come and have a wonderful time, while learning together as a class or as a family," says Sarah Wolf, the museum's longtime executive director. "There's a sense of adventure, curiosity and excitement that goes with learning. I enjoy watching those aha moments."
From outer space to mathematics, and air and space to levers and pulleys, the Discovery Center is all about fun. Highly regarded across the country, the Discovery Center has been named the top family attraction in the state of Illinois by TripAdvisor and named the fifth best museum by USA Today readers.
Those recognitions are a source of pride for Wolf, who was an elementary school teacher before moving to Rockford in 1974. In addition to becoming a stay at home mom with two small children, Wolf was a member of the Junior League of Rockford and the Rockford Area Arts Council, and volunteered to serve on a committee to develop a children's museum in 1981. She ultimately became the first and only executive director in 1985.
"I never thought I'd be a museum director," she says. "But I always knew my career would involve children. I get to see people leave here every day smiling. The Discovery Center is a source of pride for our community."
(Written by Paul Arco)