The organization was opened in 1945 as the Children’s Museum of Nashville, under the vision of naturalist John Ripley Forbes, and was located in Lindsley Hall in downtown Nashville. The first planetarium opened in 1952. In 1974 the museum moved to its current location in Old Saint Cloud Hill, the site of Fort Negley during the American Civil War. The organization’s name changed over the years, most recently from Cumberland Science Museum to Adventure Science Center in 2002.
After WWII had ended, Sergeant John
Ripley Forbes thought Nashville's future should include a children's museum. Formerly the Children’s Museum of Nashville, it opened its doors to the public for the first time on October 31, 1945.
Museum then announced a 16,000-square-foot expansion in 1986. This new growth also
brought new education initiatives, including the start of mobile outreach
programming in 1988. One of the popular programs introduced in 1990 was
StarLab, a portable planetarium system that seated about 25 people under an
inflatable dome. This was only the beginning for new additions to the museum. The Adventure Tower was added in 2002, then the BodyQuest exhibit gallery opened with 9,000-square-feet of interactive exhibits that allow visitors to
experience all the major body systems through larger-than-life components
accompanied by engaging science activities.
When the final Sudekum daughter
passed away in 2002, the Sudekum families gifted her estate to
the Science Center to spark the development of a new planetarium and what would
become Space Chase, a new exhibit wing dedicated to Earth and space sciences. After six years of planning, the new exhibit gallery finally opened to the public on June 28,
The mission is to ignite curiosity and
inspire the lifelong discovery of science.