Peoples Bank will give the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery $50,000 a year over the next five years, the museum announced Tuesday night.

“I am blown away by the generosity of this gift,” said museum co-founder and co-president Sara Hartman in a news release about the donation. “[The museum] is thrilled to partner with a community-focused entity like Peoples Bank to positively impact educational opportunities for children and families in our region.”

The gift will support the museum’s renovation of its location at 67 Columbus Rd. The site previously was used as a church by congregations of the Athens Fellowship and the First Church of God.

The new exhibit hall at the museum will be named Peoples Bank Exhibit Hall in recognition of the gift, according to the press release.

In January, the museum announced that it had received $200,000 in capital funding in Ohio’s fiscal year 2021 budget, allowing it to begin renovations on the church site.

OVMoD functioned as “museum without walls” from 2006 until 2011, when it moved into donated space in The Market on State. The site on Columbus Road is not only permanent but also more flexible and easily accessible for groups of children during the school year, Hartman told Athens City Council in February.

The museum focuses on hands-on, active learning for children and youth, with a particular emphasis on STEAM — science, tecnology, engineering, art and math. During the pandemic, the museum offered Zoom-based activities for schools. Virtual Science Cafes for teens featured researchers including Dr. Ricky Okello, a “Gorilla Doctor” in Uganda’s national parks. This summer, it held a summer camp for children in grades 1 through 6 at the Shade Community Center.

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