The Little Nature Museum was founded in 1954 by 13-year-old Sandra Waddell in Winthrop, MA. It was located in her bedroom and opened to the public in January, 1955.
In approximately 1955 Sandra began teaching weekly after-school children’s science classes at her parents’ home to two age groups; as many as 30 children attended. Summer classes were eventually added and field trips scheduled. An annual open house or similar event has been held since its founding providing the public, and especially children, the opportunity to learn more and become excited about nature and science. The Museum began to offer on-site and outreach programs in the early 1970’s on a variety of nature-related topics. In recent years experts in a variety of environmental fields have been invited to present programs and workshops. Several teacher workshops have been available for close to 20 years.
In the early 1960’s, the Museum moved to Hampton Academy Jr. High, Hampton, NH, for a year and was then relocated to Sandra’s Durham, NH, home for 3 years. In 1968, it moved to Weare, NH, where it was located for 31 years. At this location the Museum developed its first nature trails. The Museum closed in December 1998, when Sandra moved to Hopkinton, NH and it reopened in August 2000, at Gould Hill Orchards, Contoocook, NH. At the end of the 2012 season, the museum went into storage while the Board looked for a new location.
Following a successful Capital Campaign, The Little Nature Museum, now known as the Nature Discovery Center, reopened in September 2014, in a renovated and spacious barn on the grounds of the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, N.H.
The Museum became a federally registered nonprofit organization in October, 1998. It has a Board of Directors who govern its operation. The Board of Directors includes: Sandra W. Martin, President, Hopkinton, NH; Charlene T.Vallee, Treasurer, Chichester, NH; Barbara Fales, Contoocook, NH.