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Lee Nelson is an essential member of The Discovery family. Since he became a volunteer in 2016, Lee has dedicated over 1,000 hours of service to the museum, working closely with Nathan Tobey, The Discovery’s Exhibits Developer. In April, Lee was recognized as The Discovery’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year!
Lee served in the U.S. Army and is a Vietnam combat veteran. After finishing his service, Lee earned a professional art degree from Spokane Falls Community College and began a career in graphic design producing reproduction art, package designs, presentation graphics and advertising for clients including Johnson & Johnson, Cutter Laboratories, Apple Computer, Landor Associates and others. Lee has assisted in designing and implementing corporate identity programs for AT&T, Coca Cola, Jardine Matheson, Pacific Telesis, GE, GM/Saturn and several other international companies. He also ran his own media company, Illusion Industries which, in addition to other projects, developed a successful web-based travel magazine.
In addition to his work in graphic design, Lee’s fine art oil painting was represented by the Pantheon Gallery in San Francisco and he was an instructor in the Graphic Communications Department at San Francisco Community College for seven years. When Lee isn’t donating his time to The Discovery, he enjoys spending time with his grandchildren and working on do-it-yourself projects at home.
Lee focuses his volunteer time at The Discovery on designing and fabricating exhibits enjoyed by our visitors. You can find his work in several of our exhibitions, including the marble tables and doll house in Spark!Lab Smithsonian, and the Pendelux stand and marble labyrinth in DaVinci’s Corner. His favorite thing about volunteering at The Discovery is designing and building exhibits that will be enjoyed by the more than 200,000 visitors the museum welcomes each year.
The Discovery’s Volunteer Program recognizes the value of service and encourages members of our community to participate in activities that engage and inspire our visitors. Over the last seven years, The Discovery has hosted more than 1,000 volunteers who have served over 66,000 hours! Furthermore, our volunteers have contributed over $1.5 million in service value to support the museum, including exhibit design, event support, and visitor engagement. In 2018 alone, nearly 300 volunteers dedicated more than 9,600 hours of their time in support of The Discovery’s mission to bring hands-on, informal science education to visitors of all ages.
Volunteers can support The Discovery in many ways. To find out how you can become a volunteer, check out the volunteer page of our website.