Page Header

Site Tools

Site Identity

Museum of Science

The History and Legacy of Museum of Science Founder, Brad Washburn

"It is probably fair to say that my mother contributed to my sense of adventure and that my father contributed to my appreciation for detail and accuracy." - Bradford Washburn, mountaineer and founding director of the Museum of Science

Bradford Washburn, founding director of the Museum of Science, was a world-renowned mountaineer, cartographer, and nature photographer. Climbers today still use the map of Mount Washington created by Washburn over fifty years ago. Support for the Washburn Challenge helps us pay tribute to our founder's vision while helping to sustain our mission of promoting scientific and technological literacy to New England, and to the nation.

History of the Washburn Challenge

In 2007, Museum Trustee Michael G. Thonis created the Washburn Challenge as a unique fundraiser for the Museum of Science. Michael asked family and friends to support him in a personal challenge to climb Mount Washington -- the highest peak in the Northeast -- twice in one day. Although there are other sponsored climbs of this mountain, the Museum of Science is the only organization to arrange a double climb and - in 2016 - a triple climb!

Thonis chose this particular mountain because of its close connection with the Museum's late founding director, Bradford Washburn. He climbs in honor of his father, who frequented the Museum as a child and helped inspire Thonis' own spirit of adventure and love of science, particularly Geology.

In 2016, for the 10th anniversary celebration, Thonis succesfully tested his endurance by climbing Mount Washington three times in a single day, paying tribute to Washburn, his father, and all the friends and family who have supported and continue to support him during his hikes.


Previous climbs:

2015 washburn challengers     2014 washburn challenge     2013 Washburn

2012 Washburn