The museum is a 62,000 square-foot, multi-purpose exhibition and visitor center. It features educational and interactive exhibits that promote science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). It was developed by a non-profit organization that the Cook family — owners of Cook’s Pest Control in Alabama — established to help bring their vision to life of expanding the smaller museum they had operated in Decatur for 36 years. The original museum was the vision of PMP Hall of Famer John R. Cook Sr. (Class of 2015).
“We congratulate the Cook family and everyone involved in bringing this exciting new museum from vision to reality,” said Ildem Bozkurt, Bayer’s head of pest management and public health for environmental science. “It not only helps promote science and education in a fun and engaging way, but it is a quintessential example of giving back to the community that you serve on a very meaningful level.”
Bayer prides itself on supporting STEAM educational initiatives. The mission of the Cook Museum, its exhibits’ focus as well as the insectarium and live bee exhibit, were of particular interest to Bayer, the company said.
“Science education, entomology and pollinator health are all topics that are close to our hearts at Bayer,” said Mark Schneid, Bayer’s head of environmental science, North America. “We have long been inspired by the Cook family and their passion for STEAM education and for insects. We applaud their efforts and wish them the very best with this wonderful museum, which we hope will draw in visitors from far and wide.”
The Cook Museum of Natural Science exhibits highlight various habitats such as oceans, rivers and streams, forests, caves, deserts and more. It is projected to attract nearly 215,000 visitors in its first year alone.