Billie Little was honored for her 25-years of creating and nurturing the Discovery Center. The gala was held on Friday night (10/12/2012) at the Five Senses Restaurant.
Billie Little Way
She was shocked when Tara MacDougall presented her with a city street sign proclaiming the road on which the Discovery Center is located as Billie Little Way.
In addition to the naming of the street, the new logo and website for the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring was unveiled during the celebration. One of the highlights of the new internet page is a blog section that Billie is editing.
People shared memories of the early days when downtown meetings among parents created the momentum to get the first Children's Discovery Center going at one of the old downtown historic homes on North Maple Street. During its first year of operation, over 11,000 visitors came to experience the museum’s exhibits and programs. It was chartered in 1986 as Children’s Museum Corporation of Rutherford County to provide hands-on education opportunities for the community. After an extensive grassroots campaign orchestrated by young parents, a building was purchased on North Maple and exhibits and programs were created.
(above L-R) Several of the initial leaders of the Discovery Center were on hand to than Billie Little for her on-going devotion. Bob Luster, Billie Little and George Gardner share memories.
The Early Years
Now almost a quarter of a century later, the Discovery Center of Murfree Spring at 502 Southeast Broad Street serves as a vibrant community and tourism center with over 120,000 children and families exploring the exhibits each year.
Long before being elected as the Rutherford County Mayor, Ernest Burgess (left photo) served as chairman of the Discovery Center's board. He spoke to the gathering and told how Mrs. Little's energy and insight kept the project moving forward.
Billie's longtime friend Tara MacDougall served as the hostess for the evening's program. Like many other local families, Tara too was one of the founding parents who were there when the Children's Discovery Center was born.
When Billie decided to step-back slightly, she asked her friend Tara to take over as chief executive officer. Billie remains on the staff as creative advisor and founding director.
(Photos below L-R) 1. Dr. Joe Little honors his wife and then thanks everyone for being there to let her know how much they have enjoyed the Discovery Center. 2. One of the initial Discovery Center leaders George Gardner gives kudos to Billie Little for he insight and persistence. 3. Tara MacDougall presents Billie with the Billie Little Way street sign.