I touched the moon. President Kennedy, NASA, and a museum put the rock that inspired my boyhood imagination into my hands and made me a “museumophile.” Since then, I’ve savored Wenninger’s polyhedra and the evolution of the astrolabe in London, analyzed Konrad Zuse’s pioneering computers in Munich, seen the original Earth globe in Vienna, toured a coal mine in Chicago, learned the secret of Samurai swords and measured a 50-foot tapeworm in Tokyo, learned the origins of oceanography in Monte-Carlo, studied Tycho Brahe’s astronomical apparatus in Beijing, loved a Foucault pendulum and Ames window in San Diego, viewed a remote-control fly in Langley, winced at the Siamese twins’ conjoined liver in Philadelphia and admired Cleopatra’s eyeliner bottle in San Jose. What an amazing journey through human creativity—all thanks to museums!

Museums do more than entertain and teach. I’ve spoken with many Googlers who cite their own experiences in science museums as a positive influence on their decision to become engineers. By transforming the curious learners of today into the innovators of tomorrow, museums perpetuate both creativity and accomplishment. That’s why I’m thrilled that Google is supporting science museums with a total of $12 million in grants to the Museum of Mathematics in New York, the New York Hall of Science, the Science Museum London (via the Friends of Science Museums), the Exploratorium and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago and the Museum of Science in Boston.

When looking to support these beloved institutions, we naturally gravitated towards museums in communities where Googlers volunteer and have ties. Our funds are going to meet diverse needs of the museums, from the construction of new facilities to the development of new exhibitions to new curricula that will extend their work outside of the museum walls.

Many of these museums have operated in our communities for quite some time, but another wave of science museums was built mid-century during the space race when the National Science Foundation realized the importance of getting the general public excited about scientific pursuits. The need for science and math museums is no less important today, as the U.S. has made research and development in biomedical research, information technology and clean energy technology a national priority. As leading destinations for school field trips, museums are touchpoints where students come into contact with science and math.

Our collaboration with the museums won’t end by signing a check. With so many Googlers already working with these museums, we’re excited to find additional ways Google can help these museums educate adults and spark a love of science in children.

Besides, how else can we all touch the moon?