The Mastodon Fair is the largest art and science fair in the U.S., with over 700 K-12th grade participants from public, private and home schools in a seven county region. Teachers and parents submit student art and/or science project between January 1 – February 12, 2017 to the competitive annual March Fair held out at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, where students and teachers win over $55,000 in prizes, trips, and scholarships.
History: Dorothy Boyer Heinze founded the Mastodon Art/Science Connection Fair in 1979 in conjunction with early fundraising events for the Mastodon Park, now called the Historic Site. The Mastodon Park Committee held the Fair from 1979-1993 at the Historic Site which was adequate for the 15-165 students that participated. In 1991, Eva Kirkpatrick became director of the Fair and due to the growth in participants, the Fair was moved to Jefferson College in Hillsboro. The Mastodon State Historic Site now displays winning projects for public viewing at the museum each year.
In 1992, the Fair became a 501(c)3 organization separate from the Mastodon Historic Site. We receive no state or federal funding, and all of the operating and award expenses must be raised each year. The Mastodon Park Committee continues to be a sponsor of the Fair.
After negotiations with the Greater St. Louis Fair, the Mastodon Fair received their Regional Charter on August 7, 1997. The affiliation with the Science Service in Washington, D.C. followed in September, 1997. Vera McCullough, Eva Kirkpatrick’s daughter, became director of the Fair in Spring 2000. During her directorship, the Fair integrated technology solutions enabling the processing of each of the 2000+ students in one day as well as sending the first ever observers to the International Fair. In Spring 2002, there were a total of 2500 entries with 1700 Art projects and 800 Science projects entered into the Fair.
The transfer of the director position to Jill (Thomas) Malcom, an original participant in the Fair in 1979, occurred in the Spring of 2002. By 2005, the Fair held the status of being the largest combined Art and Science Fair in the United States and started using an invented online registration system to automate the entry process. In order to sustain the growth, full-time leadership was needed, and on July 1, 2006 the Fair hired Jill Malcom as the first full-time paid Executive Director position. Previously, from 1979 to 2006, the Fair had been completely run by volunteers.
In 2006, the name of the Fair was changed to the Mastodon Art/Science Regional Fair to pave the way for expanding the Fair’s service area. In 2007, the Fair invited 9-12th grade students from Washington, Franklin, and Crawford counties to participate and officially expanded our ISEF affiliation.
2010 had almost 3,000 students participate in both art and science, with K-12th grade students from Franklin, Washington, Crawford and Jefferson Counties being invited. This was the first year for the commercialization of the Fair’s software product, “E-Fair”, allowing other fairs across the country to use a pilot version of E-Fair for online registration as well as fair administration. The Mastodon Fair receives revenue from annual license fees of the software. Malcom stepped down in February 2014.
In 2016 Mastodon Fair Winners Nick Wamsley and Luke Little represented our region at the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), an international science fair with 70 countries top projects represented . Little won an Honorable Mention for his project and Wamsley won First Place in Microbiology! This is a first for a Mastodon Fair student and put the Fair on the map for the quality of projects students from our region produce! See more about these projects HERE
We can’t wait to see what art and science projects students develop this year! Stay tuned!