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River Discovery Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: The River Discovery Center is a private, non-profit, educational institution whose primary mission is to stimulate an interest in and teach the public about the importance of America’s rivers to the development of the nation, and in particular upon the Four Rivers Region. The Center deals with all aspects of the rivers, including environmental, cultural and economic benefits, and seeks to provide a forum for mutually beneficial development of this great national asset.

Geographic areas served: national

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Client Served

Rating: 5

As a resource teacher for our city's gifted and talented population, we are always struggling to find programs which are beneficial and affordable. Imagine our delight when EJ Abell volunteered for our students ro visit the River Heritage Museum! The students ranging from 4th-8th graders were greeted by three volunteers who were extremely prepared, organized, and well-versed. Since they divided the large group into three smaller ones, the students were able to learn a lot along with having their questions answered. The students also loved having the opportunity to use the simulator and creating an individual art project with Ms. Abell. The professionalism of the staff of the River Heritage Museum was above reproach! It was most rewarding to have the students and adults who attended this field trip be reminded of the importance the river industry has upon our lives. Paducah is very fortunate to have such an outstanding organization!



Rating: 5

I am a student at the University of Kentucky, and was recently assigned a class project that required me to make a cultural contribution to either the community of Lexington or to my hometown. As a native of Paducah, I really wanted to give back to my city. I reached out to Julie Harris (the Executive Director of the RDC) about a collaboration project. Never have I received such positive feedback and kindness from a stranger. Julie worked with me to bring an art exhibit to the River Discovery Center. She made me feel very comfortable working on something I had no experience in. We secured the exhibit (to be shown in November) and a space for the show (Maiden Ally Cinema). This experience gave me a huge appreciation for the River Discovery Center and its mission of community enrichment through the historical and scientific education on rivers. I consider the Center to be a jewel in downtown Paducah. The building is a beautifully restored historical site of interest and the interior allows for interactive learning on waterways. This is all the more important due to Paducah's history of being a river town. I have had a wonderfully positive experience with the River Discovery Center and its directors Julie Harris and EJ Abell. I would be very willing to work with the RDC in the future as a volunteer and speak highly of the organization.


Board Member

Rating: 4

It is all about the children. This River Discovery Center offers an excellent venue for elementary students with field trips and summer camp. It also coordinates the Adopt A Towboat program for area grades 4-6 this the major barge companies operated out of Paducah. The exhibits are well done and we hope to improve in a big way in the near future. Our corporate sustainers and members are a good cross section of the towing industry and area community.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I regulary take my Preservation Summer students and my Master of Architecture program