Posted by: COSI | October 7, 2008

Sometimes I’m Too Serious

There are times when I let my serious study of the science center field and the efforts to create stronger organizations—not only at COSI but throughout the US and beyond—get the better of my day-to-day perspective. When science centers first came into being there were several driving factors for their existence. A number of these were in contrast to perceptions about poor science engagement at the time—science was not being taught in an engaging, hands-on way in the schools, the only “science museums” of the day were natural history museums and they had gotten in some people’s eyes stale, dusty and disconnected from public interest.

So into this perceived void stepped these new entities that became called “science centers” or “science and technology centers.” The focus was on making science “fun” since no one else was. Not as an end unto itself, but as a critical door opener for the imagination and interest of all the children who were not getting positive stimulus and nurturing of their innate curiosity about their world.

So in the sharp chill of last Thursday morning, I found myself at the corner of Belle Street and W. Broad St. with COSI team members, a gaggle of young children and their early childhood educators, and Elmo. Also there were representatives of key partners around our early childhood efforts—Nationwide Children’s Hospital, WOSU media, and Columbus Councilwoman Maryellen O’Shaughnessy, representing our city partner (COSI is a city owned facility and property).

I spoke a couple of lines about how Sesame Street Presents: The Body will enable us, along with our partners, to engage children in activities and thinking about healthy choices. Elmo helped me then unveil the renaming (temporarily) Belle Street as Sesame Street to the cheers of the kids and others.

Maryellen was kind enough to follow with a few words.
But instead of the usual comments, she caught me up short. She said that the one thing I’d forgotten was that the new exhibition was “going to be fun!.” You can see from the great photo captured that she really has the COSI style with the kids in making the point I hadn’t!

Thanks Maryellen for keeping me honest and reminding everyone of one of COSI’s core ways of engaging everyone—by making science fun!


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