Posted by: COSI | August 10, 2009

What will the next 10 years look like?

Guest post by Kim Kiehl

Hard to believe but we are coming up on our 10th anniversary in this building this November! It seems like yesterday that we opened our doors here at 333 West Broad. I was part of that opening ten years ago, having come to COSI on a special appointment from my then full time job at OSU to help with the design of little kidspace.

Now here I am, 10 years later, and a big part of my current job is to think about and plan the next ten years. What exhibits will we need to replace? What new things do we want to bring in? What things do we want to keep? What topics do we want to talk about and when? I spend lots of hours every week working through the strategy to take us to our 50th anniversary in 2014 and beyond.

Our 1st location at 280 W. Broad Street

Our 1st location at 280 E. Broad Street

I know many of you reading this are like me in that you have a favorite memory associated with COSI. I took my kids to the old building and played in kidspace, saw the Presidents, and visited the Coal Mine. I sometimes miss these things too simply because they are part of my memory bank and that makes them something I want to share with future generations. I totally get the nostalgia part but at the same time things have to change and move forward. I bet for some of you the memory is related to our old building…the coal mine, the Streets of Yesteryear, the fire truck in the atrium.

For some it is related to the current building…the Ocean exhibit, the Rotor, or the high wire unicycle. Others still have a memory associated with both buildings…Rat Basketball, the EG show or Camp-In. But the important thing here is that from every space and every time we have memories and these memories are valued and important.

Rat Basketball

Rat Basketball

As we start to think about what the next ten years will look like we have been asking all sorts of people about their memories of COSI. We have gathered some data from our Facebook page where people shared their favorite memories with us. We have talked to guests who come see us and ask “whatever happened to…” Now we are trying to take this one step further and sort out which images people associate with us…what are the icons, if you will, that you think of when you hear our name. There is a difference between the things that you make a nice memory with and the things that you can’t imagine COSI not having and I want to know more about what the latter as we start moving toward the future.

So tell me, what are the images that come to your mind when you hear COSI? What are the things that you can’t imagine us not having? Send me your thoughts at or start a conversation here. I can’t wait to hear what you are thinking!



  1. The one thing that I immediately think about and miss is the kids face painting. It used that you’d see kids around Columbus with their faces painted and you always knew they had been to COSI.

  2. That’s a neat memory to share. As much as I thought I knew about COSI I hadn’t been aware of that–thanks for passing that nugget on.

  3. Growing up in the 70’s- what I think was, the heyday of the Old COSI, I have fond memories of the Planetarium shows. As you entered through the low, darkened, doorway, you found the lights were dimmed and the “sky” was beginning to show signs of golden and red twilight. The “horizon” had silhouettes of buildings, trees and landmarks around it. In the four cardinal directions, there were N, S, E, and W, signs. A real-live human being did the show, usually with great competence, and began by performing a lovely sunset. The sky would darken and the stars would appear. Often, as the crowd soaked in the stars, the host of the show would stop before the sky was fully dark talk for a while, and then startle the crowd by moving us out into the dark countryside- where the most stars could be seen. The host would use a flashlight to make “meteors” and would move the planets about. When the show ended, twilight would come and the sun would rise- often to the Cat Stevens song “Morning Has Broken”. I was always very moved by this.

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