The recreation of the International Space Station, along with major digital upgrades to our historic Planetarium, will accelerate our campaign to transform the Science Museum into a dynamic 21st century learning center. —Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums
The Springfield Museums receive $100,000 in support of improvements to the popular Springfield Science Museum.
On Friday, January 31, at 2:15 pm, in the Springfield Science Museum’s Astronomy Hall, Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums, publicly thanked legislators for their part in advocating for the Museums receiving these funds.
The funds are an allocation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and are dedicated to funding a permanent exhibit recreating the International Space Station and an upgrade to the historic Seymour Planetarium.
Working with The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (ISS National Lab) the Museums will install an interactive replica of the U.S. Laboratory Module, Destiny, housed in the International Space Station. The exhibit will feature astronaut artifacts and will enable visitors to try experiments conducted in space. The exhibit will also feature a live-feed from the orbiting International Space Station.
The Museums will also undertake a major renovation of the Planetarium. Opened in 1937, the Seymour Planetarium features the “starball,” the world’s oldest operating American-made star projector, designed and built during the Depression by brothers Frank and John Korkosz of Chicopee. The Museums plan to keep the starball, but will completely upgrade the Planetarium with a new projection and audio system.
“The recreation of the International Space Station, along with major digital upgrades to our historic Planetarium, will accelerate our campaign to transform the Science Museum into a dynamic 21st century learning center,” said Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums.
The most-visited building of the five-museum system, the Springfield Science Museum has inspired curiosity in people of all ages for more than a century. Over that time, the museum has changed in order to meet the needs of its audiences, incorporating new technologies alongside Victorian curiosities to widen the worlds of all who visit.
“This evolution has been both natural and necessary,” said, Heather Cahill, Director of Development. And the Museum shows signs of how well-used it is, needing upgrades to bathrooms (a renovation currently underway), carpeting, lighting, and accessibility. “Thanks to this allocation, we are moving closer to our goals of a museum-wide revitalization,” said Cahill.
As the Museums continue to embrace immersive, hands-on exploration of science, technology, engineering, and math—STEM learning—the Springfield Science Museum has already added the Smithsonian Spark!Lab, which helps emphasize the message that everyone is inventive.
The Smithsonian Spark!Lab, which is funded by an array of private donations, institutional and corporate support, will have its official launch January 17. Spark!Lab is a hands-on maker space where visitors engage in innovation and invention. In this vibrant, well-stocked working area, visitors are empowered to solve problems in their own unique ways and build their ideas into reality with devices of their own invention.
In addition to Spark!Lab, the International Space Station exhibit, and improvements to the Planetarium, the Science Museum campaign will also add hands-on experiences and immersive engagement opportunities to Habitat Hall, Dinosaur Hall, the Changing Exhibition gallery, and the Live Animal Center.
“The improvements in the Science Museum are integral to a sweeping museum-wide revitalization of our encyclopedic collections to emphasize immersive, hands-on experiences that make learning interactive and fun,” said Simpson.