COSI Columbus

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COSI Columbus
Type Independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization
Industry Education
Founded Columbus, Ohio (1964)
Founders Sanford N. (Sandy) Hallock II
Headquarters Columbus, Ohio
Key people Dr. David Chesebrough, President and CEO
Pablo Vegas, Chair
COSI Board of Trustees
Employees @200

COSI, Center of Science and Industry, is a science museum in Columbus, Ohio, in the United States. COSI features more than 300 interactive exhibits throughout themed exhibition areas – Energy Explorers, Ocean, Space, Gadgets, Life, Little Kidspace, Progress, the outdoor Big Science Park, and Lily Pad, a watershed division of Ocean. WOSU@COSI, began in 2006 and is the first public broadcasting and science center partnership. In 2008, Parents Magazine named COSI the #1 Science Center for families in the country.

The museum also features exhibit areas that provide experiences for all age levels to combine science facts and learning through play. In addition to its exhibits, COSI has several live shows such as the Electrostatic Generator Show. There is also a seven-story Extreme Screen theater, the Science2GO! retail store, and the Atomicafe restaurant. COSI also hosts traveling exhibitions from other museums throughout the year.

More than five million teachers and students have experienced COSI’s education programs. These outreach education programs are tailored to support national and statewide science curriculum and standards. Programs such as Interactive Video Conferencing and COSI On Wheels bring science learning to students throughout Ohio and across the country. Camp-In is an overnight program for Girl Scouts that began in 1972 at COSI. The program has since expanded to Boy Scouts, and is now duplicated nationwide at other science centers and museums.

As a not-for-profit organization, COSI is supported by ticket sales, a network of community and statewide partnerships, including relationships with a variety of donors, sponsors, 19,000 Member households, and a large volunteer program. COSI reaches more than one million people a year through visits to the museum and outreach activities.

Mission statement[edit]

The Foucault pendulum, a long-time COSI favorite located at the facility's west entrance.

As adopted in 1964... "COSI provides an exciting and informative atmosphere for those of all ages to discover more about our environment, our accomplishments, our heritage, and ourselves. We motivate a desire toward a better understanding of science, industry, health, and history through involvement in exhibits, demonstrations, and a variety of educational activities and experiences. COSI is for the enrichment of the individual and for a more rewarding life on our planet, Earth."


COSI's Holiday Science of the Season Celebration annually from the day before Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve.

COSI opened on March 29, 1964, as a venture of the Franklin County Historical Society. COSI is a founding member of the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative (SMEC) and a long-standing member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). COSI was originally housed in Memorial Hall, a Columbus landmark that had served as a major performing arts hall since its dedication in 1906. COSI closed its doors at the 280 East Broad Street location and re-opened on November 6, 1999 at a new location on the Scioto riverfront in downtown Columbus. The building was designed by internationally renowned architect Arata Isozaki using the former Central High School along with new construction on the site of the school's football field.

Generous donations by local philanthropists allowed the museum to continue operating, but eventually the red ink began to catch up with COSI. The museum spearheaded an effort to assess a property tax levy, chaired by former NASA astronaut John Glenn. Ultimately the effort failed and caused the museum to lay off large numbers of its staff, some of them longtime employees. An entire wing of the museum was closed and the planetarium was shut down.

COSI from across the Scioto River.

In 2003, COSI's basketball-playing rats, Doris and Edelia appeared on an episode of the Animal Planet series Pet Star, accompanied by two of their trainers, Christy Varner and Nathan Bellomy. [1][dead link], [2] (Video) The museum's rats had also previously appeared on the show Real People in 1984.[citation needed]

During the spring and summer of 2005, COSI hosted the blockbuster traveling exhibition "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" and saw record attendance. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, returned to COSI in 2010. In the summer 2006, COSI hosted another large exhibit: "Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination", produced by the Museum of Science, Boston, attracting visitors from 42 of the 50 States as well as Canada.[citation needed] Various members from the 501st and Rebel Legion visited COSI to not only view the exhibit but to entertain other guests with their professional Star Wars costumes.

Since then, COSI has hosted a number of traveling exhibits including Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science (2009). Lost Egypt was produced by COSI in cooperation with the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative, and was built by the Science Museum of Minnesota. Lost Egypt now travels the nation to other museums. COSI has also hosted EINSTEIN, An Exhibition on the Man and his Science (2007), Animation featuring Cartoon Network (2007), Gregor Mendel: Planting the Seeds of Genetics (2007), Bob the Builder: Project Build It (2007), Goosebumps! The Science of Fear (2008), CSI: The Experience (2008), Adventures with Clifford the Big Red Dog (2010), Geckos: From Tail to Toepads (2011), Dinosaurs: Explore. Escape. Survive. (2011), Dora and Diego - Let's Explore! (2011), RACE: Are We So Different? (2012), WATER (2012), LEGO Castle Adventure (2012), BODYWORLDS and The Brain (2012), MindBender Mansion and Amazing Mazes (2013), MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition (2013), and Curious George: Let's Get Curious! (2013).

In April 2006 Dr. David Chesebrough, former president and CEO of the Buffalo Museum of Science, became COSI's new president and CEO, replacing former NASA astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan, who transitioned to a new role as COSI science advisor, on a volunteer basis, while in her new role as the Director for Ohio State University's Battelle Center for Mathematics and Science Education Policy.

On September 29, 2006 the WOSU@COSI partnership began. The exhibit includes an interactive chroma key set where guests can either stand in front of the green screen or control the background image as well as video effects and digital effects. The rest of the WOSU space hosts offices and studios. The studios have many windows so guests can view the production of radio shows and the editing and broadcasting of television shows.

Operating Statistics[edit]

Year Total Attendance Recorded Cost of Admission
1967 172,215
1974 191,755
1976 263,039
1978 $1.50
1980 300,000
1982 320,000
1983 $3.50
1984 393,415
1986 519,163
1987 666,017
1990 694,012
1992 719,693
1996 $6.00
1999 $12.00
2008 543,116
2009 607,333
2010 636,863

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°57′36″N 83°00′21″W / 39.959923°N 83.005794°W / 39.959923; -83.005794