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Science Central[edit]

Science Central
Science Central Building.jpg
Founded 1987
Type Science Museum
Location
  • 1950 N Clinton St, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 46805
Key people
Executive Director Martin Fisher
Employees
~50
Volunteers
~150
Mission Hands-on science education for all ages
Website sciencecentral.org

Science Central is a non-profit, regional science museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana that provides hands-on science education for people of all ages. It is located in the downtown area, in the former City Light and Power building. Each year through attendance, programming, and outreach, Science Central impacts over 140,000 individuals and has served nearly 2 million people since its opening. The museum features numerous interactive exhibits, such as a high rail bike, tidal pool, Swap Shop, Kids Central for children seven and under, simulated moonwalk, giant slide, and Science on a Sphere. In addition, the organization hosts constantly changing traveling exhibits, approximately 3-4 per year. Science Central is a member institution of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), which enables members at any one ASTC institution to receive free admission to any other such institution.[1] It also is a participant in "Be a Tourist in your own Hometown," an event that allows Fort Wayne residents and visitors to tour 12 noteworthy locations in the area.[2]

Mission Statement[edit]

Science Central is a regional resource that provides inspiring and fun hands-on science education for people of all ages.[3]

History[edit]

From 1908 to 1975, the city of Fort Wayne was powered in part by a 70,000 square foot electric utility plant, called City Light & Power. On March 1, 1975, the plant was leased to another electric utility competitor, Indiana-Michigan Power (I&M), and ceased to produce electricity. After 16 years of disrepair, I&M, along with many other committed donors, began a $9.2 million renovation that included removing excess equipment, replacing windows, and preparing the building’s structure for use by the public as a science museum.

Science Central itself, originally known as the Science Collective of Northeast Indiana, Inc., was originally incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1987. At the time, a dedicated group of teachers, parents, engineers, and other influential community leaders, who supported the creation of a local science center, worked on developing hands-on science programs for use in schools, camps, and public settings. In June of 1989, the group sponsored the animatronic “Dinosaurs Alive” exhibit at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, and by its fifth year, over 130 schools and some 30,000 participants had participated in the organization’s popular Teach Reach program. On November 5, 1995, Science Central’s inception was complete, as the building opened its doors to the public for the first time, becoming Indiana’s first hands-on science center. Since then, Science Central has significantly expanded internally, developing multiple new permanent exhibits, while continuing its outreach efforts.[4]

Exhibits[edit]

High Rail Bike[edit]

Visitors can take a ride on a bicycle balanced on a thin metal rail, 26 feet off the ground, to learn about the principles of balance and gravity.

Tidal Pool[edit]

Visitors can interact with sea creatures commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean, on the North American Boreal coast, while learning about their behavior.

Moonwalk[edit]

Visitors can experience what the reduced gravity on the Moon feels like by being suspended via cords, which are connected to a regulator.

Swap Shop[edit]

Visitors can bring in a rock, fossil, mineral, or seashell, and educators will help identify the item. Points are earned to "purchase" other items from Science Central’s extensive Swap Shop collection by completing learning activities.

Kids Central[edit]

This area is designed specifically for children, ages 2 through 7, and their parents. Kids Central includes exhibits that are designed to educate and entertain younger visitors, including a giant piano keyboard, a water table and water play activities, bubble windows, and the Fort Discovery play area.

Science on a Sphere[edit]

Science Central's Science on a Sphere installation is the first of its kind in Indiana, and one of only about 100 in existence around the world. Developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the sphere appears to float mid-air and rotates on its axis. Spectators can view oceans and continents in their actual colors, just as Earth appears from outer space. Tropical rainforests along the equator appear dark green, mid-latitude deserts are light tan, and deep ocean waters are a dark blue. At the flip of a button, the sphere shows the currents of the oceans in motion, or captures all of the Earth’s current storm systems in real-time. The sphere can also be made to look like the Moon, Jupiter or Mars and can play over 700 NOAA and NASA datasets. In 2014, it received an award in the Building Contractors Association of Northeast Indiana 2014 Project Awards, in the Renovation- Under $2 Million category.[5]

Giant Slide[edit]

Visitors can accelerate down a 22-foot-tall, 32-foot-long slide, while simultaneously learning about physical concepts such as friction, gravity, and velocity.

Education[edit]

Study Trip Programs[edit]

Science Central offers labs and demonstrations for students with the goal of meeting curriculum needs and creating more engaging environments for participants. Both platforms are designed to meet Indiana state educational standards. The labs cover a variety of topics from archaeology through zoology, and are designed to motivate groups to ask questions, solve problems, and explore science concepts. Demonstrations, with the goal of enabling hands-on learning and peaking curiosity on a particular topic, can be conducted through Science on a Sphere or another interactive experience. Younger students can participant in such programs at Kids Central.[6]

Professional Development[edit]

Science Central offers an array of professional development, as follows. Engineering is Elementary supports educators and children with curricula and professional development that develop engineering literacy.[7] Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) develops and publishes science and math curriculum, offers professional development, and maintains an international support network.[8] Flying WILD offers a holistic approach to environmental education using birds as the focus, through activities involving language arts, social sciences, and math, coupled with community outreach and service learning applications.[9] LEGO® robotics uses LEGO®s as an interactive tool to explore robotics, mechanical systems, electronics, and programming.

Science4U Outreach[edit]

The Outreach (Science4U) program provides hands-on science programming available for delivery upon request. It includes the above educational efforts, as well as after-school enrichment, self-guided festivals, exploration stations, single-activity workstations, a planetarium system, space exhibits, senior programs, and scouting.[10]

Science Kits[edit]

Science Central enables students K-12 to borrow kits for scientific exploration at home. This program includes Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS), rocks and minerals, and Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation kits.[11]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Science Central - Fact Sheet." Science Central - Fact Sheet. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Be A Tourist In Your Own Hometown | Visit Fort Wayne." News RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Science Central - Fact Sheet." Science Central - Fact Sheet. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Science Central - History." Science Central - History. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2014.
  5. ^ "Science Central’s Sphere Receives Award." - News-Sentinel.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Science Central - Study Trips." Science Central - Study Trips. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2014.
  7. ^ "Engineering Is Elementary." Engineering Is Elementary. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2014.
  8. ^ "GEMS." LHS GEMS. UC Regents, n.d. Web. 17 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Flying WILD." Welcome to Flying WILD. Council for Environmental Education, n.d. Web. 17 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Outreach (Science4U)." Science Central - Available Programs. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Science Central - Educator Resource Center." Science Central. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 July 2014.

External Links[edit]

[Science Central Official Website]

[Visit Fort Wayne]


Category:Science museums Category:Museums established in 1987 Category:Science museums in Indiana Category:Museums in Fort Wayne, Indiana Category:Science centers Category:Culture of Fort Wayne, Indiana Category:Tourist attractions in Fort Wayne, Indiana Category:Buildings and structures in Fort Wayne, Indiana Category:Association of Science-Technology Centers member institutions