Background

Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, and families– by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement, and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

Nancy Portillo works as an Early Childhood Resident at NYSCI. She develops special curricula for kids with ASD. Her mission is to help these children live normal lives.

Background

Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, and families– by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement, and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

As millions of people visited the first season of the 1964-65 World’s Fair, the Hall of Science was being erected before their eyes, looming behind the rockets in the Space Park.  Work began on the Hall in June of 1963, but the Hall would not open until September of 1964. Workers had to first excavate the site, clearing away an amount of soil equal in weight to the building itself.  Next, 90-ft tall curving concrete walls with no corners or straight segments were poured in place. Finally, more than five thousand 2×3-ft panels were hung side by side using hooks inlaid into the concrete. The panels contained chips of cobalt blue stained glass, giving visitors the sense of standing in outer space.

At the building dedication, architect Wallace Harrison said of the project: “… we tried to see in what way we could build an enormous wall around a great space, which would be of simple construction, in a way never done before by man and filled with an ever-changing blue which would simulate the feeling that man has when he really experiences the joy of pure space.”

The Great Hall was built for an exhibition sponsored by Martin Marietta called Rendezvous in Spacewhich culminated with a live demonstration of a docking between a model “space taxi” and an orbiting laboratory, suspended from the ceiling above. The show began with a documentary film produced by Frank Capra (his final film.) Narrated by Danny Thomas, featuring Mel Blanc (uncredited) as the voice of the moon.

Here we see the space taxi and orbiting laboratory being hoisted up and lowered into the Great Hall through its roof. You can also see in the background the final phases of construction on the Great Hall itself.

 

rendezvous loadin1Hoisting the vehicles.

           rendezvous loadin2Workers wait on the roof as the orbiting laboratory and space taxi are hoisted up.

rendezvous loadin3Lowering through the roof.

rendezvous loadin4Note one section of the Great Hall curtain wall still without its stained glass panels.

Read all the posts in the NYSCI Archive.

Background

Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, and families– by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement, and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

As shown in this previous post, the World’s Fair opened with the Hall of Science still under construction. But the Space Park was on full display. Here are a few more photos of the Hall of Science in progress.

 

 

 

006 - Space Park - Apollo Lunar Excursion Module

Apollo Lunar Excursion Module

 

 

003 - Hall of Science under construction - from Ford

Hall of Science under construction

 

 

014 - Space Park - Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle

 

 

001 - Space Park - Apollo capsule

Apollo capsule

 

 

015 - Towards unfinished Hall of Science

Towards unfinished Hall of Science

 

 

All photos in this post courtesy of Bill Cotter. Bill was very kind to share his Hall of Science photo catalog with us. More of Bill’s photos coming in future posts.

Background

Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, and families– by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement, and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

In conjunction with our Luminescent Night Light workshop, we are excited to announce our first Make It At Home Challenge!

After you have created your Luminescent Nightlight at the Maker Space we challenge you to design and make a custom enclosure for it at home.  What is an enclosure? We mean anything that will sit on top of, or around, your circuit board, and catch the light of the LED.  To give you a little inspiration here are some examples we have made in the Maker Space:

In this example we used a soda can with a bunch of holes poked into it with a push pin.

 

This photo shows two different examples that we have been experimenting with in the Maker Space. On the left is a pyramid that is made out of nothing but hot glue. To do this we took a simple wood block, covered it in vaseline, and then drenched it with hot glue. On the right is a pyramid built with laser cut modular paper triangles. You can also make these these same exact modular triangles by hand using a compass, a pencil, and a scissor. Check out this Instructable for more information. We will be experimenting with both of these construction techniques for May’s Wildcard Weekend workshop happening on May 17th and May 18th. You can find more information here.

 

What do you want your enclosure to look like?  

What materials do you have around the house that can capture the color changing light of your circuit or create interesting shadows? Plastic cups?  Soda cans?  How about paper or origami?  As you can see from the above examples, you can use almost anything if you put a little creative making into it! Let your imagination go wild as you experiment with light, shadow, translucency, and making.


Did we say prizes?

We will feature all the entries on the Maker Space website, blog, and showcase them on the big screen TV at the entrance to the Maker Space.  At the end of the month, the Maker Space staff will vote for their favorites in 3 categories: Most Resourceful, Most Professional & Most Outlandish.  The top 3 entrants will win prizes such as Learning to Solder kits, and free Maker Space workshops!

To participate, take a photo or video of your night light and send it to us via email, Instagram, or bring it in to show us.

Send all submissions to Reid at rbingham@nysci.org or our Instagram @Makerspace.

Background

Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, and families– by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement, and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

The 1964-65 World’s Fair opened 50 years ago today.  But the Hall of Science did not.

The Hall of Science under construction even after the Fair opened.

The Hall of Science was not in the original plan for the World’s Fair. It’s inclusion at the Fair came after a prolonged political struggle between a group of planners trying to build a museum of science in Manhattan on one side and Mayor Robert Wagner and World’s Fair Corporation President Robert Moses on the other. Ultimately, the City endorsed a plan to use City dollars to build a Hall of Science pavilion for the World’s Fair and then convert and expand it into a proper museum after the Fair’s completion.

Because of this delay, the Hall of Science did not open at the start of the 1964 season. Groundbreaking occurred on June 19, 1963, but construction took place throughout the first summer of the Fair, and the Hall of Science finally opened on September 9, 1964. Following the Fair, months of renovation and exhibit relocation took place before the Hall re-opened as a permanent museum on September 21, 1966.

As early as October of 1963, reports surfaced that the Hall’s opening would be delayed.  The New York Times reported that “opposition to the use of the hall as the core of a major, permanent science museum has caused concern over the future of such a museum. The opponents believe that the location and auspices are not propitious for creation of the great institution that they believe New York should have.”

Not only was the design of the Hall of Science seen as not appropriate for a permanent museum, but there was also opposition to the location of the museum being Flushing Meadow. Despite being at nearly the geographic center of the five boroughs, the site was feared by many to be remote. The Times said the site was a 23-minute subway ride from Grand Central Terminal (which is at least ten minutes faster than can be said of the commute today.) The Times also noted that the less than half-mile walk from the train station to the Hall is roughly the same distance from mass transit as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, before concluding that the aversion to the perceived distance of Flushing Meadow was apparently “psychological.”

Still, Moses and the Fair planners were undeterred.  Two months before the Fair opened, plans were unveiled for the expanded permanent museum that would include a “glass-domed Great Hall where exhibits will depict the past and forecast future developments in all vital fields of science.”

The photo at top of this post shows the Hall of Science, in background at left, under construction during the first season of the World’s Fair. Photo courtesy of Bill Cotter.

Background

Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, and families– by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement, and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

Alongside articles on the Earth’s wagging tail and predictions of rings around Neptune a “few” years in the future, Current Science noted the opening of the Hall of Science in their November 2, 1966 issue.

We found this copy in our archive. Of note, the routing for this copy. The handwriting at top suggests this article passed the desks of Morris Meister and William Laurence before landing in the clippings file.

William Laurence

 

Morris Meister

 

Laurence was connected to the Hall of Science from the time of the World’s Fair.  He was the Fair’s science advisor.  The only journalist to witness the Trinity test of the atomic bomb, Laurence was known to many as the chief chronicler of the atomic age. Later, to some, he was its chief apologist.  As science advisor to the Fair, he helped shape the exhibits that were displayed at the Hall of Science. You can read his Science at the Fair here. He remained an advisor to the Hall of Science as it transitioned to a permanent museum and made plans for post-Fair expansion.

Morris Meister founded the Bronx High School of Science and was one of the founders of the Museum of Science and Technology.  (There is much more to come about that institution in future posts.) At this time, Meister was the Hall’s Director of Planning.

Background

Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, and families– by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement, and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

(click image to enlarge)

“An “atomic playground” where children can learn about nuclear fission, and a nuclear reactor which can be used by university professors to perform experiments are to become part of a $7,500,000 science museum at the 1964-65 World’s Fair site in Flushing Meadow Park.”

“Robert C. Reiley, executive officer of the Hall of Science said that the equipment in the Nuclear Science Center would be of the kind not normally found in college or university laboratories and that professors would be allowed to use it, under supervision, for experiments.”

The article appears to be from late 1966. A hand-written notation on the reverse cites the source as Newsday.

Read all the posts in the NYSCI Archive.

Background

Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, and families– by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement, and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

Even on a cold, raw, rainy day, when the Daily News visited the Hall of Science in January of 1967, Jo Martin found “goggle-eyed parents and children all thoroughly soaked but intently studying” the rockets outside.  Inside the Hall, “instant bedlam” was the scene.

 

Read all the posts in the NYSCI Archive.

Background

Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, and families– by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement, and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

 

(Francis Miller with a student visitor at the Hall of Science, circa 1967.)

Francis Miller was the first Executive Director of the Hall of Science.  He oversaw operations in the Transportation area at the 1964-65 World’s Fair, which included the Hall of Science. He continued on when the Hall became a permanent museum in 1966. He retired in 1971. This profile from 1969 appeared in New Jersey’s The Sunday Record Call.

(click image to enlarge)

Read all the posts in the NYSCI Archive.

Background

Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, and families– by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement, and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

 

We can only guess what became of those transparencies. The Stars & Stripes feature was excerpted in an earlier post. Here are two of the photos that appeared in the article.

The Great Hall has been called everything from futuristic to medieval.  To The Stars & Stripes, it was just weird-looking.

 

Read all the posts in the NYSCI Archive.

 

 

Background

Since its founding at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) has inspired millions of people—children, teachers, and families– by offering creative, participatory ways to learn and encouraging people to explore their curiosity and nurture their creativity. Located in Queens, the most ethnically diverse county in the country, NYSCI welcomes 500,000 visitors each year and serves thousands more through outreach in schools, teacher professional development and participation in a variety of public events and research initiatives.

NYSCI is a leader in the science museum field, recognized for its highly regarded exhibitions, programs, and products, all of which are informed by strategies of engagement called Design-Make-Play. The defining characteristics of Design-Make-Play — open-ended exploration, imaginative learning, personal relevance, deep engagement, and delight — are the ingredients that inspire passionate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learners. NYSCI engages diverse communities of learners, particularly young people, in STEM, by fostering the excitement of self-directed exploration and by tapping into the joy of learning intrinsic in young people’s play. Our transformative model for STEM exploration invites broad participation and makes engagement and learning irresistible.

NYSCI has approximately 120 full-time and over 180 part-time staff members.

About the Position

When the Hall of Science opened as a museum in September 1966, it was an instant attraction. In the first three weeks, 25,000 people visited. “Frankly the acceptance of the Hall has passed everyone’s wildest expectations,” Francis Miller, the Executive Director, was quoted in the World Journal Tribune. “We are packed all the time, and on Sundays it’s wall-to-wall people.” The Hall offered classes that introduced schoolchildren to scientific-thinking. The waiting list stretched to the end of the year.

But the exhibits were a patchwork, and the facility built as a World’s Fair pavilion still had a way to go before becoming a proper museum. There was no shortage of vision. Plans called for expansion across 23 acres of Flushing Meadow Corona Park. One early consideration was to annex the Federal Pavilion (now the site of Arthur Ashe Stadium) at the opposite end of a campus that would span the Grand Central Parkway and include a life sciences center, exhibits on physics, oceanography, behavioral science, industry and transportation. On the 111th Street perimeter, the Atomic Energy Commission would install the country’s first Atomarium, a nuclear reactor built as a public display for educational and research purposes—a five-story amphitheater where visitors could look down through a 16-foot-wide peephole at a pool 23-feet deep to where the reactor’s core glowed blue.

Who would design this new Hall of Science? Robert Moses thought someone other than Wallace Harrison should be retained. Moses found Harrison’s original pavilion “too much form, too little function,” and thought someone “less busy” would be better for the job.

Apart from curatorial coherence, there was one other critical element missing. Money.

Mayor Lindsay committed $3 million in the spring of 1966. By the following June, the expansion pricetag was estimated at $10 million. This would provide for a new 190,000 square-foot building to house the Atomarium (the exhibit itself would be funded with $4 million from the Atomic Energy Commission), plus classrooms and laboratories. The Hall of Science had to find another $1.5 million from foundations and individuals for exhibits and programs. Lindsay said this would be just step one of an expansion that would make the Hall of Science “a cultural center equal to the Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center and other such great institutions.”

Next, we’ll see what became of all this early exuberance.

 

The NYSCI Archive: Rediscovering 50 years of stories about a science museum and its City.