COSI celebrating 55 years in Central Ohio

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– Fifty-five has never looked so good! 

“March 29, 1964, we open our doors as COSI. Fifty-five years later, we are still that really amazing, hands on, exciting place that families, children, and adults love to come,” said president and CEO of COSI Dr. Frederic Bertley.

The Center for Science and Industry was originally housed in Memorial Hall on E. Broad St. in downtown Columbus less than a mile away from where it sits today. COSI opened at its present location in Franklinton as an addition to the old Central High school in 1999. 

Becky Thompson has been bringing her five children to COSI for years. It was also a staple in her own childhood.

“The old location– I still miss it actually,” Thompson said. This COSI is great, but the old one holds so many memories. My favorite memory is being a Girl Scout and doing the overnights there. It was the best.

We see kids coming through, then, their parents, then, they become grandparents. They keep passing down that tradition, because it meant something to them, Bertley added. It was symbolic. It was impactful. It was great, so we want to keep those traditions, and that’s why people keep coming back.

Because of the ever-evolving nature of science and technology, not much from the original COSI from 55 years ago is the same, but some staples like John Glenn’s Friendship 7 replica capsule and the pendulum in the mezzanine remain.

It’s also important that we preserve some of that historical context like the John Glenn pieces, because science is only there to advance the human condition. Part and parcel of that is where are we as humans. History plays an important role in that, said Bertley.

Some may say now after more than five decades in Central Ohio, COSI itself, is becoming part of the history of science. 

“It is such an icon and such a huge resource to have that brings people— not just local people— but people from all over come to this museum, because it’s just so unusual, so well done, not like anything any place else,” Thompson added.

Bertley uses this analogy to describe COSI’s place in history:

When I say to you “football” in this region, what’s the first thing you think about? The Ohio State Buckeyes. So COSI’s symbolism is— when you think of science or you hear the word “science” you think of COSI. And that’s deep. That means we’ve gotten into the psyche. You’re not thinking of Marie Curie or Albert Einstein or searching on Google. If you are in a 100 to 200 mile radius and you hear “science”— BOOM! You think of COSI.

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