We at Gateway to Science talk a lot about “inspiring the scientist in everyone,” so it may sound blasphemous for me to say this, but the key word in that sentence is not science. It’s inspiring. Both of my kids, now adults, grew up very much inspired by Gateway to Science and the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM). It was not possible – not even conceivable – to visit Minneapolis and not include a day at SMM.
In fact, my decision to get involved as a volunteer and board member at Gateway to Science was entirely inspired by my kids, especially my son, Jonah. I don’t know if it was our first visit, back when it was in the mall, but I remember being amazed at how mesmerized he was at a presentation by a visiting scientist. Something about prisms, as I recall. After that day, he became a regular at the science center, and the day he reached the age to legally get a job, he went straight to Gateway to Science, got a student staff job, and worked there until he left for college. By then, he was Assistant Gallery Director. He is now waiting to hear on jobs he applied for at SMM and the Children’s Museum, hoping to become a fabricator of awesome – and awe inspiring – interactive exhibits. Also, my daughter is an animator. An artist, yes, but also a coder and a bit of a graphic engineer.
When I was a kid, I was only aware of three options to keep me occupied – sports, music and scouting. I enjoyed all three, and they taught important principles like teamwork and discipline.
Also, my family camped a lot, so I got to engage with nature (you know, like poison ivy and sunburn). I can only imagine how much more engaging those camping trips could have been if they were supplemented by an understanding of science.
The word “science” calls to mind test tubes, foaming fake volcanoes and best of all, explosions. But it’s so much more than that. Science is about how we engage with the world around us, including other people. It’s about how to think. The Scientific Method* will be applied to finding a vaccination for the coronavirus, but can also be applied to choosing the best fishing bait for this time of year, or how to train your pet.
What I needed to help me make sense of this wonderful world was a science center. More to the point, I needed scientific inspiration.
This is why Gateway to Science is so important to me, and why I hope you will see what an important fixture it is in our community. It is more than a tourist attraction or a good place to go for a field trip (although it is certainly both). I hope you’ll see it as among the most important offerings we have for the future of our community and our state – our children.
Now more than ever, our community needs this science center, and this science center needs our community. We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way yet to go. If you can give, even a little, please click the link below and give to this important effort.
~ Jeff Eslinger, Gateway to Science Board Member
* Do you remember learning about the Scientific Method in school?
- Ask a question
- Research it
- Form a hypothesis (educated guess)
- Analyze the data
- Draw a conclusion