Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.

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Believe it or not, after several moves, Southeast's renowned science museum is turning 75 years old

DAVID F. ASHTON - Its still the OMSI Turbine Hall - but now its considered the epicenter for science, technology, engineering, art, and math learning. As the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) celebrates its 75th anniversary, they've been making changes, including the transformation of the "Turbine Hall" – the big room with the old PGE steam turbine in it – into a place for kids and their families to learn about STEAM.

"Back in the day, steam power created electricity for Portland," recounted OMSI President and CEO Nancy Stuber. "Now, in this room, we're presenting STEAM – 'science, technology, engineering, art, and math' education – in a way that positively impacts our guests and our community!

After testing different ways of effectively presenting STEAM topics in different areas of the museum, and learning how to help people to solve problems, Stuber said, "We have 'taken it to scale' using the Turbine Hall exhibit area.

"Here, we'll be inviting families to solve problems, and use design thinking, to come up to solutions to problems that we face in our community, and which are faced around the globe," Stuber told THE BEE.

When the building was originally renovated for OMSI, the Turbine Room was home to its Physics Lab, Chemistry Lab, Curium and Epicenter. Now, it hosts what OMSI calls "Innovation Stations" – offering hands-on learning experiences.

"At these Innovation Stations, we tell stories, and pose problems – presenting modern society's biggest challenges in a way our guests are likely motivated to try to solve," explained Stuber.

On the upper level, created for older youth, is the new "Teen Tech Center", which is a multimedia and creative technology-focused "maker" space, specifically for those ages 13-18.

"We provide space, materials, and support so teens can express themselves creatively, and gain hands-on experience with high-tech tools and programs to help them explore careers, and perhaps find pathways to higher education," Stuber remarked.

If you haven't explored the Turbine Hall with your kids lately, go take a look. Find out more about OMSI online – www.omsi.edu


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