COREY: Please state your name, title and what you do at miSci. How long have you been here?
GINA: My name is Gina C. Gould and I have been the President of miSci for the past four years. Like most museum professionals, we all wear a lot of hats. In my role as president, I mainly focus on big picture things like the care and preservation of miSci’s invaluable archives and collections, ensuring we are creating cutting-edge, place-based educational programs for our audiences. Making new friends in and around the Capital Region.
From Innovation to Inspiration
COREY: You oversee a collection that represents so much technological development for our country and the world in general. All this while being located in a city with an important provenance in the tapestry of innovation. How and what do you focus on in a typical day to push that forward? To create meaning from it…
GINA: miSci’s team spends all of its time developing exhibitions and programs that focus innovations. These areas include science, technology, engineering, art and math. We dabble in past, present and future. We want everyone, regardless of their age or interests, to understand and appreciate that these innovations are what change society and the world. For the good, bad and sometimes ugly. Their lives are surrounded, every second of every day by these innovations that dictate how we live our lives. By understanding these concepts, we hope to provide our youth inspiration. It is that inspiration that will help them to change our world. And for adults, we hope to provide them with enough information to be informed citizens of the world.
Opening Young Minds
COREY: The past establishes a foundation for the future. As such, where do you see yourself taking the organization to make it as impactful as the history it represents?
GINA: For a long time, miSci neglected what is in its basement. This is where there are some of the worlds “first” inventions of the 20th Century that changed the world. Unlike other science museums that focus on natural history or early human innovation, miSci’s collections focus on a wide breadth of innovation from lighting the world to renewable energy that will save the world. The general concepts that each object miSci houses, from toasters to jet engines, can be brought down to the basics of such things as heat transfer or combustion. All of these phenomena are what children learn in school. Showing them “firsts,” such as the first toaster, or first dynamo, connects the past to the present and makes it real, tangible. It’s something they can touch if not something they have in their homes, albeit is a more modern form.
A STEAM Collective
COREY: How do you see miSci growing its value proposition to the City of Schenectady and why is this important?
GINA: With our growing partnership with Clarkson University, the City of Schenectady School District, the Schenectady Historical Society, and Union College, together we will become a STEAM learning and research center for people of all ages.
Placemaking In Action
COREY: I am super excited that you will be hosting an onsite event in conjunction with the NEMA 2022 Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit this month that will be held in downtown Schenectady. Maybe we can bring in your partner Lorraine Cox (Co-Producer at NEMA 2022) on that to talk about how that production team came to partner up with miSci.
Lorraine: The summit is both a sharing of the rich creative placemaking activities happening in this region of the country, as well as a space to inspire and empower placemakers to build new and better partnerships, projects, programs and policies. That would include right here in Schenectady and the broader Capital Region. Creative Placemaking is a strategy that can support the goals of miSci making this a great opportunity to further discuss and flesh out what that might look like. Gina has taken her institution to a new level using these collaborative principles. We felt that miSci would be the perfect real world example of the power of this approach.
See For Yourself
COREY: ACE is excited to play a part of what you have coming up later this month! Gina, I have to say, I have been wanting to do an event here for some time. Can you tell us a little more about what to expect from the Creative Networking Happy Hour event on the 21st?
GINA: Attendees will see how miSci is evolving to become not only a Regional Science Museum but also a community-based museum that specializes in place-based, immersive hands-on STEAM learning. Additionally, we are planning on making a special announcement regarding a new national program that miSci will be instituting that will create commission opportunities for regional designers, makers and artists so make sure to be there for that!
We are excited to announce the first ACE Creative Networking Event of 2022 will be held at miSci in conjunction with the NEMA 2022 Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit. These events always well supported, advance RSVP is recommended and appreciated.