COSI to welcome guests back with new exhibitions, continued virtual offerings


A view of COSI in Columbus. Courtesy of Jenna Maffei | COSI

After many months of shut doors and a strictly virtual presence, the Center of Science and Industry will reopen to the public June 3.

Initially closed March 13, 2020, COSI will reopen with new exhibitions lined up. With the aid of technologies and safety procedures, such as the use of ultraviolet light to eliminate airborne germs, COSI will once again give the Columbus community an opportunity to learn about science and innovation, according to a March press release. 

“Being able to open our doors and provide the fun, engaging science experience for the people that love us, we’re looking forward to [it],” Frederic Bertley, president and CEO of COSI, said. “The cool thing about COSI is we’re always innovating and we’re always creating to give the guests the great experience for all ages.”

COSI’s reopening will kick off with “¡Cuba!,” a new exhibition created in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History, Stephen White, vice president of strategic initiatives for COSI, said in an email. Featuring stories on the history of Cuba alongside models and live animals, the exhibition highlights and celebrates the culture and environment of Cuba, according to a February 2020 press release.

“Guests can visit COSI to learn more about the island’s rich history and culture, hear stories of Cuban people to learn about shifting perspectives in the country and learn more about the island’s biological diversity,” White said.

COSI will also showcase various forms of animation through its “Animation Academy” exhibition, which will be unveiled June 26, White said. Both “¡Cuba!” and “Animation Academy” will be included in the price of admission throughout the summer. Ticket prices start at $25 for adults.

Although COSI is opening its doors to guests, it will also continue some virtual events showcased last year, such as the Color of Science program, Bertley said. On the first Thursday of every month, Bertley will interview figures who showcase diversity, inclusivity and equity in STEM professions, according to the COSI website.

Kathy Sullivan, the first female American astronaut to spacewalk, and Camille Schrier, the winner of Miss America 2020, participated in the Color of Science program previously, according to the COSI website. Schrier performed a science experiment as her unique talent to win the pageant.

“She did a science experiment — it’s called ‘Elephant Toothpaste’ — it’s basically an experiment showing you the catalytic experiment, and it was fantastic and she won,” Bertley said.

COSI also partnered with NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, Virgin Hyperloop and Miss America 2020 over the past year to distribute over 40,000 Learning Lunchboxes to children across six states, White said. Each box contains a meal and five different science activities to help encourage interest in STEM fields.

“On top of everything else, we’re going to continue those cool programs for kids,” Bertley said. “Especially for the underserved kiddos and the tougher communities that have been most impacted by this pandemic from further education.”

Bertley said COSI is looking forward to continued work with the community to highlight the importance of science and innovation.

“We’re really excited to bring back this hands-on, really fun science experience,” Bertley said. “One thing that the pandemic showed is that science is really critical, as that’s how we came up with the drugs and therapies through the coronavirus — and of course, that’s how we came up with the vaccine.”

Guests can reserve their tickets ahead of time through COSI’s website for the day that they are visiting, Bertley said. COSI is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.