Schenectady’s miSci receives $75,000 grant; To help fund first traveling exhibition

FILE - The main entrance to miSci, the Museum of Innovation & Science in August 2020.
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FILE - The main entrance to miSci, the Museum of Innovation & Science in August 2020.

SCHENECTADY — The Museum of Science and Innovation (miSci) has received a $75,000 grant which will help fund the museum’s first traveling exhibition.

The $75,000 grant comes from the William Gundry Broughton Charitable Private Foundation. The funding will help support an exhibit titled ‘Let’s Connect! Exploring Communication Technology.” Once the exhibit concludes at miSci, Let’s Connect! will become a traveling exhibit the museum will rent out to other museums over the next decade.

“It’s a pretty important recognition,” the museum’s Vice President of Collections and Exhibitions Chris Hunter said. “This is helping to fund the current exhibit, and after it’s finished at miSci, we’re going to transform the exhibit and create a traveling exhibit that will then go to other museums around the country, so some of the $75,000 is seed money to make that happen.”

The Let’s Connect! exhibit opened at the museum in September and will conclude at miSci on May 14, 2023. The exhibit is about communication and technology.

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“It’s really the story of communications and especially the impact of technology and electricity and electronics and computers,” Hunter said. “Basically about how technology changes the way people communicate with each other.

A lot of the innovations highlighted in the exhibit come from local inventors. A lot of telegraph and radio innovations happened within a few miles of the area, Hunter said. The first telegraph was developed by Joseph Henry at Albany Academy, the vacuum tube, which powered early radios, was developed at the GE Research Laboratory, while the first email ever sent was sent by an Amsterdam native, he explained.

The funding will help support the fabrication of the exhibits interactive components, graphic printing, structural components and the restoration of a rare Collins Analog Radio Broadcast mixer which will be included in the exhibit and was donated by William G. Broughton in 1971.

“There’s also an important connection between this exhibit and the Broughton Foundation. The foundation was created by William Broughton, who was a GE Radio engineer. He and his father, Henry, were some of the first amateur radio operators, so that’s also an important connection.”

“This is a program that we’re just preparing to launch,” Hunter said. “We’ve actually got another one that we’re working on too, we actually had it at the museum in 2019, called ‘Insatiable’ about the science of cooking. The development for that one traveling kind of got delayed due to the pandemic. So we’re focusing on making “Let’s Connect” the first one to travel, and we’re working on revising “Insatiable.”

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