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MiSci helps families ring in the new year—a few hours early

MiSci helps families ring in the new year—a few hours early

New event gives families a day of activities at Schenectady science museum
MiSci helps families ring in the new year—a few hours early
MiSci's Tyler Kellogg helps kids pull the strings to free the confetti in the "Noon Year's Eve" ball on Tuesday.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

SCHENECTADY -- Around the time that Thailand ushered in a new year and new decade Tuesday, so did scores of kids at miSci’s new New Year’s Eve celebration, complete with a New Year’s countdown and ball drop.

“Pull it! Pull it!” kids chanted before a 15-second countdown commenced at the Museum of Innovation and Science’s “Noon Year’s Eve Celebration,” and a paper mache ball handcrafted by museum staff burst open with a stream of confetti.

The event emerged after the museum’s staff found it difficult to schedule other programs during the holiday break with both Christmas and New Year’s falling in the middle of the week. So the museum’s education team organized a day of activities to showcase ongoing exhibits, community groups and give parents an excuse to get out of staying up late – maybe. The ball already dropped at miSci, after all.

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“Most folks don’t want to get trapped staying up until midnight,” said Tyler Kellogg, miSci’s vice president of education.

Some of the youngsters at miSci on Tuesday suggested they planned to make it midnight and New York’s true entry into 2020, but few of them had resolutions ready at hand.

“I want to train my new puppy,” said 9-year-old Ana Kuftiak, of Clifton Park, who was at miSci with her brother Xander, 7, and their grandma.

“Their parents are off picking up their puppy right now, so she means it,” said Madelyn Thorne, grandma of Ana and Xander.

Thorne, who lives in Schenectady, said she has been bringing her kids and grandkids to the science museum for decades; she said she hopes the museum makes the New Year’s Eve celebration into an annual event.

“The first thing they ask is can we go to miSci,” she said of her grandkids visiting her in Schenectady.

The event’s activities were mostly winter themed. Kids could explore different animal furs and learn about how fat works as insulation against the cold; kids drew penguins and learned about the science of snowflakes. They also crafted their own kazoos, ready for use to celebrate the onset of 2020.

“Everyone should have a noisemaker come midnight, or all day long,” Kellogg said.

The broader museum and its ongoing exhibits were also open to the families who attended the celebration. The museum is currently showcasing its first-ever exhibit built out of its own collections – an exhibit on the history of cooking the museum plans to rent out to other museums around the country. The cooking exhibit, called Insatiable, shows off scores of kitchen gadgets ranging from original GE iceboxes to modern-day conduction stoves.

The hurricane simulator was a fan favorite.

“It’s pretty much amazing,” 8-year-old Faizan Mamun said after he stepped out of the museum’s hurricane simulator with friend 9-year-old Max Kennerly. “Winds go up to 119 miles per hour.”

The pair of Niskayuna students said they were underwhelmed by the ball drop, but they appeared pleased with the day as they left the hurricane simulator before battling each other with magnets.

“It didn’t really go as fast as I was hoping for,” Faizan said of the ball drop.

“It was OK,” Max said.

The event drew a packed crowd to the science museum, filling the parking lot before 11 a.m. Over 100 people ordered pre-sale tickets for the event, and museum staff had counted over 300 people in attendance as of 12:30 p.m. Kellogg, who helped organize the day’s activities, said he hopes to continue the New Year’s Eve celebration next year.

“Our whole hope is we can get families to come out and experience things together,” Kellogg said.

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