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State budget earmark announced for Springfield Science Museum

Paul Tuthill
State Senators Eric Lesser and Adam Gomez are joined by Springfield Museums President and CEO Kay Simpson for the announcement of a $100,000 earmark for the Springfield Science Museum's International Space Station exhibit.

International Space Station exhibit is planned

An earmark was included in the Massachusetts state budget to aid the Springfield Museums with a new exhibit.

A $100,000 grant through the state budget will help fund the construction of an International Space Station exhibit – part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar effort to upgrade the entire Springfield Science Museum.

“This support is critical for the on-going work that we are doing on the evolution campaign in the Science Museum,” said Kay Simpson, President and CEO of the Springfield Museums.

The funds were announced by Springfield’s two State Senators, Democrats Eric Lesser and Adam Gomez.

Lesser said the new science exhibit is being planned just as there is new interest in space travel.

“You don’t have to be Jeff Bezos or Elan Musk, we can train astronauts to go up to space starting at a very young age if you get excited about the science, and the math and all the technology involved,” said Lesser.

He called the Springfield Museums “a treasure for the region” and noted its importance as a tourist attraction.

“And it creates immense spin-off in terms of room reservations at nearby hotels, meals at nearby restaurants, and all the other money that comes along with bringing visitors to this facility,” Lesser said.

Gomez recalled that he visited the museums as a child and now takes his own children there.

“These are things that we want to make sure stay in place for generations to come,” Gomez said.

The new exhibit will be a facsimile of the International Space Station module Destiny, explained Science Museum Director Mike Kerr.

“We want to replicate some of the excitement of space exploration and scientific discovery,” Kerr said.

Plans for the exhibit include a “space cart” of astronaut gear that visitors can touch, a display of NASA artifacts, and a live link with the actual space station.

The space station exhibit is tentatively scheduled to open to the public in the spring of 2022.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.