(Photo by Paul Ericson)
It opened in 1912 as the city's municipal museum. Today Rochester Museum & Science Center is much more, with interactive science and technology exhibits, a planetarium, traveling exhibitions, even a charter school.
The museum's focus on science and technology has grown over the years as strengths in those areas became key regional assets. Many volunteers have been longtime employees of Eastman Kodak Co., Bausch & Lomb and other imaging and optics firms. They share their expertise with staff and museum visitors, building exhibitions and staffing activities.
The museum added Strasenburgh Planetarium in 1968. Star shows are made possible by a Zeiss Model VI star projector with a new Watchout wide-screen video system. Giant-screen films on the four-story dome entertain while teaching about science; recent hits featured mummies and volcanoes. Laser light shows set to music are popular too.
RMSC also is a regional interpretive center for the Underground Railroad, which passed through town in the years before the Civil War. The museum has a major exhibit, "Flight to Freedom," that shows how abolitionist and Rochester resident Frederick Douglass, among others, helped many former slaves get to freedom in Canada-and escaped slavery himself.
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