Grant Supports Eclipse Programs

Sci-Tech is pleased to receive support from the Simons Foundation as part of its “In the Path of Totality” initiative. These funds will allow our museum to expand programming in support of the Total Solar Eclipse, occurring in Watertown on Monday, April 8, 2024. Watertown is particularly well-placed to view this eclipse, being almost directly on the centerline of the eclipse path, and thus will experience more than three and a half minutes of totality that midafternoon.

The major focus of Sci-Tech activities is to prepare our community


for this truly once in a lifetime event, including the astronomical science of a Solar Eclipse and, most importantly, how to view it safely.

Toward this end, the grant is allowing Sci-Tech to prepare 2 new interactive exhibits: one explaining the physics behind an eclipse (why an eclipse occurs). while the other focuses on solar science, and will include real-time images of our sun, and visible sunspots.

Other activities will be children’s/family hands-on workshops about getting ready for the eclipse, and an adult/highschool lecture exploring cultural aspects of prior eclipses. Each will also highlight safe viewing methods, whether one will attend one of the mass viewing events, or watch from one’s backyard.

Sci-Tech is also partnering with the Watertown Daily Times for a children’s eclipse art contest, with prizes to be awarded for students in 4 age groups: High School, Middle School, Upper Elementary, and Lower Elementary grades.

As an eclipse is a visual event, Sci-Tech will be holding a variety of outdoor astronomy nights in Watertown’s Thompson Park: A Moon (as well as other telescopic objects) viewing prior to the eclipse will be held on March 23; and a post-eclipse telescopic astronomy night on April 20, where the art contest winners will be announced. And, of course, Sci-Tech will have telescopes set up in Thompson Park for the actual April 8th eclipse, as part of Watertown’s “Total Eclipse of the Park” viewing event.

At all of our activities prior to the eclipse, as well as at the April 8th event, Sci-Tech will be distributing thousands of safe solar viewing glasses.

All of Sci-Tech’s eclipse activities, including the eclipse viewing glass give-a-ways, are totally free to the public.

This work is supported by the Simons Foundation and is part of its “In the Path of Totality” initiative.

Help Sci-Tech Recover

Support us through GoFundMe at:!

Or, mail a donation to: Sci-Tech Center, 154 Stone Street, Watertown, NY 13601

Your donation will help to restore the location, replace and update damaged exhibits and equipment, as well as the cost of any repairs. Our goal is to bring back educational and fun experiences to our community.

Your donation will go towards the purchase of new exhibits and equipment, as well as the cost of repairs. Any amount you can give is greatly appreciated.

On January 5, 2023, Sci-Tech discovered up to 3 feet of water filling the basement of its museum facility in Downtown Watertown. Apparently, at some point during the previous 24 hours, while the building was unoccupied, a valve on the fire suppression system had burst. This had allowed about a 1-inch stream of high-pressure water to infiltrate the basement. The valve was one of 2 just inside the basement wall, where the 4-inch pipe enters the building. The reason for the break is not known. The fire suppression system had undergone its annual inspection less than 2 months earlier.

Unfortunately, the basement is Sci-Tech’s primary storage area, as well as the location for numerous building systems. Thus, not only were the heating system, electrical system, and phone/internet system damaged but hundreds of artifacts, records, exhibit components, materials and supplies were also damaged or destroyed. Some of the damage is easily apparent, but some will not be fully known until much later. For example, the high-efficiency boiler was partly underwater, but until electricity can be restored, the extent of damage to it will remain unknown.

The most devastating mechanical problem is the building’s electrical system. An the electrical inspection determined that our entire switchgear needs to be replaced.

Thank you in advance for your generosity. Your donation will help to ensure that our science museum remains a source of knowledge and entertainment for our community.



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