Thursday, February 28, 2013

March Events for Kids and Adults

Connect with us! Come celebrate our 19th birthday with a free day at Headwaters Science Center on March 9, 2013. This will be a fun-filled day with a free pass to the exhibit floor and a 19% discount in The Science Store for all new and current membersThere will be a huge birthday cake and other treats, floor demonstrations by HSC staff and an opportunity to become a member or renew your existing membership before the prices go up in May.

But that's not all.

The Works is coming and you are invited to family engineering night! The Works is a hands-on museum in Bloomington that makes learning about engineering, science and technology interesting, understandable, and fun.
Headwaters Science Center and The Works are joining forces on March 12th 13th and 14th to offer workshops and classroom visits to educators in our community and region. On the evening of Tuesday, March 12th, HSC will co-host Family Engineering Night with The Works.
Come join us as we engage in some hands-on engineering projects. This is a free event, thanks to generous support from Karvakko Engineering of Bemidji, and will be a lot of fun for everyone! Here is the schedule
  • March 12th, 6 to 8 pm. Free Family Engineering Night at HSC, supported by Karvakko Engineering of Bemidji
  • March 13th, Free one-hour classroom workshops at schools K-5, "Super Circuits" or "What Floats Your Boat".
  • March 14th, professional development at HSC:
Session 1: 10:00 to 11:00 am, "What is Engineering"
Session 2:   1:00 to   2:30 pm, "Reverse Engineering"
 There are no fees except $10.00 to cover lunches on the 12th and 14th. Please call ahead if you plan to participate (218) 444-4472 or email

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Behind the Scenes

  By Frank Hazard
There’s always something going on at HSC, with the building of exhibits, repairs, remodeling, and animal care in the background by all of the staff. Behind the Scenes would not be properly done without explaining a little about the building in this first installment.

Many readers already know that the building was remodeled for use as a JC Penney Store in the early 1940s. After JC Penney moved to the Paul Bunyan Mall in 1977, the building evolved a couple more times, becoming a restaurant, hardware store, and finally Headwaters Science Center in 1993. Our building has a number of interesting features; one is the stairway for the 2nd floor apartments of the building to the south of us that hangs into the Science Center. When it is very quiet in the building you can hear the tenants going up and down their stairs, and it sounds like people are in our building. It’s very unnerving the first time you hear it!

We get this space back from the store to the north by way of a room in the basement with an old boiler furnace under the back of the store, accessible only from the Science Center. The old furnace was reputed to heat a number of the buildings on this side of the alley, a common thing in early days. This building in its reincarnation as a JC Penney store was made out of three buildings. The north building was torn down to the basement level and rebuilt from the ground up. The other two were combined at the ground floor level, but the basements were never consolidated beyond having openings to go between them. It makes for an interesting labyrinth of rooms and floor levels and some very challenging lighting.

The grading of the alley has changed over the years behind the building; the alley is now 2 1/2 ft above the main floor level. At one time the alley was low enough to have windows in the basement (the glass now looks out at dirt) and what appears to be a door, going outside up to alley level, is now bricked in.

 A number of people have said that they remember the hot air heaters blowing in the entryway of JC Penney. The massive heaters are still there, but lack hot water from the long cold boiler to heat the air. In all there are many places in the building where time has stood still since at least the early 1940s if not before. Management of old construction is an interesting challenge and keeps us busy with tasks that the public might not see.