Oh Wow! 500,000-Plus ‘Explorers’ Visit Center

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology encourages independent thinking through interactive STEM-based exhibits & EDUtaining programs. The downtown Youngstown museum has served more than 517,000 “explorers” since May 2011, says Suzanne Barbati, president and executive director

In 2019, the Next Generation of STEM Stars initiative was launched with a goal of raising $15 million in 15 years, she says. Investments in the first and second phases total $8 million. Late last year, Oh Wow purchased its site, the former McCrory building, in downtown Youngstown.  

“Oh Wow has been fully self-sustaining thanks to our tremendous staff and support of our community, board, volunteers, members and contributors,” says Chuck George, board chairman. “Phase 3 will relocate our main entrance and add new visual enhancements. New permanent exhibits will introduce our guests to future careers in energy and technology.”

Students from Kent State University’s interior design program were in Youngstown recently to assist with the upcoming enhancements. “This will give KSU students a greater understanding of their potential impact through the lens of community thought leaders and as designers proposing thought-provoking ideas,” says Jill Lahrmer, KSU assistant professor.

And student consultants from Youngstown State University’s Center for Nonprofit Studies made recommendations to assist Oh Wow in meeting 2020 challenges, “which we look forward to implementing,” Barbati says.  

Topics for 2020 are robotics and micro-electronics, she adds. 

In 2019, Oh Wow featured the traveling exhibit Run Jump Fly. The nationally recognized Velocity exhibit arrived in December and is on display through May. “Other exhibits are being considered to allow us to offer new experiences,” Barbati says.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.