Celebrating 10 Years of the Connecticut Science Center: A Decade of Dedication with Ed Lane and Claudia Davis

Post Author: Amanda Coletti
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In 2009, the Connecticut Science Center opened its doors as a place of scientific discovery, innovation, and exploration; a centerpiece of the community in Hartford, CT. The Science Center was built by scientists, educators, and business, government, and community leaders who shared a vision to inspire children and adults to increase joy and interest in science. 

Currently, the Connecticut Science Center employs over 70 staff members in a wide range of positions from marketing, visitor services, educational programming, memberships, exhibits, and many more. Some of the original staff members are still working here today. Here, we feature those long standing employees to highlight their perspective on what the Science Center was like when it first opened, how it’s changed over the past ten years, and where they are excited to see it going in the next ten years.

 

Ed Lane 

Director of Facilities and Exhibit Support

I help “keep the wheels turning” with support and guidance from Administration and an outstandingly talented and dedicated facilities and exhibit support team, along with many vendor service providers. My facility responsibilities are many: building maintenance; construction; security and safety services; janitorial services; landscaping. I see my role as supporting each of them by providing the resources, leadership, and guidance they need to get their job done successfully. 

What is your favorite memory of the Connecticut Science Center?

My favorite memory is the acquisition of the large stone slab containing many dinosaur footprints exhibited in the sixth floor gallery that was donated by a Rocky Hill resident, and the challenges we met to get it prepped to be transported to the Connecticut Science Center and brought up to the gallery. 

What is your favorite exhibit/event (past or current) at the Connecticut Science Center? 

My favorite traveling exhibition was Extreme Dinosaurs that opened in April, 2015. We had a new challenge in arranging to have a crane lift a 20 ft. tall, 3,000 lb. Tyrannosaurus Rex from Grove Street up to the southwest corner of the plaza where it was gently lowered into the planter beneath the south tower extension.

What are some changes you’ve noticed at the Connecticut Science Center over the past 10 years? 

There has been so many changes and additions. Most impressive was the transformation of Science Alley from the barren and boring space it was when we opened in 2009 to what it looks like today…the awesome “See The Unseen” themed artifacts…Sperm Whale, Tornado, Volcano, T. rex, Sikorsky Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter, Turbo Fan Jet Engine; Hubble Telescope; Mercury-Redstone Rocket; Deep Sea & Video Aquarium; along with renovation projects such as the Discovery Center Space Lab; Café; Ticketing Counter and Office; Point of Entry, Security Desk; Plaza Leak Remediation Project, and more. 

How has your role at the Connecticut Science Center evolved over the past 10 years? 

During the final months of the building construction my role as Director of Facilities was to work closely with our Administration team to build the department ‘from the ground up’ creating and instituting facility policies and procedures. Beginning in February, 2014 managing the Exhibits Dept. was added to my responsibilities. Essentially, the facilities and exhibit support functions merged to share material and labor resources by creating the current Facilities and Exhibit Support Department. 

What are you most looking forward to seeing happen at the Connecticut Science Center in the next upcoming 10 years? 

I’d like to see the plaza outside of our building enhanced to become more interesting and aesthetically pleasing for our customers to enjoy as well as those passing through to and from the Mortensen Riverfront Plaza. The addition of an enclosed botanical garden built on the plaza could be enjoyed throughout the year and will be very popular during the annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show at the Convention Center.

Claudia Davis 

Operations and HR Generalist 

What is your favorite memory of the Connecticut Science Center?

Walking around as Mrs. Claus & Elf with our VP of Operations, Cherie Sweeney. Cherie wore the Elf costume and looked adorable! It was obvious that Cherie had watched the movie numerous times as she was definitely in character screaming “Santa! Santa’s coming! I know him! I know him!”

What is your favorite exhibit/event (past or current) at the Connecticut Science Center? 

The Butterfly Encounter. It’s a beautiful piece of zen in downtown Hartford.

What are some changes you’ve noticed at the Connecticut Science Center over the past 10 years? 

The growth and development of the Science Center and the staff. It’s amazing to have watched the Visitor Services Staff grow up before your eyes. Most of them were 18 when they started and are now well into their twenties. They’ve grown from young teenagers to great adults. 

How has your role at the Connecticut Science Center evolved over the past 10 years? 

I started as an Administrative Assistant for Cherie and the Operations Team. I still support Cherie and the Ops Team, however, I now have HR responsibilities.

What are you most looking forward to seeing happen at the Connecticut Science Center in the next upcoming 10 years?

Continued success, of course!

 

Amanda Coletti is a Communications Research Assistant at the Connecticut Science Center and a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication at the University of Connecticut, where she studies the science behind science communication.