Member since Dec 10, 2009



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Re: “The Curious Society

I am the former Director of Flandrau and changed the name from Flanrau Planetarium to Flandrau Science Center. We had plans to create an off campus site and partnered with several business people, actually forming a non profit organization and was pushing towards the downtown location. I won't name others, but our prime leader was owner of a large Tucson company and when Rio Nuevo started getting real life we offered to help or become a part, we even had some commitment from the Smithsonian to participate. We felt at that time that the UA, with all its wonderful research, should be involved in some way, but not as the owner or manager. In any event, the City told us we need not be involved, and the University and City took over the Science Center concept, which now over ten years later seems to be dead.
I take pride in saying I hired Joe Ruggiero when I was Flandrau Director. Joe and I had plenty of arguments over time, but I took his advice far more than my own position, and for my money he is absolutely the best. He is a design genius, but more importanlty, he knows what truns kids on. He will pull this off.
I might add that when I first took Flandrau as an assignment I visited almost every science center in the country. I was amazed and awed by some of the well known large ones, Exploratorium, OMSI, COSI, and many more. But what amazed me was place like Acton, where two old houses next to each other were purchased with one turned into a science center and the one next to it into a children's museum. To my amazement they had many of the same exciting hands-on exhibits as the big ones at both places, and at each visit there I found it packed with kids. All of them getting turned on to science.
In Tucson we did have Flandrau Science Center, but in our wisdom, when hit with budget woes, the first thing to go is education, so down the tubes went Flandrau and lots of other great UA outreach programs.
Joe, I'm 100% behind you, I do think if anyone in town can pull this off it is you. As a retired UA Professor and former Flandrau Director, I have limited financial resources. If I happen to win the lottery, your science center will get a huge chunk of it!
Jack D Johnson
UA Prof Emeritus
President, SciEnTeK-12 Foundation
Director Emeritus, Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair

Posted by jackdj on 12/10/2009 at 11:08 AM

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