Written by Kevin Heffernan

We didn’t just stop liking science when we grew up and got boring jobs.

Buffalo Museum of Science Director of Marketing and PR, Andrea Gallagher has a message for us older kids: Come have some fun, and a beer.

She’s touting the museum’s moves to create more programming for adults, after seeing them have so much fun with their kids.

“[We’ve] hosted families at day-long science festivals for more than 15 years. From BubbleFEST to DinoFEST to MessFEST, we amp up our activities around a particular science topic and include more hands-on activities, demonstrations and learning opportunities throughout the museum. What we saw time and time again is parents and adult family members engaging in these activities alongside the kids… and having a blast doing it.

“This, along with just observing adults in the Museum every day interacting with the exhibits and experiences, told us there was a big opportunity to engage with adults in a more meaningful way.”

The museum has been changing.

Over the last six years, there’s been top to bottom changes. Literally at the very top of the building with the Kellogg Observatory’s renovation and reopening, down to the brand and tagline of the museum itself. If you’ve followed the journey of the Museum over the last decade, you’ll know this rebrand was a long time coming. In 2010, the Buffalo Museum of Science set off on an aggressive path to renovate all of its permanent exhibits into interactive “science studios.” The final studio, Buffalo in Space, opened last year, and the planned renovations officially wrapped in July with the reopening of the observatory. In other words, the Museum you remember from your childhood field trips is now a completely different place.

“But, after making such dramatic physical changes, we took a step back and realized that the way we presented and talked about ourselves hadn’t changed. It became clear that many people in our community either thought of us as the museum from their childhood, or a place just for children. We needed to show the Buffalo Museum of Science is neither of these things – we’re new and interactive, with exhibits and programming for guests of all ages.”

What effect has adult programming had on the museum? Have memberships gone up? Have adults returned after attending one?

The Museum has always been a place for guests of all ages. Each science studio was redone with guests of all ages in mind. The Science After Hours events (See below), SciNight workshops (See below) and Behind-the-Scenes Tours (See below) have just given the community an opportunity to engage with us in a new way. We’re seeing Science After Hours attendance grow after each event – we’ve gone from 50 or so people earlier in the year to more than 200 guests at Frankenscience in October.

Plus, based on feedback we received from Science After Hours and SciNight attendees, we rolled out a new Dual Membership level in July, which offers membership perks for two adults in the same household.

What is “Find WHY” Lifelong learning all about?

We worked with the talented team at Crowley Webb to help us overhaul our brand and “reintroduce” the Museum to the community. In addition to a new, fresh visual identity, we introduced the tagline “Find Why,” which also served as the focus of our launch campaign. “Find Why” is the truest representation of who we are as an institution of learning. The question “why” has moved science forward for thousands of years – finding one answer often leads to the next question. Asking questions is also something transcends age. We want visitors of all ages to engage with our exhibits and have some of their question answered, but leave the Museum with more questions than when they arrived.

Has the way the museum talks about itself changed? Where are you all headed?

At its core, the Museum’s mission has remained the same – we believe science creates opportunities and shapes our world. We’ve always been a place for people to understand how science shaped our past, how it works in the world around us, and how it will play a major role in pushing humanity forward. But the new brand has given us the opportunity to present ourselves to and engage with the community in a way that better reflects who we truly are. We hope that our new identity, coupled with the expanding suite of adult programs, is urging people think differently about the Buffalo Museum of Science.

In regards to where we’re headed, coming off the reopening of the Kellogg Observatory, the Museum is solidifying its position as the authority in astronomy and planetary science in the community. Each Wednesday night we offer observatory viewing (weather permitting) and shows in our indoor planetarium. We’re looking to significantly expand our space offerings in 2019, so keep an eye out for astronomy-focused adult workshops and larger-scale viewing events. Plus, we’re already looking toward the total solar eclipse in 2024 when Buffalo will be in the path of totality!

Is the Tifft partnership simply a co-brand on events? Is there a formal relationship between the two entities?

The Museum’s relationship with Tifft seems to be one of the community’s best kept secrets… and we wish it wasn’t the case! The Buffalo Museum of Science and Tifft Nature Preserve have been sister sites since 1982; both are operated by the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences. We refer to Tifft Nature Preserve as the Museum’s living collection. Plus, Buffalo Museum of Science members receive 10% off programming at both sites.

Upcoming events in the near and far future, inside and outside, check ’em all out:

Adult DinoFEST

Friday, November 9, 2018 | 6-9:00 p.m.

For one night, the Museum will turn into an adults-only prehistoric paradise with dino activities, cash bar and life-like dinosaurs running amok! Check out exclusive fossils from our Collection and become a real paleontologist by mining for authentic fossils and teeth in our running sluice. Stop by and learn about the discovery of the Museum’s rare Elephant Bird Egg with the Buffalo State College Garman Art Conservation Department. If you build up an appetite, grab a plate of tasty BBQ from Dinosaur BBQ and for that insta-worthy shot, pose in the jaws of a massive Megalodon!

Tickets are available here: https://13520.blackbaudhosting.com/13520/Adult-DinoFest


Home for the Holidays Trivia with Quizmaster Dennis George

Friday, December 28, 2018 | 6-9:00 p.m.

What better way to wrap up the holidays than flexing your trivia muscles with Quizmaster Dennis George at the Buffalo Museum of Science?! Dennis George’s Quizmaster Game Show is an edge-of-your-seat event, complete with buzzers, whistles, music, score boards and prizes. You may have seen Dennis in Las Vegas, aboard a Disney Cruise ship, or even at Buffalo’s own National Chicken Wing Festival!

So whether you’re home for the holidays or spending time with people who are, grab a drink, check out the Museum and participate in mini quizzes and games throughout the evening!

Tickets are available here: https://13520.blackbaudhosting.com/13520/Home-for-the-Holidays-Trivia-with-Dennis-George

SciNight Adult Workshops at the Museum

Dive a little deeper into science with our hands-on SciNight workshops. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere to explore trending science topics and art concepts.


SciNight Series: pH Drinks

Wednesday, November 28 | 6:30-7:30 p.m.

$15 per participant, Buffalo Museum of Science members save 10%

Who ever said chemistry was boring? Learn valuable mixology skills with some color-changing herbal help. (No alcohol will be consumed)

Tickets: https://13520.blackbaudhosting.com/13520/SciNight-pH-Drinks

SciNight Series: Festive Lights with Arduino

Wednesday, December 5 | 6:30-8:00 p.m.

$15 per participant, Buffalo Museum of Science members save 10%

Working from scratch, you’ll use Arduino (circuit board with accompanying software) to tinker and code to create colors with LEDs.  Each participant will take home an Arduino to practice those newly learned skills! This workshop is presented with Canisius College.

Tickets: https://13520.blackbaudhosting.com/13520/SciNight-Festive-Lights-with-Arduino


SciNight Series: Wreathed in Reading

Wednesday, December 12 | 6:30-7:30 p.m.

$15 per participant, Buffalo Museum of Science members save 10%

Create a book wreath for the new year from the pages of yesteryear in this arts and crafts workshop. Take a look through a wealth of out-of-date science and culture texts to roll and build your own unique decoration.

Tickets: https://13520.blackbaudhosting.com/13520/SciNight-Wreathed-in-Reading

Wednesday Night Kellogg Observatory Viewing Sessions

The Kellogg Observatory has been a part of the Museum’s history for almost 90 years. Named for Jane and Spencer Kellogg, the Kellogg Observatory opened to the public in 1930 and was equipped with an 8-inch f/15 refractor designed by Roland W. Sellew with a Lundin objective. The observatory was closed to the public in 1999 due to needed repairs, and outdated equipment and accessibility.

Today, the Buffalo Museum of Science is proud to open the skies once again to a new generation of explorers. The fully restored Lundin telescope, to be dedicated as the E. E. Both Memorial Telescope in September 2018, sits under a new durable, aluminized steel dome and is powered by state-of-the-art mapping technology. The roof deck and dome pier are both fully accessible for all Museum guests.

Looking for a little date night inspiration? Step into the renovated rooftop Kellogg Observatory and view the night sky like never before. The Buffalo Museum of Science offered regular Kellogg Observatory viewing hours on Wednesday nights from 7:30 – 11 p.m., during and directly following regular extended hours from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Access to the observatory is offered in timed, 30-minute sessions, and led by a trained Museum astronomy specialist (weather permitting). With a viewing ticket, guests will enjoy 30 minutes under the Kellogg Observatory dome, hear from the astronomy specialist about the night sky, and look into the restored Lundin telescope.

The Buffalo Museum of Science roof deck will be open for guests on Sunday afternoons from 12:00 – 3 p.m., where guests can participate in solar viewing (pending availability), or admire the sweeping views of downtown Buffalo. There will be no additional charge to access the roof on Sunday afternoons; no reservations required.

Adults-Only Behind-the-Scenes Collections Tours

Did you know the Museum houses more than 700,000 specimens and artifacts? Get behind the scenes to see what few have seen and explore the Museum’s Collection. Tours are approximately two hours in length. Adults 18+. $25 per participant, 10% off for BMS  Members (includes Museum admission).

Geology Rocks!

Wednesday, November 7 | 6-8:00 p.m.

Holmes! What kind of rock is this? Sedimentary, my dear Watson. Learn why this and other CoRn Y jokes are funny by investigating the Museum’s Geology Collection. Come behind the scenes and see the rock cycle, marvel at our minerals and discover our large fossil collection.

Tickets: https://13520.blackbaudhosting.com/13520/Behind-the-Scenes-Collections-Tour-Geology-Rocks

Cabinet of Curiosities

Wednesday, December 19 | 6-8:00 p.m.

Take a peek into the Vertebrate Zoology Collection’s spine tingling Cabinet of Curiosities to explore the mind bending stories of some of nature’s unique freaks, morbid mistakes and seemingly scientific impossibilities! You truly never know what you might encounter in the Cabinet!Tickets: