Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Science centre for all ages, Kiewit Luminarium opens in Omaha

The Exploratorium is celebrating the grand opening of Kiewit Luminarium, Omaha’s first dedicated science center for all ages. Kiewit Luminarium opened to the public on Saturday, April 15, 2023, culminating a four-year partnership between the Exploratorium, Heritage Omaha and architecture firm HDR to shape the Luminarium’s vision, design, exhibits, and programs alongside local community leaders. Project partner Kiewit Corporation is a Fortune 500 construction company based in Omaha.

Kiewit Luminarium is one of the biggest projects to date from the Exploratorium’s Global Collaborations team, which partners with civic agencies and organizations around the world to co-create extraordinary learning experiences in science, art, and human perception. Since 1980, the Exploratorium has worked with national and international partners to ignite curiosity in their communities, from collaborating on exhibits for established institutions to building new science centers from the ground-up. Silva Raker, the former Senior Business Director of Global Collaborations, became Kiewit Luminarium’s CEO in 2021.

“We are proud to be partners in making science accessible to Omaha and the surrounding region through playful, inquiry-driven experiences,” said Anne Richardson, the Exploratorium’s Chief Global Officer. “Kiewit Luminarium embodies the values and aspirations of the surrounding communities and the ways in which science, technology, engineering and math are integrated into their lives. We can’t wait to see visitors engage with the exhibits and discover new ways of seeing the world.” 

Kiewit Luminarium features more than 120 interactive exhibits, many of which reflect the unique history and culture of Omaha, the city’s connection to construction, agricultural and financial industries (Omaha is home to to the global headquarters of Berkshire Hathaway), and the relationship to the Missouri River, beside which the center sits and a new riverfront development is set to open this summer.

Visitors can explore math concepts including financial literacy and immersive geometry, such as a giant stellated icosahedron, truncated octahedron, and gyroid. There are also exhibits on applied technology in farming, clothing design and city design, as well as a series of original short documentaries featuring diverse storytellers from across the region engaged in STEM-related work and acts of care.

“The opening of Kiewit Luminarium is the culmination of a multi-year collaboration between the Exploratorium and the greater Omaha community,” Raker said, “including visionary leaders, committed partners, and a dazzlingly diverse community that is highly engaged, ready to learn together, and willing to invest in itself. This deeply intentional work now brings us to an exciting beginning, in which we are building on the Exploratorium’s extraordinary history of global impact.”

Kiewit Luminarium’s opening comes amid a milestone year for the Exploratorium’s Global Collaborations work. Most recently, the Exploratorium partnered with Brazil’s Serviço Social da Indústria, or Social Services for Industry (SESI), to open SESI Lab, an interactive science center in the capital city of Brasilia in November 2022. The Exploratorium is also collaborating with The Scientific Center Kuwait to design two new galleries for its museum in Salmiya: Kuwait, Earth, Universe and Engineering Our World. Additionally, the Exploratorium is working with a partner to develop a large-scale science center in East Asia, and is in early-stage planning with Nemayiana AMST for a science center in Kenya. 

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