Legacy lives on PDF E-mail

Thirteen years later, the legacy of one of Aurora’s most famous native sons lives on.

When Harold “Doc” Edgerton died in 1990, his family and a group of visionary local leaders decided that his hometown should do something special to carry on his love for hands-on learning. Aurora residents know the story well, but there is a new and exciting chapter unfolding now in the center’s unique history, one that would make Doc very, very proud.

The Edgerton Explorit Center will celebrate Doc’s legacy Friday with a special event featuring the famed inventor/scientist/teacher’s son, Bob. The annual fundraiser is always a fun event, but this year there is more reason than ever to celebrate what’s happening at Nebraska’s only hands-on science center.

There is a vibrant energy flowing through the Highway 14 venue these days, and not just from the new plasma screen exhibit. That’s one of many, many new attractions “kids” of all ages can touch with their own hands, thinking they are just playing when in fact they are learning some basic principles of science.

Touch. Explore. Learn. Get excited about science. That was Doc’s vision, his claim to fame, and his life’s calling.

The surge of energy and success at the Explorit Center is especially worth noting at a time when many Nebraska attractions are struggling to make ends meet, especially those in rural settings. It’s a constant challenge to keep exhibits fresh, new and exciting, giving people a reason to come not just once, but again and again and again.

First-year executive director Mary Molliconi and her staff understand that challenge, in fact they have embraced it with vigor. There is always a new display, a new exhibit or a new imaginary project of some kind in the works, which is evident each time you walk in the door.

The end result is a center with lots to see and do, which is attracting visiting school groups as well as individual guests by record numbers. Within the last 12 months, visits both at the center and on the road by the Edgerton On the Move program have increased four-fold, from approximately 24,000 to 100,000. That’s due in part to $70,000 worth of new exhibits, which were funded by additional grants and donations.

Wow! Those numbers are phenomenal, and shed a very positive light on Aurora as a host community.

If you haven’t been to the center lately, do yourself, and your family, a favor and go spend some time exploring a true Nebraska gem.

Kurt Johnson

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