The return of the original Mathematica exhibit was the impetus for my first visit to the "new" California Museum of Science and Industry, the California Science Center, on July 16, 2002.
Although the main entrance to the CSC is very high tech (left, above), I was heartened to see that the facade on the entrance facing the rose garden was fashioned in the old design (center). In fact, a wing of the old CMSI structure still exists, currently housing administration offices (right).
In the World of Life hall, the old chicken incubator exhibit still exists, albeit in a more modern display case (center), while a brilliant multimedia presentation in the Life Tunnel (right) evokes the quiet mystery which was such an integral part of CMSI's exhibits.
I was sorry to learn that this is Mathematica's final visit, due to an impending sale this fall. As I studied these hallowed displays with a new, more appreciative perspective in my adulthood, I felt the urge to rescue the exhibit and somehow find a way for it to stay at home, where it began and where it belongs.
It was wondrous to watch a new generation of children, desensitized by technology, captivated by these simple yet so complex displays. While the Science Center is well-intentioned and fascinating, it is the ponderous introspection that was the cornerstone of the old CMSI -- and Mathematica, notably. The children exploring the old exhibit for the first time couldn't help but pause in wide-eyed wonder and actually think.
Isn't that the ultimate goal of a science center, after all?