Niagara Gazette

Communities

September 4, 2013

Niagara Science Museum goes to school

Niagara Gazette — Since he opened the Niagara Science Museum several years ago, Nick Dalacu has been relentless in his efforts to get people through its doors. 

Listed as one of "the top ten museums for geeks," by Listverse.com and getting support from national museum experts as well as rave reviews on sites including TripAdvisor.com, the white-haired Romanian physicist can't seem to inspire many locals to visit his little museum, located inside the former National Carbon building at 3625 Highland Ave.

He imagines the place filled with students and science buffs of all ages, admiring his wide-ranging collection of scientific gadgets and exhibits, everyone looking at bugs under microscopes and watching demonstrations on electricity and radio waves. And some people seem to have caught his fever.

Retired Niagara Falls chemist and museum volunteer Carl Slenk calls the museum a "fantastic hidden gem," and said Wednesday that "one of my frustrations is trying to think of how the community can support it."  

Mayor Paul Dyster is a supporter and has talked the place up, as well as bringing local leaders to visit. He says the museum displays "bring some of the mystery and romance back to science, which is the way that people get interested in science in the first place."

And recently, state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, promised Dalacu to write letters of support to area foundations, asking them to consider assisting the museum with grant support.

Occasionally tourists wander off the beaten path to make their way to the museum's door and groups of students come on field trips from surrounding schools or summer camps.  But, not nearly enough people come to satisfy Dalacu, a man who has built the museum because he passionately believes that kids should love science — or at least understand it better than they do. Though he gets discouraged, he is always trying to figure out a way to gather support, talking and meeting with as many city leaders as possible to get more people to support his efforts.

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