SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Museum of Science and Technology has not been able to show a film on their domed screen since the pandemic started… until this weekend, with the opening of a project 18 months in the works. It’s the newly renovated two and a half million dollar National Grid ExploraDome.

“The tech was getting a little dated,” says Alberto Bianchetti, regional director for National Grid, the project’s naming sponsor. “National Grid is going through a transition of technology to clean energy. The MOST has to do the same thing and we were proud to support that.”

The newly-renovated theatre is absolutely state-of-the art. Digital projection with 26 and half million pixels. And a sound system that will shake the walls.

There’s nothing like this in the region. In the state. There’s only four of these in the entire world.

MOST president Lauren Kochian.

The MOST can now project feature films and other special events. And the ExploraDome is the new home of the MOST’s very popular planetarium show, with a much larger seating capacity than ever before. It all expands the hands-on museum’s charter mission, to introduce kids to science and technology. “We hope kids better understand their studies,” Kochian says. “We hope they want to go on to be the next great inventor or doctor, and it really does start at this level, at a young age, getting kids interested in science.”

The most important goal behind this whole project is to maintain a feeling that’s been here at the MOST from the very beginning. To spark a sense of wonder in children’s eyes.

“It’s one of the reasons I come to the museum every day,” says Chris Perrine, the MOST’s senior director of operations. He remembers coming to the MOST’s predecessor, the Discovery Center, when he was in the sixth grade. “To see that, you know, some times when you have a lot of issues to deal with and problems that you have to solve in my position here, it makes it all worth it when you see kids having a good time and learning something about science.”

The MOST was shuttered for five months by the pandemic. But since they’ve reopened, they say the public is back. Lauren Kochian says they’ve been busier than ever. “Busier than we’ve ever been before the pandemic. Parents are looking for experiences to have again with their kids. Not just for learning, but because they want to do something, you know. They want to get out and enjoy life.”

And there’s a lot here to enjoy, just in time for Spring Break. The MOST is currently open most weeks from Thursday through Sunday. There are special hours for spring break, when the MOST is open from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. every day from Friday, April 8 to Saturday, April 16. It’s closed on Easter Sunday. You can watch trailers and buy tickets for the ExploraDome features, and find out more about Central New York’s hands-on science museum online at MOST.org.