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Nostalgia Alert: Relive Your Childhood with These Vintage Photos of COSI

Do you remember the thrill of your first school trip to COSI, or that sense of wonder as you explored the incredible exhibits?

COSI, our beloved Center of Science and Industry, has been a cornerstone of Columbus education and entertainment since its doors first swung open in 1964. Today, we’re taking a stroll down memory lane with some vintage photos that capture the magic of COSI’s early years. Get ready to relive those cherished memories and maybe share a few of your own!

A Brief History of COSI

COSI started its journey in the heart of Columbus, housed in the grand old Memorial Hall building. Since its inception, it has been a hub of learning and fun, designed to make science accessible and engaging for people of all ages.

In 1999, COSI moved to the renovated Central High School building, continuing its mission but with even more space for exhibits and events. From the Oceanography area to the iconic Space Shuttle exhibit, COSI has evolved, yet some of the classic exhibits continue to live on in our hearts.

Photo Memories

Presidents Hall of Fame (1975-1999)
Imagine walking through the Hall of Presidents, where every U.S. President from Washington to Clinton was depicted. This exhibit, sponsored by Nationwide Insurance, was a place where history came alive, reminding us of our rich American heritage. Photo by David E. Lucas.

cosi oceanography area
Oceanography Area
Dive back into the depths of the Oceanography area where many of us first marveled at the mysteries of the deep sea. It was exhibits like this that made a COSI visit a deep dive into learning and discovery. Photo by David E. Lucas.

cosi entrance in 1986
Time Train: History of Ohio Transportation (1980)
The entrance on East Broad Street once featured signs of the Time Train exhibit, a fascinating journey through Ohio’s transportation history. For those who remember, wasn’t it a thrilling ride through time? Photo by David E. Lucas, contributed by the City of Columbus.

glass atrium at cosi
The Glass Atrium and Biplane (1990)
The glass atrium, constructed in 1974 and a fixture until 2000, once featured a stunning biplane suspended in mid-air. This space, under the illuminated clock from Hawk Jeweler, was like stepping into a different era. Photo by David E. Lucas, contributed by the City of Columbus.

electrostatic generator at COSI
Electrostatic Generator (Permanent after 1972)
The sparks of curiosity flew at the electrostatic generator exhibit! Originally part of a traveling exhibit, its popularity turned it into a permanent and electrifying COSI feature. Photo by David E. Lucas.

cosi lunar capsule exhibit
Space Shuttle Exhibit (1993)
Remember gazing up at shuttle tiles and lunar capsules? This was where many of us had our first awe-inspiring encounter with the vastness of space. Photo by David E. Lucas, contributed by the City of Columbus.

cosi and christopher inn columbus ohio
First COSI Building on East Broad Street (1986)
This photo from 1986 shows the north side of East Broad Street, featuring the original COSI in Memorial Hall. Right next door was the Christopher Inn, part of Columbus’s architectural history. Photo by Nick Taggart.

the focault pendulum at COSI
The Foucault Pendulum
Demonstrating Earth’s rotation, the Foucault Pendulum was not just a scientific instrument but a mesmerizing spectacle, with its multi-colored pegs marking the passage of time. Photo courtesy of the Center of Science and Industry, Columbus, Ohio.

cosi oakley the talking car
Oakley the Talking Car
Oakley, a 1923 Oakland sedan, was not just a car but a storyteller, captivating visitors with tales from yesteryear while blinking its lights. Photo courtesy of the Center of Science and Industry, Columbus, Ohio.

grandeur of rome at cosi
The Grandeur of Rome
The Triumph of Man was brought to life through the Grandeur of Rome diorama, combining visual artistry with words and music to narrate the epic story of human progress. Photo courtesy of the Center of Science and Industry, Columbus, Ohio.

COSI has not only educated but inspired generations of Columbus residents, and these photos are a testament to the timeless connection we share with this incredible institution. Did any of these photos stir up memories for you? Drop a comment below or share this post with friends to keep the nostalgia alive!