Recently, we had the pleasure of visiting quiet little Binghamton, New York museum called TechWorks. We were actually attempting to hunt down the IBM Museum in Endicott…for the third time. Elusive little devil that it is! The IBM Museum is only open for a few hours on Saturday mornings, as of the last time I checked in on it. So, imagine my excitement when a google search the other day brought me to the website for TechWorks, which I thought was the IBM Museum under a new name, AND it was open during the week on days we’re already in the city for other things.
To be clear, TechWorks was not the IBM Museum we were looking for. That is actually called the Endicott History & Heritage Center and is still open for just 4 hours on Saturday mornings. So, we’ll attempt (yet again) to catch up with them another day.
So, we popped in to see what TechWorks was all about. I’ll be honest, we weren’t expecting much. The plan was to pop in for a few minutes, oogle the surroundings, snap a few pictures, and be on our merry way. Boy were we mistaken!
At the entrance you need to be buzzed in, so don’t take the locked door as an invitation to leave. We were met at the door by Susan, the museum director, who welcomed us and offered to take us on a guided tour. This is not a please touch kind of museum, she warned us. It’s a don’t-touch-unless-I’ve-shown-you-how type of place, which really was very neat.
TechWorks is packed with so many of the great innovations that have been brought to us by the people of Binghamton. There were a speed sled and an Australian bobsled that raced in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which was neat to see and even neater to see how they worked. We were introduced to two different player pianos. One was a real, working nickelodeon that Amelia was able to pop a nickel into to activate. SO neat! They were also displayed so you can see just what makes them tick….which was the case for most of the other really great but long-obsolete messaging, typing, and computing equipment. There was a room filled with different simulators that have been used in the past to train our pilots and astronauts, which you’re encouraged to explore as well.
Our visit to TechWorks in Binghamton was so much more than we were expecting it to be. Our tour guide was incredibly sweet, knowledgeable, and made our visit to her facility engaging and so much fun! The museum was suggested as something appropriate for older children (teens) through adults, but I’ll tell you, my special needs 5 year old really got a kick out of it too. It would also make an amazing supplement to lessons on simple machines, inventors/inventions, and local history for the younger bunch.
TechWorks is located at 321 Water Street in Binghamton, New York. It’s open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 1-4pm and by appointment. Admission is inexpensive at just $5 per person. The next time you’re looking for a fun, family activity, or a unique homeschool group outing, consider one of the guided tours that TechWorks has to offer.