At the tail end of May, 443 days after its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tech Interactive, San Jose’s family-friendly science and technology center, reopened to the public. Throughout the busy day, staff was visibly enthusiastic to see its community members again.
On May 29, Tech CEO and president Katrina Stevens and board chair Chris DiGiorgio welcomed families back to the 132,000-square-foot center, guests lining up as early as 9:30am to experience the Tech’s uniquely artful blend of science, technology, and natural history.
Stevens, who assumed her position in October, was ecstatic not only to welcome back the public, but also the Tech’s staff, who made the reopening possible following last spring’s seamless transition to virtual and hybrid programming.
“We’re still thinking about what we can do to help our community, but also making sure our staff is taking care of themselves,” she says, noting that this was the first time she’s met many staff in person. The team is following Santa Clara County Public Health guidelines to ensure safety, and the museum will require masks and physical distancing for the foreseeable future—even after the statewide reopening on June 15th..
The event kicked off with fifth grade teacher Julie Hart of Forest Hill Elementary and her student Catherine entering the premises, marking the importance of all the hard work educators have done throughout the pandemic.
“It’s wonderful to be teaching in this direction, and this programming is what we need to continue to promote in our classrooms,” Hart says.
Throughout the last year, Hart has used lesson plans from The Tech’s programming—such as the Engineering and Design Challenge—to keep her students interested and engaged. An alumna of the Tech Academies program, which provides professional development to educators in underserved communities, Hart says she was grateful to see The Tech’s most recently opened exhibit Solve for Earth focus on sustainability practices with hands-on examples from Bay Area cities. The exhibit had a notable effect on her student Catherine.
“This is her first time at a museum, and she and her family have already signed up for a yearlong membership,” she says.
Stevens and her partner were likewise enthusiastic to visit the center Saturday, and are looking forward to bringing back the extended family.
“I have 22 nieces and nephews, and all of them are super excited,” she says. “I’m so excited to be able to share this with them.”
The Tech will be open weekends and holidays this summer as vaccination rates increase and families return to the facility.
The Tech Interactive
Now Open, $25/adult, $20/child
201 S. Market St., San Jose