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By Tony Farina

Nick Delacu at his Niagara Science Museum

It may be off the beaten path, but nonetheless there is a hidden gem for visitors, in the original, 1910 National Carbon Company office building, that is home to the Niagara Science Museum at 3625 Highland Ave.

Founder and curator, Nick Delacu, a 71-year-old Romanian physicist with a passion for the preservation of old science instruments, is an Albert Einstein look-a-like, with a razor-sharp mind and an engaging charm, in describing his stock of what one happy visitor described as a collection of “fabulous antiques and gadgets and gizmos that make a physics geek like me all giddy.”

You don’t have to be a physics geek to appreciate Nick’s science museum, but it won’t hurt, because it’s loaded with scientific history, from an analog electronic microscope to a solar car. The curator, in his teacher mode, is the perfect host for explaining what you are seeing and its history.

“We opened the doors in 2009,” Nick told me during a recent visit to his museum, “I’m proud of the concept, a preserving and sharing atmosphere and an educational environment for children.”
When I first walked into the museum, one of the first things I saw was a graphite table that was an original advertising piece for National Carbon, the history of which Nick recounted.

Nick is most excited when he talks about the opportunity the museum provides to stir interest in children with its collection of instruments and gadgets, including a radio room, a power room, and rooftop solar panel that provides all the energy to the museum.

“I’m open seven days a week, from noon to five,” Nick said, and it was clear there is probably no place he would rather be than in his museum educating and informing visitors on the wonderful scientific history inside his walls. Admission is free but there is a small box for donations at the entrance, and a young couple with two very inquisitive youngsters left a generous gift for Nick, a clear sign of how much they enjoyed this bit of Niagara Falls history.

When Nick completed giving me the tour, we sat across the table from each other sharing personal history and talking about how important he considers his calling in promoting scientific interest and educating minds, young and old, about the history that led us to where we are today.

As I left, Nick reminded me that he will accommodate visitors by appointment outside his hours. This gem of Niagara Falls is listed in one of the web’s leading list compilers, www.listverse.com, as one of the “top 10 museums for geeks.” Learn more by visiting www.Niagarasciencemuseum.org.



Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com July 03 , 2012