Touring MOSAC, Sac’s newest science center

Hey Sacramento, City Editor Matt here. I have a few questions for you: Have you ever found yourself jumping through the air, laughing, as you see yourself on a monitor impersonating a cricket, or taken a selfie to step into the shoes of an astronaut?

Well, I did both those things + more at Sacramento’s newest science center: the SMUD Museum of Science and Curiosity, or MOSAC, which opened in Nov. 2021.

I recently visited the facility to tour its exhibits + get a feel of the space. I’ll go into more specifics, but my overwhelming feeling + experience — quiet wonder.

Nearly 15 years in the making, the new museum is a kind of North Star for the developing River District, and not just because it has the UC Davis Mutliverse Theater — the most technically advanced planetarium in Northern California.

It’s a beautiful building that pays homage to the River City’s past (part of it is in a former steam-powered electricity plant that was constructed in 1912) while boldly looking forward to its future (I can’t get enough of that grey, glinting dome that houses the planetarium).

With so many wondrous touches to explore, I’ll do my very best to call out a few:

  • The cosmic mural by local artist Jose Di Gregorio welcoming visitors — the first hint that nearly every exhibit in the museum features something tied to Sacramento.
  • In “Powering Change” presented by SMUD — there’s not only a video telling the story of a young environmental activist from Sac, there’s an entire wall named “Sustainable Sacramento” showing how our region might be shaped by zero-carbon initiatives.
  • Destination Space” explores the history + science of space travel — things that don’t immediately scream “NorCal” — but lo and behold there’s even a copy of the Sacramento Bee issue on the moon landing.

I couldn’t get enough of these pride-in-place details, a brilliant touch that made the topics — things that can seem tough + unapproachable — accessible. In other words, they brought the science home.

Every exhibit has short, educational activities that make it easy to engage with the material, a huge boon for children + parents. The museum has also recently announced MOSAC Nights — an after-hours series of events geared towards adults + an apparent parallel to the Exploratorium’s After Dark Thursday Nights.

Its first event, dubbed “The Science of Suds,” will feature scientists from UC Davis’ premiere brewing program discussing what goes into a great glass of beer — plus, expert advice on how to pair cured meats + cheeses on a charcuterie board.

So, if you’re wondering, I think MOSAC adds — and will only continue to add — a whole lot mo’ to SAC.

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