|An Out of this World Success |
Beth Wilson has been managing an interesting project involving SI affiliates and NPR.
It began about two years ago. Producer Richard Paul and a production company named Soundprint approached the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a proposal to do three radio programs about NASA called Out of This World. Paul interviewed Roger Launius, Margaret Weitekamp, and DSH fellow Robert Smith for the show. However, the NSF requested they add an educational component to the proposal before they would approve it.
Paul asked Roger to help them add a learning component, and he passed the request to Education. Beth and team came up with the idea to present interactive video conferences in the Moving Beyond Earth gallery, and the idea was approved and implemented. The conferences, moderated by Paul, are available for NASM visitors and school groups as well as to groups at the affiliates via video link. Thus, "we have both a virtual audience and an audience in person at NASM," Beth said.
The conference participants are aviation and space pioneers. Between one and three conferences have been presented every month since February. The topics are Race and the Space Race and Rocket Girls and Astro-nettes. Each presentation features different pioneers and is videotaped for later use via podcasts, on discs, or via e-mail, thus extending the audience even further.
The conferences sometimes are scheduled to coincide with Family Days, in order to take advantage of the presence the presenters so they can also appear at the Family Day. For instance, when astronauts Leland Melvin and Mae Jemison were here for a Race and the Space Race video conference, they also took part in a panel discussion for the African American Pioneers of Aviation Family Day.
Some of the affiliates who have participated in this program are the New York State Museum in Albany; the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California; and the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, South Carolina.
The original concept -- a three-part program called Out of This World -- is available on iTunes and NPR stations who have purchased the show.
The photo above shows Richard Paul, Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, and Gene Nora Jessen during the Rocket Girls and Astro-nettes program.
|My Rainforest Adventure |
by Brian Mullen
While in Panama last month with my fiancee, Mindy, I reached out to my colleagues at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) for a hiking trip at Barro Colorado Island (BCI), STRI's primary site for the study of lowland moist tropical forests. We arrived at the STRI dock in Gamboa just in time to catch the 45-minute boat ride through the Panama Canal to the island. Once we docked at the island we met our guide, Michelle Quiñones, who immediately led us to the cafeteria to eat a nutritious breakfast before our long journey through the rainforest. In the short walk from the boat to the cafeteria we heard the exhilarating sounds of the rainforest. The howler monkeys alone have loud, piercing calls that fill the entire forest.
After a few cups of coffee and a hefty application of bug repellant we hit the trail. Not even a quarter mile into the trail we spotted a troop of spider monkeys. The spindly limbed monkeys were swinging from tree to tree carrying their little ones on their back and grooming each other. After the excitement of spotting our first troop of monkeys we ran into a "walking tree" which actually moves itself through the rainforest in order to reach the sunlight. I learned that trees and foliage in the rainforest fight just as hard for survival as the animals do.
Continuing on our journey we walked past angry army ants, bullet ants, and leaf cutting ants. We ran into plenty of spider webs housing large, colorful spiders, and spotted a few tarantulas in their holes (who were sleeping since they are nocturnal creatures). Luckily, we didn't run into any snakes. We saw a beautiful toucan that we named "Toucan Sam" and then stopped to rest at the "Big Tree" located in the center of the forest, which is home to many species of bats.
During the second half of our hike we spotted two more troops of monkeys - capuchin and howler monkeys. One of the howler monkeys stopped directly above Mindy and grinned. As Mindy snapped photos, the playful monkey decided to relieve himself and sent Mindy running for cover. He missed but another monkey in the same troop hit the hand rail that Michelle was holding. Thankfully this occurred at the end of our hike and she could wash her hands right away.
Visiting BCI was an incredible experience. The hike was physically challenging but a truly humbling experience - seeing animals in their natural habitat and walking past trees that were many hundreds of years old.
Thinking about going? I've got three tips for you. (1) Bring long socks and wear them over your pants to prevent creepy crawlies, (2) bathe in bug spray, and (3) catch the ferries on time. The ferry makes one trip to the island and one trip off the island each day. If you miss it, you sleep in the rainforest! Photo album
|FROM THE DIRECTOR|
|A Busy Summer |
It may be one of the warmest summers in years, but the heat is not keeping visitors away. Daily attendance has been high all summer and events are drawing enthusiastic crowds.
On the Fourth of July, there were 73,026 visitors in the Mall building and the Udvar-Hazy Center welcomed 5,290 visitors. Although most of us were off, many dedicated staff members and volunteers put in long hours serving visitors until the fireworks began. The annual Independence Day Concert in the Mall building, which featured Max Impact, the premier rock band of the Air Force, had people rocking in their seats, on the floor, and from the balconies.
Become a Pilot Day, now in its sixth year at UHC, featured about 50 military, vintage, recreational, and home-built aircraft as well as a 1939 custom cabin Waco displayed alongside a Lincoln Zephyr and a Ford Model A Woody Wagon, both from 1939. There were educational activities for kids, an on-ground wing-walking demonstration, and tethered hot-air balloon rides. This event requires very specialized planning and coordination. All of the pilots participate at their own expense and several have made the event an annual tradition. According to surveys, nearly half of those surveyed were visiting the center for the first time and three-quarters of participants were "very satisfied," the highest rating possible.
Mars Day!, the annual CEPS celebration of the Red Planet, was a huge success. In addition to interacting with staff scientists, visitors of all ages viewed an actual Mars meteorite and wore 3-D glasses to see images of the planet's surface. There were 18 separate activities, from a demonstration of what radar can reveal about Mars, to a hands-on robot demonstration, to a Red Planet Quiz Show featuring a Martian of Ceremonies. Amazingly detailed views of Mars from the HiRISE high resolution imager on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter were presented and a full-scale model of the rovers currently operating on Mars was on display.
Regular programs will continue throughout July and August, both in the Mall building and at UHC. Ask an Expert sessions and docent tours are attracting large numbers. The Flights of Fancy: Stories for Children readings are regularly drawing groups of the youngest visitors. And because summer is a great time to catch up on reading, there are lots of book-signings, which bring in much-needed revenue.
I would like extend special thanks to all of the staff members and volunteers who are working hard to serve our summer visitors.
|NASM Folks at Folklife Festival.
As most of you know, one of the themes at this year's SI Folklife Festival was "Smithsonian Inside Out." Festival attendees were given a chance to learn what goes on behind-the-scenes at SI.
Many NASM employees from various departments participated. The Education Division coordinated our involvement, which Tim Grove described in a blog post
. Thanks to all of those who demonstrated what great work we do here at NASM! Photo Album
Grant is a Docent. John Grant
served as a science docent at the NASA event "400 Years of Discovery from Galileo to the Outer Planets" on July 15 in the Rayburn House Office Building. The event centered around an exhibit to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo's historic invention of the telescope and discovery of Jupiter's moons, and the discoveries that have followed that historic innovation. Visitors included members
of Congress, congressional staffers, and the public.
|Continuum Sculpture Undergoes Restoration.
You may have noticed something missing on the Independence Avenue side of the Mall building. The bronze sculpture gracing the entrance, Continuum
, has been moved into a wooden enclosure at the west end, next to the McDonald's cart. There a contractor will perform a thorough cleaning and other preservation work before it is put back in place.
The work is necessary because a few small areas of the black sculpture are taking on a green patina. The sculptor, Charles O. Perry, never envisioned the piece turning green, but wanted it to remain black. The green patina can be easily removed and a coat of wax will deter it from happening again.
In addition, the steel column that holds up the 7,000 lb. sculpture and its granite base will be repaired and shored up.
The work is expected to be completed by late summer. The photo above shows the sculpture on a truck ready to be moved.
New Gallery Guides Now on Duty. Perhaps you've seen a lot of college-age people in navy blue polo shirts in the NASM Mall galleries and wondered who they are. They are new gallery guides who handle questions from visitors commonly addressed to uniformed security officers. Their presence allows the security officers greater flexibility to patrol other areas and concentrate on security rather than giving information.
The guides are full-time college students who work when they can fit it in their class schedules. They are on duty year-round at the SI art museums, NMNH, NMAH and NASM.
|Interns at Garber -- Keeping Busy. In this photo, Garber interns Michael Perekrestov and John Holman perform conservation work on the sled carried by Charles Lindbergh on his polar expedition.
Michael and John also joined other Garber interns Stephanie Harris, Mark Leadenham, and Leslie Rothenberg at the UHC cleaning aircraft before Become a Pilot Day. Below are Stephanie and Leslie dusting the MiG 21.
|Send your intern photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.|
A Family from Aviation History Visits the Mall.
Those familiar with the story of Amelia Earhart's solo flight across the Atlantic know that she landed at a farm near Londonderry, Northern Ireland on May 21, 1932. The farm was owned by Robert Gallagher, and after Earhart went to town to phone home about her safe arrival, she spent the night at the Gallagher's.
Recently Dorothy Cochrane hosted seven members of the Gallagher family at the Mall Museum. She showed them the red Vega in which Earhart made her trip, including the interior which they were very excited to see.
Margaret Gallagher Lapsley, the matriarch of the group, is the granddaughter of Robert Gallagher. She presented Dorothy with a family portrait of Earhart that includes her grandfather and father, who was seven at the time, and a poster about Earhart. Read more in this blog post
from Air & Space
Development News. NASM received a gift earmarked for education from the Emerald Foundation Fund. Also, Byron Carter made a donation to Phase Two.
|Comings and Goings. Coming: Heidi Eitel, Exhibits Designer; Leigh Sue, Budget Analyst, Exhibits Design; Marcy Borger, Museum Specialist, Space History; Terri White, Visitor Services Assistant|
Going: Ross Irwin, CEPS, has resigned.
|SI Sunburst Photo. Here is the photo illustration of SI employees posing in the sunburst pattern on July 1.|
|Employees at Work.
In this photo, Carl Bobrow is giving an Ask an Expert lecture on "Igor I. Sikorsky and the Il'ya Muromets." Looks like he has a good-sized audience of docents and others listening to him.
is seen here talking with some young visitors in the recently reopened public observatory.
|Here we see the lofty positions of our three NASM photographers, Dane Penland, Mark Avino, and Eric Long, as they took photos during the SI staff shoot. "No fear of heights" must be a job requirement for a photographer! |
|Welcome Remi. Jennifer and Ben Levasseur welcomed a son on June 26, Remi Joseph, who weighed in at 7 lbs.,14 ounces and was 21.5 inches long. Remi and Jennifer are doing fine. Congratulations Jennifer and Ben!
Welcome Nathanial James Wilson. Liz Wilson and her husband Chris welcomed a new baby on July 14. Nathanial was 7 lbs., 8 oz. and is the second child for the Wilsons. Congratulations to the entire Wilson clan! Photo next month.
|Fourth of July Fireworks. This shot of the SI Castle silhouetted against the fireworks was taken by Eric Long. |
|FINAL WORDS |
Give every man thy ear but few thy voice.