Programs & Events at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center
September 7, 2018: Native American Storytelling with Anne Jennison
Check our Super Stellar Friday section below for info on this fascinating evening. Doors open at 6:30, program begins at 7 PM.
"From Dreams to Orbit" Talk by Tim Gagnon, NASA Patch Artist
September 16, 2018 1:00 PM
Tim’s talk, “From Dreams to Orbit” or How a Shy Nerdy Kid became “The Patch Guy” will educate and (hopefully entertain) people about how mission patches are designed. After the talk, we will host an informal patch workshop where visitors can have the chance to design their own NASA patches. Tim will be briefly available to chat with people about their designs before selling his patches.
Born and raised in East Hartford, CT, a fascination with space exploration and art came early for Tim. He combined these two passions, first as an artist commemorating different aspects of the space program, and then later designing NASA patches to actually contribute to the space program. Some of his most famous artworks include “On the Shoulders of Giants” a 4’ x 8’ acrylic on board of the 12 moonwalkers, “One Small Step… For a Woman” in honor of Eileen Collins becoming the first woman to command a spaceflight, and “Past is Prologue” a 48” x 24” piece celebrating 50 years of America in space.
Beginning in 2004, Tim has designed patches for Expeditions 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 34, One Year, 47 and 48 to the International Space Station and for the following crews STS-120, STS-126, STS-127, STS-129, STS-132, STS-133 and STS-135. He also designed a ten-part series of patches to “Celebrate 50 years of America in Space.” Gagnon has served as director of the Young Astronaut Program in Connecticut from 1986-1991 and in Merritt Island, FL from 1999-2005 to promote space science education for children. For more information on Tim, visit www.kscartist.com.
Teachers Expo on Saturday, September 22!
Welcome Teachers! When it comes to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, we want to be the best possible resource for you and your students. Visit the Discovery Center, explore our exhibits, new maker space and NASA Educator Resource Center, check out our planetarium and observatory, and discuss your needs and what the Discovery Center has to offer with key staff. Check out how a class field trip to the Discovery Center or a visit from Discovery Center educators to your classroom can be integrated into your curriculum!
General admission to the Discovery Center will be FREE for teachers on September 22. You can add a planetarium show to your visit for just $5 per show (the show will be free if you are a member - did you know we offer a discount on memberships for teachers?). Get information on our school field trips and other offerings. Our NASA Educator Resource Center will also be open.
We will host "breakout sessions" at 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM with the Director of Education, Sarah Hoffschwelle, and Visitor Services Manager, Beth Pappas, to talk about all that is included or offered with a school field trip or program at your school. We also want to hear from you! What do you look for in a field trip? How can we better accommodate you? We will also be doing a few quick demonstrations of some of our hands-on experiences.
Super Stellar Fridays
On the 1st Friday of the month, enjoy an evening of astronomy with Discovery Center educators and special guest speakers. Topics vary, covering new discoveries, historical events, scientific concepts and more. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Our evening's feature presentation begins at 7 PM, followed by an optional Tonight's Sky planetarium show. Recommended for ages 8+. Our all-inclusive price for Super-Stellar Fridays: Free for members, $11.50/Adults, $10.50/Seniors & Students, $8.50/Children; children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.
If the skies are clear, not only will our observatory be open, but members of the NH Astronomical Society will be out on the Discovery Center's southside front lawn, ready to provide a FREE skywatch. Gaze through their telescopes - or your own - at the wonders of the night sky. The skywatch begins at dusk during daylight savings time or 7 PM during standard time.
September 7, 2018: Native American Storytelling with Anne Jennison
Anne will share a few Abenaki storytelling traditions to place the stories in cultural context. After that, you will be taken on a spell-binding and entertaining journey through a series of traditional Native American stories that explain everything from “Sky Woman and The Earth on Turtle’s Back” to “How Bear Kept the Sun From Rising” to “How Hummingbird Put the Stars in the Sky”, and more. These stories reflect ancient Native American ideas about the relationship between Earth, Sky, the Plant People, the Animal People, and Human Beings. Each story has a compelling narrative, but also some subtle – and some not so subtle - life lessons! Prepare yourself for an interactive storytelling experience filled with humor, drama, and moments of wonder! Anne will be available after the performance to chat informally with audience members.
October 5, 2018: The Hunt Is On! Search for Exoplanets
Join us on a search for planets! First, we will check out a few of the planets in our own solar system using telescopes if the weather permits or utilizing our Tonight Sky and Family of the Sun Planetarium software. Then, we'll delve into the basics of solar systems and planets, all culminating in the search for planets around other stars! How are astronomers looking for these exoplanets? How many have been found? Why are we looking for them? Then, we will try to find some ourselves! Utilizing hands-on interactives and the latest NASA data, join us on this hunt for exoplanets.
*This event is the first step in a project funded by NASA's Universe of Learning to spread the word about objects beyond our solar system. Help us create the best workshop and be on the lookout for the other events relating to this project!*
Homeschool workshops are offered October through May on the second Thursday of the month from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM. You are welcome to enroll in individual sessions, by the term (Term 1: October, November, December; Term 2: January, February; Term 3: March, April, May), or for the entire series. Payment is required in order to reserve a spot: $15 for the first child, $10 for each additional child. Homeschool workshops are offered at three levels: Level 1 (Grades K-2); Level 2 (Grades 3-5); and Level 3 (Grades 6-8). An optional planetarium show will be offered at the conclusion of each program, for an additional $5 per person.
Our focus for the 2018-19 Academic Year will be “To the Universe and Back: Celestial Bodies.” Come explore the size and scale of the cosmos. Beginning with the universe and working our way down to the smallest objects in space, we will be looking at and learning more about the universe, galaxies, black holes, planets, asteroids, comets, and more! This year's program will also feature many custom educator-led shows utilizing our Tonight's Sky, Family of the Sun, and Digital Universe Planetarium programs.
October 11: "What is the Universe?"
How big is the universe? What is it made of? How did it begin? How do we know what we do about the universe? All of these questions and more will be explored as we start this year’s HomeSchool Program off big, the biggest thing out there to be exact. We will delve into the big picture before slowly zooming back down to our little portion of it by the end of the year.
Optional Planetarium Show: Digital Universe Part 1
November 8: "What is a Galaxy?"
Now that we’ve looked at the big picture of the universe, we zoom down to galaxies. What are they? How big are they? How far apart are they? What are the different types of galaxies? In this second session of our Homeschool Program, we will learn about the biggest objects in the universe.
Optional Planetarium Show: Digital Universe: Galaxy Edition
December 13: "What is a Nebula?"
Universe, galaxy, this month we will talk about Nebulae. What are they? What are the different types of Nebulae? How and why do we study them? We’re getting closer to some familiar territory as we study these fascinating clouds of gas and dust in space.
Optional Planetarium Show: Tonight’s Sky: Nebula Edition
January 10: "What are Stars?"
What exactly are stars? What are the different types of stars? How are they born? How do they die? Where does our own star lie in all this? For this session, we will be delving into many of those pinpricks of light in our night sky and what we know about them.
Optional Planetarium Show: Star custom show
February 14: "What is a Solar System?"
What is a solar system? How do they form? What solar systems do we know of besides our own? How does the type of star affect the rest of the solar system?
Optional Planetarium Show: Solar System custom show
March 14: "What are Planets?"
So, now that we know about the universe, galaxies, nebulae, stars, and solar systems, what about planets? What makes a planet a planet? What is a dwarf planet? What types of planets are there?
Optional Planetarium Show: Planets custom show
April 11: "What are Moons?"
We may have gotten to Earth and other planets last month, but planets certainly aren’t the smallest celestial bodies. Let’s talk about moons this month! How is a moon different than a planet? Is our moon “normal”? What do we know about moons near and far? It’s the 50th anniversary of the moon landing this summer! How did we get to the moon?
Optional Planetarium Show: Family of the Sun Moon Edition
May 9: "What are Comets and Asteroids?"
For our final session, we will look at some of the smallest celestial bodies: comets and asteroids. What do we know about them? What are the most famous ones? How do they create meteor showers? Should we be scared?
Optional Planetarium Show: Impact Earth
Can't come to us? We can come to you!
We will adjust the content of any of our programs to suit your students' grade level. The programs actively involve your students in exciting, enjoyable learning experiences. Some involve hands-on activities for every student. Others utilize volunteers from the audience. We will be happy to answer questions after each show. Name a topic in space science and we'll deliver a program to your students in a fun and educational way! Learn more about all the outreach possibilities.
We offer 2 hour workshops for girl scouts that include a 1 hour workshop activity and a planetarium show. Our offerings currently include:
- Juniors - "Get Moving!" Journey Workshop - learn about energy use and light pollution.
- Telescopes 101- learn the basics of optics and telescopes; then, try them out for yourself! (Recommended for grades 4 and up)
- Final Frontier- learn about how astronauts live and work in space and other worlds (Recommended for grades 3 and up)
- Solar System Explorers- learn about our little neighborhood of the galaxy in terms of size, scale, and composition (Recommended for our youngest audiences, grades K-3)
We are currently in the process of developing more workshops, particularly those that will line up with the new Astronomy badges currently in development. If you have a particular request, we may be able to tailor a customized workshop.
- Astronomy Merit Badge
- Aviation Merit Badge
- Space Exploration Merit Badge
We can also help with Cub Scouting! Please call and we will help set up the perfect workshop for your troop.
Looking for a fun bonding experience with your troop? We offer overnight experiences! Overnights include 2 planetarium shows, snacks, breakfast, and exploration of the entire museum. The cost is $50 per attendee and we require a 45 participant minimum (or $2,250 minimum charge) to book an overnight experience.
To find out more about our scout opportunities or make a reservation, please contact Elizabeth Pappas at 603-271-7827 x 104 or at email@example.com