August 1st marks the 197th birthday of Maria Mitchell, who was born at 1 Vestal Street in 1818. To celebrate her life and legacy, the Maria Mitchell Association invites the public to an afternoon full of free activities and refreshments on Friday July 31st. The MMA campus on Vestal Street will be free to the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Children’s activities will be offered throughout the afternoon including: face painting, tours, nature and astronomy-themed games and activities, and even insect races!
Maria Mitchell was the first Mitchell child born at 1 Vestal St., the first librarian at the Nantucket Atheneum, the first woman to receive a gold medal from the King of Denmark for discovering a comet, one of the first women to work for the U.S. government, and the first woman to gain access to the Vatican’s Observatory. Of course, she was also the first female astronomer in the U.S.,-best known for her discovery of a comet named Comet Mitchell and her service as the first female professor of Astronomy in the U.S. at Vassar College. The MMA was founded in 1902 to promote and celebrate Mitchell’s legacy of learning-by-doing, women in education, and education sciences.