Summer of 2017 Holds Exciting New Developments at the Maria Mitchell Association – Nantucket’s Science Center
When the Maria Mitchell Association opens its Aquarium, Natural Science Museum, Historic Mitchell House, Vestal Street Observatory, and the Loines Observatory for the season on June 8, there will be plenty of new exhibits and programs to quench everyone’s thirst for science education and research.
The Maria Mitchell Association Aquarium will feature an exhibit dedicated to jellyfish. With a new tank designed specifically for jellyfish, visitors will have the opportunity to examine these gelatinous creatures up close and learn more about their lifecycle and the role they play in the ocean ecosystem.
At the Natural Science Museum at Hinchman House, a new exhibit called “The Teabag Experiment” will entice visitors to become citizen scientists and be part of a worldwide research project to collect data on decomposition rates and global warming. Visitors to the exhibit will receive a research kit to take home containing fast and slow decomposing tea bags with known starting weights. The teabags are buried in the ground and allowed to decompose for a period of three months at which time they will be dug up and weighed again. The difference in weight is recorded on a data sheet and submitted as part of a worldwide data gathering effort. From that data, scientists will improve their calculations regarding the rate of global warming. Also, Nantucket High School Student, Skyler Kardell, designed a new exhbit “Specimen of the Week” which highlights rarely seen items in the Maria Mitchell Association’s scientific collections.
As it has been for almost fifty years, Loines Observatory will be open to the public during Open Nights each Monday and Wednesday from 9 pm – 10:30 pm. Visitors are invited to join our professional astronomers for an impressive tour of the starry sky and for telescopic viewing of the Moon, planets, galaxies, and more.
The summer season will also bring new educational programs for adults and children alike. Thanks to a grant from CARE for the Cape and Islands, the MMA will offer Trash to Treasure: Upcycling Sculpture with Artist Cindy Pease Roe. Cindy will lead three workshops that turn plastic flotsam into whale sculptures. The Maria Mitchell Association will partner with the Artists Association of Nantucket and
ACK Clean Team. A family workshop will be held on June 30 from 9 am to 11:30 am at 33 Washington Street. Two adult programs will be held for adults at the Artists Association of Nantucket on June 28 and July 6 from 9 am to 11:30 am. Artists at the workshop will be encouraged to donate their sculptures for auction on August 13 with proceeds to benefit the Maria Mitchell Association. Registrations for these programs and others are easily registered for online at www.mariamitchell.org .
Families are invited to learn more about the unique natural environment on Nantucket by participating in a six-part program called “Nantucket Nature – An Interactive Series for Families.” Each Wednesday, starting July 12 through August 16 from 9 am to 10 am at the Nantucket Community School, a different aspect of Nantucket nature is examined. Topics range from geology to plants, birds, and astronomy. Register for the whole series or choose by week.
On August 21, Nantucket will experience a solar eclipse. To celebrate this important celestial event, the Maria Mitchell Association will feature “Solar Eclipse Week,” August 14 – 21. The week is packed with lectures and workshops to help people understand and appreciate this rare event. The week culminates with the big event on Monday, August 21 at an Eclipse Party at Loines Observatory from 1:30 pm – 4 pm. Throughout the week, the MMA will be giving out free solar glasses. These glasses will allow viewers an opportunity to safely view the eclipse. Glasses can be picked up at 4 Vestal Street.
Newly designed Pre-Wee camps have been created to better engage both parent and child. A new ocean themed classroom adds to the fun of learning during this program and all Pre-Wee classes include a themed snack. This is a wonderful opportunity for children aged 3.5 to 5 when accompanied by a parent or caregiver.
For a complete listing of programs, speakers and workshops, visit www.mariamitchell.org or call for a complete program catalog.