With Earth Day falling on Wednesday, April 22 and Friday, April 24 marking the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble telescope, the Reading Public Museum is marking these occasions by offering science themed lessons for children and their families to learn and celebrate together. Although the planned celebration at the Neag Planetarium sponsored by Dr. Jerome I. Marcus have been cancelled, The Museum is continuing its efforts to provide quality, hands-on learning experiences for children with activites that parents can help direct at home, as well as educational movies from the Planetarium made available for free online.
This week’s kits teach students how to create a “Straw Rocket” using NASA’s educator guides, which will also encourage kids to then modify their designs to maximize the rocket’s flight distance. Building the rockets will open the door for discussion about the Hubble launch into low orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery 30 year ago, and The Museum will be sharing exlusive images from the Hubble telescope released by NASA for the anniversary on Facebook beginning Friday. Supplies will be limited and will be distributed until they are exhausted. Because previous kits were so popular and sold-out before many families were able to take advantage of them, The Museum is asking for a $5 suggested donation for each kit which will help support the development of future educational efforts during this difficult time. Due to the mandated closure, the Reading Public Museum is experiencing a complete loss of revenues during its busiest season, and contributions via mail or online are always accepted. Visitors picking up the kits are asked to enter through the Museum Road entrance and remain in their vehicles as kits are distributed and donations are collected
In addition to the science kit distribution, two new shows from the Neag Planetarium will be released on Wednesday, April 22 in celebration of Earth Day, as The Museum continues its “Way-Out Wednesday” programs. Last week’s shows attracted more than 1,000 views online as traffic to The Museum’s website increased by more than 200% over the prior week. This week’s releases are Dynamic Earth, a 24-minute movie narrated by Liam Neeson about the inner workings of the global climate, and The Zula Patrol: Down to Earth, an animated adventure for younger audiences exploring the formation and development of Earth, and the lifeforms that live on it. Links to both movies will be made available on Wednesday, as will study guides and other materials related to the programs, on The Museum’s website at www.ReadingPublicMuseum.org . Visitors can click on the “Planetarium” link at the top of the page to be directed to hotlinks for each show.