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At a time when Kwanzaa was still a rather new tradition, the Museum became one of the places where New York-area residents came to celebrate. Over the past 33 years, the annual Kwanzaa gathering at the Museum has grown into one of the most engaging events of its kind. This year’s celebration on December 31 will feature an array of high-energy performers, an international marketplace, and more. Monique Scott, assistant director for cultural education at the Museum, recently answered a few questions about the holiday and the history of the Kwanzaa celebration at the Museum.
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In 1950, the Museum’s Hayden Planetarium began accepting reservations for the first trip into space as part of a publicity campaign for its exhibition Conquest of Space. Letters poured in from around the world with requests to book trips to the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and beyond, capturing the public’s passion and curiosity for space exploration. One cosmic hopeful suggested surveying Earth’s planetary neighbor for ancient life.
Though interplanetary tourism is not yet possible, our fascination with space travel persists. Discover what the future holds for space exploration in the Museum’s exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration. To see more of the Hayden letters and tell us where in space you’d like to go today, click here. And if you share Arthur’s interest in dinosaurs, stop by The World’s Largest Dinosaurs before it closes on Monday, January 2.
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The Museum’s new Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program is the first urban teacher residency program offered by a museum and a unique 15-month teaching fellowship for people who want to share their passion for science with middle and high school students in New York State. On Saturday, January 7, the Museum will host an Open House for the program from noon to 2 pm or 2 to 4 pm, giving prospective applicants the chance to meet faculty and staff, find out more about how the MAT program is structured, and take behind-the-scenes tours of the Museum campus before the final application deadline on January 31. MAT Program Co-Director Ro Kinzler, who is also the director of the Museum’s National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLT), recently answered a few questions about this unique opportunity.
Why has the MAT program been created now?
New York State recently issued the opportunity for “non-traditional” institutions to offer master in education programs designed to prepare teachers in high-need areas for the first time—so the Museum has stepped up to meet this opportunity.
What type of applicant is the program seeking?
The program is seeking individuals with undergraduate or higher degrees in Earth and related sciences. We’re looking for recent graduates as well as folks already into their careers who are motivated to switch gears and become Earth science teachers for grades 7 through 12.
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The Museum’s latest exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration offers a vision of the future of space travel as it boldly examines humanity’s next steps in our solar system and beyond. The following preview of the Museum’s Beyond Planet Earth Inside View video features Museum scientists Michael Shara, Denton Ebel, Ben Oppenheimer, and Neil de Grasse Tyson as they share why they study space and where they find inspiration for their research.
Produced by the Museum’s Department of Exhibition, the Inside View video series provides visitors with a close and personal look at the scientific work that takes place in the Museum.
Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration is now on view at the Museum. Click here to buy tickets, and click here to download the Beyond Planet Earth Augmented Reality App before your visit.
The Museum will be closed on Sunday, December 25, and will reopen on Monday, December 26.
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A rare fossil discovered by an international team of scientists that includes Museum researchers documents a biological partnership that makes the survival of most terrestrial plants possible. For 52 million years in a piece of Indian amber the size of a walnut, the fossil preserved a symbiotic relationship between soil fungi and plant roots called mycorrhizae.
In this longstanding relationship, the fine thread-like cells of the fungus increase the root surface for the plant, enabling the host plant to access more nutrients. In return, the fungus receives energy from the plant in the form of sugars. This symbiosis also has been shown to enhance a plant’s resistance to pathogens and the effects of drought. This mycorrhizal relationship is believed to have arisen more than 400 million years ago, as plants began to colonize terrestrial habitats.