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“Skydancer” Q&A with Margaret Mead Filmmaker

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Over 10,000 Native Americans of the Mohawk tribe live on the Akwesasne reservation in upstate New York—and every family in the community has included an ironworker. For decades, these men have weekly made the six-hour drive to New York City to build its tallest skyscrapers. Katja Esson’s film Skydancer, which will be shown at the Margaret Mead Film Festival on Sunday, November 13, at 2 pm, follows a group of Mohawk “sky walkers” as they continue the craft of their forefathers, spending weeks apart from their families and risking their lives for a job that pays well but also perpetuates superhuman stereotypes of Mohawk men.

Following the screening of SkydancerBear Fox andKatsitsionni Fox, who appear in the documentary, along withRobby Baier, the composer of the film’s score, will perform traditional Mohawk songs. Esson, who will attend the Mead Festival screening of the documentary and participate in a Q&A immediately afterward, recently answered a few questions about the film.

Tags: Margaret Mead Film Festival

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Curious Collections: A Single Dino Toe

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This specimen from the Museum’s paleontology collection is a single dinosaur toe covered with lichen.

Most likely collected in 1912 in Alberta, Canada, the toe is thought to belong to a hadrosaur (duck-billed) or ceratopsian (horned) dinosaur. The toe is the terminal phalanx, or the one that supported the hoof. The lichen growth, which occurred on the two damaged parts of the bone, shows that the bone was exposed on the surface of the ground for many years before being discovered.

Tags: Dinosaurs, Paleontology

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Stay Up Late at SciCafe, Global Kitchens, and One Step Beyond

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A number of the Museum’s after-hours series were recently featured in The New York Times article “Staying Up Late in Museums.”

Reporter James Barron noted the Museum’s history of offering stellar programs “since long before [the movie] ‘Night at the Museum,’” highlighting past SciCafes, including last summer’s Hunting the Hidden Reptiles of Madagascar. Check out the next SciCafe, which will feature bioluminescence experts John Sparks and David Gruber, on Wednesday, November 2. 

Tags: SciCafe

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Beyond Planet Earth: An Elevator to the Moon

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Below, astrophysicist Michael Shara, who curated the forthcoming exhibition Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration, explains how a lunar elevator would work—and why it might inspire a new sport.

We humans are barely toddlers when it comes to space exploration. Our first baby steps off our home planet 50 years ago took us to low Earth orbit. By 1973, 12 intrepid men had walked on the moon’s surface. Since then we have sent robots to every planet in our solar system. The Hubble Space Telescope has shown us that the ordinary matter we are made of comprises only 4 percent of the mass of the universe. The Kepler orbiting telescope has proved that billions of worlds orbit the stars of our Milky Way galaxy. What will we accomplish in space in the coming centuries, as our steps become surer and bolder?

Tags: Hayden Planetarium, Space Exploration

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