The Education Department at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum seeks to fulfill the museum’s mission to honor our heroes, inspire our youth and educate the public through many avenues. One of them is through our Community Engagement programming.
The goal is simple: to bring the museum experience to people who would not otherwise be able to have it. Tom Barry, Manager of Community Engagement and STEM Initiatives, and his staff actively seek out underserved populations with which to work, both at the Intrepid Museum and off-site.
The Community Engagement and STEM team can often be found delivering content at libraries, community centers, schools and other not-for-profit institutions. By bringing archival photos and videos, as well as a variety of models and actual USS Intrepid artifacts, educators are able to bring an authentic museum experience to populations that, for whatever reason, cannot visit the ship.
There is a variety of content to choose from. Solidify your understanding of Intrepid’s role throughout history, as well as the humanity that made it possible, with The Story of Intrepid. Use your analytic skills to discuss real examples of World War II propaganda in Finding Rosie. Put the scientific method to the test as a marine scientist with Water Environmentsor as an airplane engineer with High Flying Design. Learn to fully grasp the magnitude of and dangers in space with Scale and the Space Raceand Poof! Life in a Vacuum.
In addition to the off-ship programming being offered, the team also hosts an annual Gift of Thanksgiving celebration on board Intrepid. Each November, upwards of 200 homeless children and their families come to the Intrepid Museum from transitional housing shelters in all five boroughs of New York City to enjoy an evening of great food, fun activities, awesome giveaways and even a show! This free event, coordinated through a partnership with the New York City Department of Homeless Services, is always well attended and well received by our guests. Museum workers joyfully donate their time and talents to make this a night our special guests will not soon forget.
Another component of the Community Engagement and STEM team’s mission is to present science to the public in a fun, not-at-all-frightening way. To that end, once each season, we hold an Astronomy Night that is free and open to the public (just make sure you RSVP). Astronomers from all around the tri-state area descend on Pier 86 to share their knowledge and love of astronomy. Free talks on wide-ranging subjects are given to anyone who wants to listen and, if the weather cooperates, guests are treated to an up-close view of the New York City night sky (you can see more than you think!).
All these events and programs keep the Community Engagement and STEM team busy year round. Check out your local library or community center, we might be coming to your area soon! Or sign up for our monthly Education Email Newsletter here and stay informed about upcoming events, including Astronomy Nights.