This striking view of the New Mexico Museum of Space History at dawn was taken by area resident Jim Harris.

Educator Evening planned at Space Museum in Alamogordo on Thursday

An Educator’s Evening is planned at the New Mexico Museum of Space History on Thursday, January 16 beginning at 6:00 pm in the Tombaugh Education Building on the museum’s campus.

Activities for the evening are free to teachers and include a catered taco bar, door prizes, planetarium programs and demonstrations.

“We can never show our appreciation to teachers enough and this is one way we can reach out and say thank you with an evening of free food, refreshments and camaraderie,” said Museum Outreach Coordinator Tony Gondola, event organizer. In 2019, nearly 100 area educators attended the museum’s inaugural event and Gondola anticipates that many this year. “Last year everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves and we want to make sure they all come back again and bring their friends who teach.”

A variety of activities are planned during the evening to showcase what the Museum’s Education Department can offer to help teachers in the classroom. “Our mission is to help educators, whether in their classroom or here on our campus,” said Museum Education Director Dave Dooling.

“We have literally dozens of science programs that we can bring to the table, to complement what the teachers are already doing. From astronomy to planetary science, and biology to physiology, we cover a very wide range of topics designed to work with state and national science standards.”

Special class demonstrations are planned during the course of the evening, along with special planetarium programs in the New Horizons Theater. “One of the really cool things we have that a lot of teachers don’t know about is our portable planetarium,” said Gondola, “and we want to highlight that during the evening. We have a special selection of short programs that we’ll be presenting to show how our portable planetarium can bring astronomy right into the schools.”

According to Gondola, the portable planetarium gives schools the opportunity to reach all their students. “We can bring our planetarium right to the school and even add in classes to enhance the experience even more.”

Educators, including homeschool educators, who would like to attend the free event must register on-line by Tuesday, January 14, because attendance is limited to 100, including guests.

To register, visit the Museum’s website, and look for the Educator Evening button on the right hand side of the page. “We encourage teachers to mark their calendars today and register early,” said Dooling.

The event will be held in the Tombaugh Education Building on Thursday, January 16 beginning at 6:00 pm.

The New Mexico Museum of Space History, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is a division of the NM Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, call 575-437-2840 (or toll free 1-877-333-6589) visit the website or their Facebook page.