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Niagara Aerospace Museum hosting pre-eclipse events

Total eclipse of the Sun. The moon covers the sun in a solar eclipse.
Pitris/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Total eclipse of the Sun. The moon covers the sun in a solar eclipse.

WBFO News: You're listening to WBFO News, Thomas O'Neill white here with you welcoming back, Lindsey Lauren Visser, who has taken off her Buffalo Historian hat and put on her Executive Director of the Niagara Aerospace Museum hat. Lindsay, welcome back.

Lindsey Lauren Visser: Thank you so much. I appreciate you having me back.

WBFO: We're less than a week away from the solar eclipse with much of western New York being in the path of totality. And the Niagara Aerospace Museum has been designated as a NASA Sunspot site. What does that mean for us laymen?

Visser: It's so cool. So, NASA is actually coming up to Niagara Falls to put on a number of programs in anticipation of the eclipse. And they are doing some events on the actual day of as well. We're not one of the day-of sites and I'll explain why in just a second. But it means that we have NASA researchers, project managers, we are even hosting the head of the Helio-physics. Department yet. So, they're going to be coming in and doing talks twice a day at our museum. And then we have kids activities and all sorts of stuff. So, it is the best way to pregame, the Eclipse.

WBFO: That’s a good way to put it. So how did the museum get that designation? Did you have to like apply for? Or did you just talk to NASA about it? Because I mean, working with NASA is a big deal.

Niagara Aerospace Museum
Lindsey Lauren Visser
Niagara Aerospace Museum
Niagara Aerospace Museum

Visser: It is. But would you believe me western New York in particular has such a depth of history working with NASA. In fact, the path to the moon kind of runs right through Western New York in some respects, because we were on the front lines of developing some of the materials that were used for the Apollo program. In fact, the one I always like to talk about is the power thrusters that got the lunar module off, the moon backup to the spacecraft that was orbiting was manufactured here. So, we've got some really cool artifacts from NASA, from our contributions to the programs in the museum. But we reached out once we realized that Niagara Falls was going to be one of the locations. And we said, hey, wait a minute, we are perfectly suited to be a part of this. And they were like, Absolutely, you are. And so that's how we joined the party, if you will.

WBFO: Talk about some of the events starting Thursday and running through Sunday. You know, some people might say, Oh, this is not for me, this is not for my kids. But it's pretty family friendly. From what I've seen.

Visser: absolutely is. And I think that's one of the things that I think if you look at some of those topics, you might if you're not like super into it feels like oh, I don't know how much I'm going get out of this, I promise you, they are so friendly to all audiences. And they're really cool topics. So, as you mentioned, we're starting on Thursday, to per day, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Some of the topics are how they get everything ready for a rocket launch, which is so fascinating. And then some of them are about going back to the moon. So, NASA is doing a new program, the Artemis program, they're going to be talking about the manned missions back to the moon, they're going to be talking about different programs, exploration. So again, they're just really cool subjects that I think are going to be very digestible. And again, we have so many people on hand who if for some reason, something comes up that you're a little bit like, I don't know exactly what that means. There are so many people who are able to help kind of make it a little more digestible. But we have all the kid’s activities, straw rockets, you can do some coloring, we have a 3d etching of the moon. So, you can kind of make your own lunar lander. You've got the we we've got the simulator for the Lunar Module, an airplane simulator. So, there's just tons of fun stuff that we always have. But they'll be on full display for the next few days.

WBFO: You were once a teacher…

Visser: I was…

WBFO: So can you talk to me about the importance of teaching kids about the Extra Terrestrial subjects and issues. We're no longer earthbound beings.

Niagara Aerospace Museum
Lindsey Lauren Visser
Niagara Aerospace Museum
Niagara Aerospace Museum

Visser: No. And I think that's so important is events, like the clips are something that I think can inspire a lifelong love of science. And whether you go into one of the STEM fields, or you just have that curiosity, I think it's so important that we take these opportunities to cultivate that in young people. And so bringing kids to the museum, introducing them at a young age to NASA scientists and saying, This could be you if you want to go into this field. You may live through some massive, amazing discoveries or scientific achievements in your lifetime. Well, how do we kind of keep people excited about that? So I've often said that I think the stem subjects have done a great job in recent years, trying to make the subject more hands on. It's something I'd love to see history do as well. But I'm very fortunate to be able to be in a place now that does both the history and the STEM education for kids, because it's it is really important. And I think trying to encourage young people and lifelong learners to write you don't have to be a kid to fall in love with science, you can fall in love with it at any point in your life.

WBFO: How can people find out about the events? How can they sign up?

Visser: we have a pre-registration link available on our website, we will be closing it off closer to the events, but we really do encourage everybody to check the website. It is first come first serve, you can walk in, but we really want to make sure that we have a seat for you. So please pre-register on www dot Niagara aerospace museum.org You can also check out our Facebook page, it'll link you right to the website. And in addition to like all of the cool talks that we have, NASA has a few tricks up their sleeve. So yes actually, if you wanted to come to the museum at around 11 o'clock on Friday, you can see a collection of actual moon rocks that they are bringing Yes. So, you'll be able to see something a little bit different. Yeah. So, there's all sorts of fun things that are going to be happening throughout those four days. And actually, we are open as well on that Tuesday afterward. So, if you have family visiting from out of town, and you're not really sure what to do with them, or if you are from out of town, and you're still around, you'd come on Tuesday as well and check out the museum.

WBFO: right? Because we're expecting a lot of people in this in this region in this area in the next week or so.

Visser: I think everybody who's got family from out of town is hosting suddenly in the next couple of days. So, if you're not sure what to do with them and you've spent too much quality time together, just drop them off at the museum.

WBFO: This is WBFO News. I'm with Lindsey Lauren Visser, the Executive Director of the NASA Aerospace Museum. Lindsey, thank you for being on with us again.

Visser: Thank you so much. Always happy to be here.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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