Complete Your Holiday Shopping List at the Discoveries Gift Shop at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery!

ANGELA M. SHAFFER

Rocks

Are you still searching for the perfect holiday gifts for your friends and family? The Discoveries Gift Shop at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery offers thousands of educational, fun, and unique items for everyone on your list! Whether you’re searching for hands-on science and robot kits, striking rock and fossil specimens, colorful plush pieces, or even a Star Wars™ Death Star™ serving platter, we’ve got you covered!

Diecast and backpacksOur knowledgeable, friendly Guest Services staff is always happy to help you choose the perfect gift. Visit us anytime the Museum is open (9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday); you may shop anytime in the Discoveries Shop without paying general admission.

Just in time for the busy holiday shopping season, here are some of our most popular items and staff favorites, organized by price. Happy holidays!

Stocking stuffers under $5.00

We have a plethora of fun stocking stuffers at affordable prices. A perennial favorite is astronaut ice cream, in delicious flavors like mint chocolate chip and cinnamon apple wedgeIce Creams. Other bestsellers include bright Ty™ plush clips for accessorizing backpacks and jackets, sparkling crack-open geodes and amethyst and citrine specimens, earthy rock and mineral dig kits, slimy Mars mud and Pluto plasma,  and slippery water snakes—all priced at $4.99 or less!

Stocking stuffers under $10.00

You’ll find lots to of unique plush pieces in the Discoveries Shop, and we carry several smaller pieces, including super-soft otters, meerkats, and sloths. If you’ve got a little one who loves to play with diecast toys, we’ve got those, too, including trains, police cars, planes, and tractors. You can fill a branded drawstring bag with rocks or magnet stones to give to a young geologist, or you can gift a robot claw to a young explorer!

Gifts under $20.00

Ty plushWe carry a wide variety of DIY science kits for less than $20.00, so stock up for all of the budding astronomers, paleontologists, and scientists on your list! Just in time the holidays, new Ty Gear™ plush backpacks are available in a variety of styles. You’ll also find ant farms, large plastic dinosaurs, mermaid-and fairy-making kits, and backpacks full of themed diecast toys!

Gifts under $50.00

For less thanTy Gear backpacks purses $50.00, there are several truly unique options in the Discoveries Shop. The Inclocknito and Spy Science Money Safe kits allow kids to keep their treasures safe, while our brand-new Scientific Robot kit offers many experiments and learning opportunities in one convenient package. Dinosaur table lamps offer a cool way to light up the night, and impressive pizza and space station playsets will bring hours of imaginative play to the creative kids on your list. And don’t forget the large Ty™ Beanie Boos™ and Beanie Babies™, which promise hours of colorful cuddling fun!

Adults

AdultWhat do you buy for the guy or gal who has everything? A Bigfoot action figure or scarf, of course, or perhaps Star Wars™ salt-and-pepper shakers or that Death Star™ serving platter! Pass the time by completing a puzzle featuring the periodic table of the elements or beautiful gemstones; keep the time with a cool galaxy-print (or, yes, Star Wars™-themed) wall clock. Cozy socks in a variety of fun animal designs help keep cold winter feet warm; cold winter mornings are made a little more bearable when hot coffee or tea is sipped from a handwarmer animal mug. And office work always goes a little faster when you have a woodpecker stapler or otter tape dispenser by your side.

Visit the Discoveries Gift Shop today and let us help you choose the perfect holiday gifts!

Angela M. Shaffer is the Senior Manager, Guest Services and Database Management at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

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For Halloween the Boonshoft Museum Presents Frankenstein, Plasma, and Pickles…Oh My!

By MACKENZIE E. ENGLISH

Halloween is just around the corner and we here at the museum are also celebrating in our own way.  Just like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, we use the sheer power of electricity in our demonstrations.  We are making a pickle glow, using plasma to make art, and watching electricity dance in the air above a Tesla coil.

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Tesla Coil in Action

Electricity is made up of charged particles, normally in the form of electrons being stored on atoms.  When we talk about electricity we look at three things; voltage, amperage, and wattage.

  • Voltage is how fast the electricity is being pushed through a cable.
  • Amperage is how much electricity is being pushed through a cable at one time.
  • Finally, wattage is the result of combining the voltage and amperage and is how much power the electricity will produce.

We store electricity in batteries and it comes out of the walls we plug our phones into.  But when harnessed we are able to do much, much more with it.

Our electrical demonstrations can be shocking to watch but are very illuminating to how they work.  Many of the demonstrations use transformers to increase voltage.  This allows us to make high voltage electricity to push through a pickle.  This causes the sodium (salt) in the pickle to become very “excited”.  The extra energy in the sodium is then released as yellowish-orange light and a lot of heat.  The pickle is cooked from the inside out as it puts on a light show for us all to enjoy.

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Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster

When thinking of Frankenstein we often think about the lightning used to bring his monster to life as well as the display of electricity behind him in the movies moving up the metal rods.  The electricity seen in both cases is actually the air around us being set on fire by the high voltage electricity.  This is known as plasma and is the fourth state of matter.  In nature, we see this every time there is lightning, but in the museum, we arch electricity across the air from one metal rod to another.  When the electricity arches across it releases large amounts of energy into the air, setting it on fire and turning it into plasma.

Another time we can watch electricity move through the air is with a Tesla Coil. Nikola Tesla originally invented it as a way to light up the world without power lines and cables that we see today. It works by

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Plasma Emission From a Tesla Coil

using transformers to increase the voltage exponentially until the toroid (donut shape at the top) cannot hold any more electricity.  It then jumps through the air and dances as it turns the air into a battery and charges it up.  The charged air then can power light bulbs and other devices.

Even though electricity can be a lot of fun to watch, it is also very dangerous.  One must have the knowledge and respect for it.  Please do not attempt any demonstrations you have seen at home.  If you would like to see them, come to the museum where we are trained on the safety of use in these applications.

Mackenzie E. English is Laboratory Coordinator for the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

 

Legendary Shawnee Chief Tecumseh Inducted Into Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame

ANDREW SAWYER

The last week of September has been celebrated as American Indian Week in Ohio since 2014 when the Ohio General Assembly voted to publicly recognize American Indian communities and their history in our state. An additional acknowledgment of Ohio’s American Indian heritage took place recently in Dayton as well. Since the City of Dayton Bicentennial in 1996, the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame has set out to recognize outstanding individuals and groups for their enduring personal or professional contributions to the community, nation, and the world. On Thursday, September 28, the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame inducted their first American Indian into that group, Shawnee Chief  Tecumseh.

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         Legendary Shawnee Chief                   Tecumseh

Born in 1768 in southern Ohio, Tecumseh grew up during an era when the newly independent United States was expanding into the Ohio Valley homeland of the Shawnee and other indigenous tribes. This expansion was opposed by American Indian tribes in the region including the Shawnee, Miami, Delaware, and many others, who joined forces in the late 1700s to defend their homelands. The signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795 ceded southern Ohio to the United States. After this, Tecumseh was determined to keep what land remained for the Shawnee in Ohio, and if possible to reclaim land that had been ceded.

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The Meeting of Brock and Tecumseh: War of 1812 Bicentennial – C.W. Jeffereys

With this in mind Tecumseh, along with his brother Tenskwatawa (The Shawnee Prophet), reassembled a confederacy of American Indian tribes who fought against previous U.S. expansion and joined forces with the British in the War of 1812 in hopes of accomplishing those goals. Tecumseh’s death at the Battle of the Thames in October of 1813 ended those hopes, but he continues to be remembered as a brilliant military strategist and organizer. Ultimately the U.S. forced the removal of the Shawnee and other tribes from Ohio to “Indian Territory” in what are now the states of Kansas and Oklahoma.

While Tecumseh’s vision of maintaining tribal territory in their Ohio homelands may not have succeeded, his hopes for the survival of the Shawnee did, and many of them were in Dayton to celebrate his rightful induction into the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame.

Andrew Sawyer is an anthropologist and archaeologist. He is the Site Director of SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park in Dayton, Ohio.

 

 

Boonshoft Museum’s Educator Open House Helps Make Your Classroom Too Cool for School!

By BLAIRE M. H. BARTISH

The days are getting shorter, the weather is starting to cool down, and the 2017-2018 school year is beginning! Another nine-month season of all things academic is upon us, and some of the hardest workers on the planet are gearing up to get back to the grind.

We at the Boonshoft know how hard teachers work. We are constantly in contact with educators of all kinds- from Preschool to High School and even College! Their never-ending sacrifice is evident in their love of learning and their dedication to their students. In order to show gratitude and support to our favorite public servants, the Education Department at BMD is hosting its second annual Educator Open House (EOH).EOH Flyer.docx

This year’s EOH will take place at the Museum on Thursday, August 31, from 6-8 pm. Since teachers tend to spend a lot of their own money on things for the classroom, complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served from the ever-popular Brock Masterson, and fantastic raffle prizes from United Arts and Education, Mary Kay, Shawnie Haskell Licensed Massage Therapist, Highlights Magazine, and the Education Department at the Boonshoft will be available.

The night will feature a variety of program samplings from BMD, sister sites SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park, Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve, and the Montgomery County Solid Waste District. Interested in learning how your students can become experienced water-quality specialists? Stop in and watch Robin, our Senior Coordinator of School and Teacher Services perform a demonstration from our Pond Study program. Want to know how your students can spend a day living like ancient civilizations? Talk to Jack at the Fort Ancient table about the Explorers Workshop. Need help figuring out which grants your classroom is eligible for? See Karen at the Education Desk for help getting things like Exhibits-to-Go in your school at no cost.

The EOH is great for middle school and high school teachers as well. Many people tend to write BMD off as a “children’s museum,” however, we have a variety of interactive programs for older students, such as looking at parent-child traits of fruit flies in our Genetics and Heredity Workshop. Your pupils may be too big to go down the slide, but they are never too old to be captivated by science!

As always, the Educator Open House is free to attend, but registration is limited and required. Reserve your spot now at https://dsnh.regfox.com/educator-open-house.

We hope to see you there!

 

Blaire M. H. Bartish is the Manager of School and Public Programs at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery.

So You Want to See the Total Solar Eclipse This August

By JOE CHILDERS

Chances are you’ve heard that a rare astronomical event is happening on August 21; a total eclipse of the Sun.  Not only is it rare (there hasn’t been one visible from the Miami Valley since 831 CE), it is also spectacular!  Indeed, eclipse expert Fred Espenak,  who has been under the moon’s shadow more than twenty times, says “In rating natural wonders, on a scale of 1 to 10 a total solar eclipse is a million.”

 

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Total Solar Eclipse In France 1999   (Luc Viatour/wwwLucnix.be)

 

From Dayton this August we’ll see a deep partial eclipse—close, but no cigar.  We will get to see a total (or totality) solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, but if you’re impatient or don’t want to risk bad weather, you’ll want to travel down to Kentucky or Tennessee to see this year’s eclipse.

Here are three things you need to know:

  1. Do not expect to find a hotel, campground, or any other kind of accommodations whatsoever within driving distance of the eclipse path.

When it’s been forty years since the last American total solar eclipse, people who have been looking forward their entire lives to this got their reservations in early—up to three years ago!  So plan to sleep in your car, if at all.

  1. Do expect that traffic will be horrible that morning.

Everyone else who realized at this late date that there are no accommodations available will be driving in the morning of.  The eclipse happens around 2:30 p.m. or so in the afternoon, varying a little by location. You want to get into the path of totality many hours before that, lest you risk being stuck in traffic outside of totality.

  1. Do know that the eclipse is definitely worth taking a day off work, pulling the kids out of school, and putting up with nasty logistics to go see in person!

One cannot overemphasize how impressive a total solar eclipse is.  Photographs like this one do not do it justice.  Everyone has a limited number of opportunities to see a total solar eclipse in their lifetime, and everyone who sees one remembers it for the rest of their life!

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                        Solar Eclipse Map Across Kentucky                       (GreatEclipse.Com © Michael Zeiler 2014)

So my suggestion is this: plan to drive down in the pre-dawn hours of August 21, map out state highways that are less likely than interstates to be congested, and plan to see the eclipse from a box-store parking lot or a similar easily-accessed location.  But if you decide to stay in the Miami Valley, come on down to the Boonshoft Museum that day for all sorts of fun, eclipse activities for our partial eclipse!

Visit https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com for more on this topic.

How to Have a Great Visitor Experience at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

By ANGELA SHAFFER and EZEKIEL McLEAN

As the Boonshoft Museum explores ways of improving the quality of our guests’ experiences, we’ve developed a few approaches to help to ensure that your visit is fun, interesting, and safe. Every trip starts at the beginning, so plan for contingencies before leaving home.

Guests should be prepared to show a photo ID, as members, reciprocal members, and patrons using credit/debit cards will be asked to show their identification. If you have a reciprocal membership card from a partnering institution, please have that card with you as well.

The Museum does not host a cafe or restaurant, so bring along lunch and a few snacks for yourself and your family. You can also purchase items from the Food Chain vending area on the second floor. The Food Chain’s vending machines offer sandwiches, drinks, snacks, and other treats. There are also snacks and beverages available for purchase in the Discoveries Gift Shop near the front entrance of the Museum.

Be sure to dress for the weather, and consider that temperature fluctuations may occur that can make certain areas of the Museum warmer or cooler than average. Also consider bringing a change of clothing for kids, as they can get their clothing wet playing at the water table. You can place items in rental lockers located in the coat room in the front lobby of the Museum and change according to need.

The Boonshoft Museum has designated stroller parking areas – one inside the planetarium, and one just outside the Kids Place area on the first floor. The Museum offers a limited number of strollers and wheelchairs for rent during visits. See a Guest Services staff member at the front desk of the Museum for information.

There are maps and program guides available at the front desk at check-in. Elevators and stairway approaches also offer stationary maps with visitor information. Restrooms are located on each floor, and the Main Exhibition Hall is located on the second floor adjacent to the Food Chain vending area.

The Planetarium screens many unique science shows about topics as diverse as Sky Tonight, with some featuring dinosaurs like Flying Monsters and Did an Asteroid Kill the Dinosaurs? Still, others investigate the amazing wonders of the world. Be advised that they begin promptly on the hour. To ensure seating, be in line in front of the doors of the theater, (note that the line may often extend into the Hall of the Universe) at least five minutes before the start of the show!

If you or your child suffer a minor injury, a bump, abrasion, or simply need to apply a new Band-Aid, head to the front desk as quickly as possible. If you happen to see a Museum staff member along the way, stop them because they may be able to guide you to a closer first-aid location. We will just need you to fill out a quick incident report.

If your child is lost, head to the front desk right away. If you spot a staff member along the way, stop them as they may have a radio and can begin to mobilize others immediately. Otherwise, the front desk can start the process. You will be asked for a description of your child and where they were last seen. A staffer will stay with you should you choose to start looking, rather than stay at the front desk.

Museum staff members will clear areas closest to the child’s last known location. Once the child is found, staff members will communicate over radio how best to reunite the two parties. One of the most common places that parents lose sight of their children is on the climbing tower, as it can be accessed on either floor. If you have young children, have an adult on each level if possible; otherwise, you may want to consider not utilizing the climbing tower during your visit.

These are some helpful suggestions to help you enjoy your visit to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. If you have questions or thoughts that you’d like to share, please contact the Museum at www.boonshoftmuseum.org, or by calling (937) 275-7431.

Falcon Cam Update – May 8, 2017

By LIZ TOTH

Extreme weather conditions occurred over the weekend with temperatures dropping below freezing.  Unfortunately, the mother peregrine falcon was unable to protect the three-week-old chicks from the cold temperatures.

One chick was found dead on the ledge and the remaining three chicks are nowhere to be found.  Most likely the chicks died due to hypothermia and were pushed out of the nest by the parents.  Both parents are still around but no longer defending the nest.  The location of the nest this year on the ledge offered little protection from the elements.

When the eggs are laid in the nest box there is some protection from wind and rain, however, the weather was unseasonably cold and it is likely they may not have survived even if they were in the nest box.  It is hard to say why the falcons chose the ledge over the nest box but it is early enough in the season that the falcons may re-nest so we will watch for any additional eggs to be laid.

The location of the nest this year on the ledge offered little protection from the elements.  When the eggs are laid in the nest box there is some protection from wind and rain, however, the weather was unseasonably cold and it is likely they may not have survived even if they were in the nest box.  It is hard to say why the falcons chose the ledge over the nest box but it is early enough in the season that the falcons may re-nest so we will watch for any additional eggs to be laid.

It is hard to say why the falcons chose the ledge over the nest box but it is early enough in the season that the falcons may re-nest so we will watch for any additional eggs to be laid.