Friday, October 23, 2009

A Tale of Two Space Days

My first Space Day was the one I organized in New Jersey in 1984. It was an outstanding success. The only corporate backing we received was from RCA AstroElectronics who did supply an exhibit and speaker. That was it. The Space Studies Institute in Princeton did likewise. I recruited a day long list of speakers, including J. R. Thompson, then at the Forrestal Research Center. The museum got a speaker with an exhibit from NASA. He was not a famous astronaut.

How did we get people to attend? We publicized the event to newspapers throughout New Jersey and Philadelphia and New York City. The Trenton Times gave us a wonderful three page spread in the Friday Weekend section. The publicity cost us nothing.

What kind of reaction did we get? 2000 people came that first Space Day. The museum director said it was the best summer event they had ever had. The event grew to drawing 3000 people in later years.

If you want to learn more about how I did this, read my blog posting Background of an L5 Society Activist.

In 2004 I volunteered to help out with the Lockheed Martin Space Day at the Udvar-Hazy Center. There were about 150 volunteers. John Glenn was a featured speaker. 1100 school children were bussed in that Thursday.

I spent the day assembling crude models of the SR-71. I tried engaging the children in conversation. Many seemed bored. I can't remember really connecting with any of them.

Early in the day there was an assembly of the students. One boy was brought up onto the stage. He was asked where he would like to explore. He answered some place in Australia. A second boy was then asked. He answered "Mars!"

This is an event that cries out for reorganization. 1100 school children are bussed into one of the world's great aerospace museums -- and they are bored to death.

No comments: