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Ithaca Sciencenter, Hangar Theatre, and Museum of the Earth Offer Virtual Experiences

The Ithaca-Tompkins Region is still social distancing, but organizations like the Ithaca Sciencenter, the Hangar Theatre, and the Museum of the Earth remain committed to offering educational opportunities to members of the community.

Check out their virtual programming for next week!

This post was updated on 4/16 at 5:00p to include virtual experiences from the Museum of the Earth.


Sciencenter Celebrates Earth Week with Virtual Activities

ITHACA: The Sciencenter will celebrate Earth Week, April 20-24 with a variety of virtual, Earth-themed activities.

Each morning from Monday, April 20 through, Friday, April 24, at 10:30 am, Sciencenter educators will host live Zoom activities all focused on sustainability and Earth science content. Many of these activities were developed by the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Net), a community of informal educators and scientists of which the Sciencenter is a part. More details about our Zoom activities, as well as links to those activities, can be found on our website.

Earth Week Zoom Activity Schedule:

  • Monday: Rising Sea - Consider the effects of climate change on sea levels and landmass.

  • Tuesday: My Community - Envision your ideal neighborhood!

  • Wednesday: Native Species - Get acquainted with our animal neighbors in the Sciencenter's New York Natives corner!

  • Thursday: Watch & Create: Creativity for Sustainability - Turn screen time into imaginative investigation!

  • Friday: Paper Mountains - Model the effects of pollution on interconnected waterways.

The Sciencenter’s Curator of Live Exhibits will also take the public through virtual tours of our Animal Room on Tuesday, April 21 and Thursday, April 23 at 2 pm. These informational, virtual, meet and greets with the Sciencenter animals will take place on the Sciencenter’s Youtube Live Stream.

In addition, the Sciencenter is excited to participate in Get Your GreenBack Tompkins’ virtual Tompkins Earth Day event. The event will be live-streamed through their Facebook page on Wednesday, April 22, from 2-6 pm, and will feature many local organizations and experts. The Sciencenter and other family-oriented activities will take place during the 4-5 pm time slot and will feature the Sciencenter live collections.

Be sure to follow the Sciencenter on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest updates about Sciencenter Earth Week virtual events, and to take advantage of the Earth-themed resources they will share throughout the week.


Hangar Theatre offers virtual classes and promotes donation-matching opportunity

ITHACA: Ithaca’s Hangar Theatre will begin more virtual educational programming next week, offering Creative Play and Hopeful Reading online classes.

Next week, Hangar Theatre will begin offering the following online classes for kids grades 3-6 and for high schoolers in grade 10 to adults:

Creative Play is a class for kids grades 3-6 focused on games and exercises to release creative spirits while kids remain indoors. Teaching artist Elizabeth Seldin will connect students with each other virtually, and they will put on a short play as a group.

This class will run daily from 2:00-3:30pm, April 20-24. Participation fee is $75, but financial aid and scholarships are available. More info here.

Hopeful Reading is a class available for grade 10 to adult to read and discuss themes, intentions, and the tools used in the scripts for the shows programmed for the Hangar’s 2020 season. Hangar Theatre Artistic Director Michael Barakiva’s sessions will include text analysis, insights into artistic planning, and approaches to theatrical interpretation.

This class will be held on Tuesdays from 3:30-6:00pm, April 21-May 19. Participation fee is $75, but financial aid and scholarships are available. More info here.

Education Director Shirley Serotsky indicates they are preparing to offer their next series of classes--so they would love feedback from the community. She can be contacted by email at

Additionally, an anonymous donor has pledged to match all donations up to $30,000 to the Hangar Theatre to help the theatre survive closure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations must be made by May 5 to be matched, and can be made here.


Museum of the Earth Included with The Louvre and The British Museum in New Virtual Museums List

ITHACA: Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster has listed the Museum of the Earth, in Ithaca, New York, as the second institution in their article on “Six museums to explore virtually during lockdown” between Paris’s Louvre and The British Museum based in London. Ithaca’s Museum of the Earth is a public educational venue of the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI), which is affiliated with Cornell University.

The Museum of the Earth combines natural history displays, interactive science features and art exhibitions to encourage "critical thinking about life on Earth in the past and today, and how our species is affecting the natural world." The museum's permanent exhibition takes visitors on a journey through 4.5 billion years of the Earth's history.

Since the coronavirus had limited the access to their current special exhibit, "Bees! Diversity, Evolution, Conservation"—which had been scheduled to run through the end of the summer—staff members worked quickly to make a virtual version of the exhibit available for viewing anywhere in the world.  This online version of the exhibit takes one through the fascinating world of bees and reveals amazing facts and new insights into the over 20,000 species of bees which are vital to the cultivation of the food we eat. The online version of the exhibit includes amazing macro photography, videos, and illustrations of bee anatomy and behavior. Virtual visitors can get a closeup look at 100 million-year-old ancestors of bees preserved in amber and see videos of bee scientists at work. The virtual exhibit is available here.

Since before the beginning of government-imposed shutdowns, PRI had been working on a number of efforts to expand its reach through online offerings. They have now consolidated many of these offerings in a new “Learn & Teach @ Home” section of their website that includes a number of great resources for Earth, life, and climate science education. The resources include their Digital Encyclopedia of Ancient Life and 3D fossil images that you can look at close up and rotate fully. They also have posted their Teacher-Friendly Guides to Earth and Climate Sciences available as free downloads, have new coloring pages and workbooks for children, and are continuing to rapidly expand their YouTube video offerings on a number of topics.

PRI has also just announced that one of the premier exhibits on permanent display in their Cayuga Nature Center public venue: “Cayuga Lake: Past & Present”, is also now available online here. The exhibit goes into detail on the biosystem of Upstate New York’s second largest Finger Lake, Cayuga Lake, and how the lake has evolved over time—including the influence of humans on the ecology of the lake and the region. Included in the exhibit are explanations of the chemistry, water quality, and species diversity in the lake, along with descriptions of many of the major native and introduced species that live in the lake today.


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