Abbe Museum helps bring together Wabanaki youth and astronomy


Students from the Indian Township School will combine their own stories and images of the cosmos as part of the Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos program. The Abbe Museum and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics are helping to provide this opportunity. IMAGE COURTESY OF ABBE MUSEUM

BAR HARBOR — The Abbe Museum has announced its participation in the Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos II (YCCC II) program. The Abbe is partnering with the Indian Township School to offer the opportunity for students to research, learn and photograph the cosmos using telescopes owned and maintained by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

This online exhibit is a preview of the full exhibition that will be displayed at the Abbe during the Acadia Night Sky Festival in September 2015. The full exhibition will include students from other Wabanaki communities and promote increased interest, awareness and knowledge of astronomy content and Wabanaki oral histories.

For the initial online exhibit, students focused mainly on two Passamaquoddy stories: “Of the Surprising and Singular Adventures of Two Water Fairies Who Were Also Weasels and How They Each Became the Bride of a Star” and “Possesomuwinuwok: The Star People.”

The goal of the YCCC II program is to use hands-on exercises to teach youth how to control the Micro-Observatory robotic telescopes over the internet and take their own images of the universe. Images created will be used in astrophotography exhibitions featuring the students’ unique images, captions and stories. YCCC promotes increased interest, awareness and knowledge of astronomy content. It further promotes understanding of technology and proficiency in real scientific research skills.

This year, affiliate organizations that piloted the first YCCC program are offering expertise by serving as mentors to the new participating affiliate organizations. Through this unique relationship, YCCC II Affiliates will be a part of a community of educators that collaborate in monthly webinars to discuss experiences and share materials and ideas on promoting and reaching young people through this initiative.

“Youth Capture the Colorful Cosmos” is funded by the Smithsonian Institution’s Youth Access Grants program awarded by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education and Access. The project is led by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, in partnership with Smithsonian Affiliations. The Abbe Museum is the first and only Smithsonian Affiliate in Maine.

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