South Florida Museum Volunteers are out of this world at the South Florida Museum

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April 21, 2016
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National Volunteer Recognition Month

On April 11, we honored all of our volunteers and celebrated some special Bradenton residents during our annual recognition lunch. These folks play vital roles behind the scenes helping with exhibits and our collections and on the front line where they help greet and guide our visitors. We were pleased to take a moment to recognize their important contributions.

An important note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to cancel our planned August showing of the Star Wars movie series as the films are no longer available for screening. Many of you have generously included the dates in your event round-ups and we wanted to make sure that you removed that information. We apologize for the inconvenience!

But we’re still all about space this year as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Bishop Planetarium. Check out this week’s 50 for 50!



Museum Volunteers are Out of This World
The South Florida Museum staff and Board Members recently had the pleasure of recognizing our amazing group of volunteers who collectively contribute more than 5,000 hours of service to our nonprofit organization each year.

“The 5,000-plus hours of time donated to support the Museum represents more than what two full-time staff positions would spend on our educational programs, tours, caring for the manatees and the artifacts in our collections — not to mention all the other things volunteers help us with,” said Museum CEO Brynne Anne Besio during a special Volunteer Recognition Luncheon on April 11. “Their generosity is invaluable.”
Besio also offered special acknowledgements for the volunteer contributions made by the following Bradenton residents:
  • Elena McCormack,who volunteered more than 450 hours as she helped the Museum’s curators help to care for our collections and served as a greeter who welcomed our visitors.
  • Donna Kirkpatrick, who spent more than 290 hours working with the manatees, including helping transport Sarasolo and IceCube to the Museum for care in our Stage 2 Manatee Rehabilitation Facility.
  • Shirley Sullivan and Jeanne Ann Moore were also recognized for their history of service to the Museum. Both have been volunteers with us for more than 30 years.
  • Learn about volunteering at the South Florida Museum
Volunteers Shirley Sullivan and Elena McCormack
Volunteers Jeanne Ann Moore and Donna Kirkpatrick.

girlsSunday, April 24
Free: Presenting the Mosaic SciGirls Day at the Museum
Meet real scientists who work in the community during the free SciGirls Day at the South Florida Museum. The afternoon program, presented by Mosaic, will pair girls ages 8-12 with female scientists from Mosaic and the Museum for hands-on activities that  highlight science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.

The day will include stations that focus on chemistry, ecosystems and marine biology and feature related highlights from the PBS SciGirls TV series, which showcases pre-teen girls ages 8 to 12 who put science, technology, engineering and math to use in their daily lives. Participants will also take home SciGirl gifts.

  • When: Noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, April 24
  • Where: South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. West, Bradenton, Fla., 34205
  • Cost: Free for each participant, plus one chaperone (chaperone required)
  • RSVP: Space is limited. Participants MUST pre-register for the program
  • Register: Online now

Wednesday, April 27
Join Us: Stelliferous Live
Join us for our monthly live star talk, Stelliferous Live with Jeff Rodgers, Director of the Bishop Planetarium.
Stelliferous Live takes place on the fourth Wednesday of most months at 7 pm in the Bishop Planetarium. Each month, Rodgers takes guests on a tour of the upcoming month’s stars, planets and constellations and talks about current events in astronomy. He also opens the floor for an always-fun question and answer session — so if you’re star-struck bring your questions to us! Stelliferous Live is great for curious adults and inquisitive kids alike. Come prepared with your curiosity and your questions and expect to leave a bit smarter about your universe. Beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks available for purchase.

Saturday, May 7
Family Night at the Museum:

Surfing Sound Waves and Science Fair Showcase
Why does sound travel faster underwater? What do the terms “low pitch” and “high pitch” mean? Investigate these questions and more as you experiment with sound waves and explore the history of radio broadcasting. You’ll even be able to grab a headset and listen to famous radio broadcasts from the past — AND make your own music using the online oscilloscope keyboard. Watch as your sound waves appear before your eyes.
This special Family Night will also feature student projects from the Manatee County Science Fair. Come explore the world of science while celebrating student work in the Science Fair Showcase!

  • The Museum is open until 8 p.m. with half-price admission rates beginning at 3 p.m.
  • Most Family Nights include a Live Star Talk and/or a Space Show in the Bishop Planetarium, check individual dates for more information.
  • The Rock Hall of Fame Planetarium show runs from 8:15 p.m. to 9 pm.
  • Museum Friends-Level Members and above always get in free for Family Night and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

campSummer Science Camp Registration Now Open

Space, volcanoes, sharks, survival and a summer time machine are just some of the topics on tap this summer at the South Florida Museum, where we offer six weeks of summer camp for elementary and middle school students.

Registration is now open for our Summer Science Camps for students in grades 1 through 5 and students in grades 6 through 8. Camps take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday (except for holiday weeks). Snacks are provided but students must bring their own lunches each day.
Elementary-Level Camp (for kids entering grades 1-5):
Week 1* (June 14 – 17): “Space: The Final Frontier”
Week 2 (June 20 – 24): “Blow Your Top: Volcanoes!”
Week 3 (June 27 – July 1): “Survival Camp”
Week 4* (July 5 – 8): “Smile, It’s Shark Week”
Week 5 (July 11 – 15): “Ancient Civilizations”
Week 6 (July 18 – 22): “Frozen: The Real Ice Age”
*Holiday week. No camp on Monday.

Middle-School Level Camp (for kids entering grades 6-8):
Week 1* (June 14 – 17): “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!”
Week 2 (June 20 – 24): “Summer Camp Time Machine”
Week 3 (June 27 – July 1): “Summer Camp Time Machine”
Week 4* (July 5 – 8): “Let’s Sling Some Paint”
Week 5 (July 11 – 15): “Summer Camp Time Machine”
Week 6 (July 18 – 22): “Summer Camp Time Machine”
*Holiday week. No camp on Monday.
Registration Details:
A $50 non-refundable deposit is required for each camp to secure a slot. Full payment is accepted at registration or required by one week prior to the camp’s start date. Space is limited and slots will be filled on a first come, first served basis.
Camp Fees:
Museum Members: $200/session; Additional Member campers receive the 10 percent family discount and pay just $180/session.
Non-Member Campers: $250/session
*Fees for camps that take place during holiday weeks (June 14-17 & July 5-8) are reduced:
Museum Members: $160, with additional Member campers paying $140
Non-Member Campers: $210
Register now or contact Susan McCarthy, at 941.746.4131, ext. 113, or [email protected].


Fun Space Facts: 50 for 50 
Because 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Bishop Planetarium — the Gulf Coast’s premier astronomy education facility — we thought we’d have a little fun by pulling together a few lesser-known space-related facts. (Cocktail party fodder, perhaps?) Our readers will see them in our weekly South Florida Museum Connection enewsletter (sign up if you’d like to get the newsletter) and we’ll also be sharing them through our social media channels, like Facebook. You can also read them online.

50 for 50: Week 14

Talk about an alignment of the stars (or shooting stars, if you will): The Lyrid meteor shower reaches its peak between midnight and dawn on Saturday, April 23, which happens to be the 500th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Of course, Shakespeare and his Renaissance buds knew about meteors, as evidenced by Richard II (“… meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven”). But they didn’t know that meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through a debris trail left by a comet, and bits of debris burn up in the atmosphere; instead, they thought meteors were vapors (exhalations) rising from the Earth and ignited by the sun, as evidenced by Henry IV, Part I (“My Lord, do you see these meteors?/ Do you behold these exhalations?”). And if we could bring Shakespeare back to life and explain meteor mechanics to him, he’d probably quote himself: “Oh, I am ignorance itself in this!” (Henry IV, Part 1). Lyrids, by the way, are debris from the periodic Comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher and have been observed for more than 2,600 years.

In this 2012 NASA photo, astronaut Don Pettit (who was aboard the International Space Station) trained his video camera on Earth below. Footage from that night revealed breathtaking images of Earth at night with meteors ablating — or burning up — in the atmosphere. The image shows a Lyrid in a six-second exposure, taken on April 22, 2012 at 5:34:22 UT. The International Space Station position was over 88.5 W, 19.9 N at an altitude of 392 km. NASA astronomer Bill Cooke mapped the meteor to the star field — seen in this annotated image – and confirmed that the meteor originated from the Lyrid radiant. The image is rotated so that the north celestial pole (NCP) is roughly in the up direction. The lights of Florida are clearly visible to the right of the meteor. Cuba, the Florida Keys and the eastern Gulf Coast shoreline are also visible. Some brilliant flashes of lightning are also prevalent in the image.

Open until Summer 2016
World’s Largest Coprolite Collection 
When Guinness World Records certified George Frandsen’s coprolite collection as the world’s largest collection of fossilized dung, South Florida Museum staff supervised the hours-long count to help ensure all of the Guinness World Records rules were followed. This unique collection — which includes a fossilized poo specimen nicknamed ‘Precious’ believed to have been left behind by a crocodilian species — remains on display at the Museum through Summer 2016. Visiting is free with regular admission.
About the South Florida Museum

As the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the South Florida Museum offers engaging exhibits as well as educational programs that interpret the scientific and cultural knowledge of Florida, the world and our universe. In addition to permanent exhibits, the Museum features a constantly changing lineup of temporary exhibitions — offering something new to discover with each visit. The Museum includes the all-digital Bishop Planetarium Theater and the Parker Manatee Aquarium. The Bishop Planetarium is the Gulf Coast’s premier astronomy education facility. Now celebrating its 50th year in operation, the Planetarium is outfitted with a state-of-the-art Planetarium and projection system with stunning multimedia capabilities. The Parker Manatee Aquarium is home to Snooty™, Manatee County’s official mascot and the oldest known manatee in the world, as certified by Guinness World Records. Snooty shares his Aquarium pool with other manatees that have been injured or orphaned and are being rehabilitated for return to the wild as part of the Manatee Rehabilitation and Release Partnership.

South Florida Museum hours vary by season. Visit for details or call 941-746-4131.

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The South Florida Museum, P.O.Box 9265, 201 10th Street West, Bradenton, FL 34205
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