‘Night Owls’ at Science Museum
8th Dec 2018
Blog by Helen Schell

(click on photos to see more)

Once a year, the Science Museum offers an accessible evening event for young adults (ages 16+), who need a quieter environment to explore the museum. This includes many individuals with autism spectrum conditions, who are unable to attend on a typical day. There were around 200 visitors on the night.

The SunSpaceArt activity participated with a workshop: ‘Can you unfold the Sun and fold space to create a solar satellite pop-up card? Solar physics and art converge in this inspirational interactive workshop with live science demonstrations’.

This was a drop-in event, make and take workshop, which presented solar science inspired art & craft techniques. The members of the SunSpaceArt team participating were: Helen Mason (solar scientist), Helen Schell (artist & ESERO-UK Space Ambassador), and Christabel Forbes (artist & art teacher).

Helen Mason explored solar science and the artists assisted participants with their interpretation of the science and their making techniques. The workshop lasted 2.5 hours and around 30 people participated in our activities, some focused on making and some focused science activities. The interactions were fewer than other drop-in events, but also more intense.

Our workshop was situated at the entrance of the Sun exhibition which was a prime spot. The participants were shown examples of pop-up space themed cards and assisted to produce their own versions using a range of coloured cards and papers with decorative materials. They could also make pop-up stars, which were very popular. We set up a big table so that the participants could share ideas and learn from each other. This created a productive and pleasant working environment.

The solar science activities proved to be a great addition to the exhibition as visitors had lots of questions about the Sun. A successful exhibition should always encourage curiosity and create the need to understand more about the topic. There were UV torches and light reactive pens, UV beads, spectrum glasses and lenticular Sun postcards with intriguing solar images. Visitors were given cards, glasses and STFC Sun posters to take home.

This type of event also invites visitors to request SunSpaceArt projects within the terms of STEAM education. Several new contacts were made. The Night Owls completed our Sun workshops at the Science Museum for 2018, but we have been invited to go back again next year to run more events related to the Sun exhibition. We have all greatly enjoyed working with the Science Museum, London.