July 16, 2015

The Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association
E-Comet Newsletter


Thank You!

The Maria Mitchell Association's staff and board would like to thank everyone who to donated and attended our Nantucket Red-Tie Soirée on Sunday, July 12th.  We had a great time and we hope you did too!      

More pictures can be found in Gene Mahon's most recent publication here.  To subscribe to "Mahon About Town" and stay updated on events and specials on Island, please click here

Photobooth pictures are available on our Facebook page and can be printed here.

Password: MariaMitchell


Silent Auction Open
There is still time to bid on silent auction items from the Nantucket Red-Tie Soirée!  For example, we have a fantastic introductory membership to the Hermitage Club on Haystack Mountain, Vermont.  Click here to see more packages.

      2015 Harbor Research Underway


Do mooring balls affect the health of eelgrass beds? How much of Nantucket's eelgrass is physically damaged by moorings?  Andrew McCandless, a former MMA volunteer and former science teacher at Nantucket High School, has begun field work to answer these questions as part of a PhD program at Portland State University.  The MMA is providing Andrew with lab space, microscopes, water quality probes, and our research boat.   Additionally, Andrew has the help of two MMA high school interns who are funded by the Nantucket Shellfish Association.  You can see Andrew and his student assistants sorting small creatures in the Natural Science Museum and they are happy to answer questions- please drop by to learn more!


This is a collaborative project.  In addition to the MMA, Andrew has additional local support from the Nantucket Land Council, Great Harbor Yacht Club Marine Grants Program, and the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative.




Andrew preparing to investigate eelgrass beds in Nantucket Harbor. 

Pluto Update

Have you heard all the buzz about Pluto?  Below is the most recent image taken by NASA's New Horizons team.  It shows mountains on Pluto that are no more than 100 million years old.  Read more here.



Save the Date

Maria's birthday is coming up and we want to invite you to come celebrate her 197th birthday! The MMA campus on Vestal Street will be free to the public on July 31st from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Children's activities and interesting learning opportunities for adults, will be offered throughout the afternoon including: face painting, tours, nature and astronomy-themed games and activities, and even insect races! We can't wait to see you



Mitchell House's

Junior Historians For Ages 7-10

Have a young historian or history buff in your midst? Mitchell House is again offering its popular Junior Historians on Tuesdays and Thursdays in July and August from 10AM to Noon. Costs are $35 for Members and $45 for Non-Members per class. The offerings this year include:


Nantucket Girls - Offered Tuesday, August 4

Nantucket was a unique place for girls and women in Maria's day. With so many husbands and fathers at sea, island women worked outside the home running shops and Nantucket girls stayed in school longer than their brothers. Come learn what life was like for Nantucket women as we visit some of the sites where they worked, learn about some of their famous exploits, and create some art and crafts projects based on what we learn.


Games of Long Ago - Offered Thursday, August 6

When school was out, homework was complete, and their list of chores accomplished, what kinds of games did children of the 18th and 19th centuries play? Come learn exciting parlour tricks, and create and play some of the games of children long ago, including Snail and Blind Man's Buff.


Scrapbooks and Dreams - Offered Tuesday, August 11

Scrapbooking is not something new. Women and children often created scrapbooks in the 19th century, including Maria Mitchell and her family. It was considered a great rainy day activity! People also created "dream" houses and "dream" rooms by cutting pictures from catalogs and creating scenes. Come create your own "dream" room and scrapbook to take home.  


Mystery History Ghost Tour - Offered Thursday, August 13

Take a walk through the streets of Town as we hunt for different and unusual architectural features. We will create sketches of our finds and hear some spooky stories of the ghosts who haunt these homes and others.


Krazy and Kolorful Kaleidoscopes and Bubble Blowers - Offered Tuesday, July 21 or Tuesday, August 18

William Mitchell studied the polarization of light and was known to have a prism of his own making hanging in the family's front sitting room. He loved bright colors! Two colorful and fun activities for children and adults in Maria's day were kaleidoscopes and blowing bubbles. We will learn about these items and make our own kaleidoscopes and bubble blowers to take home.


Keep the Lights Burning - Offered Thursday, July 23 or Thursday, August 20

Join us as we learn about life before electricity. We will learn about different lamps and candles used and about the craft of tinsmithing - practiced by Maria Mitchell's uncle and her brother - and then make our own candle and lantern to take home.


The Mitchell House Sampler - Offered Monday, July 27

Class runs from 10AM-3PM, $75 Member, $85 Non-Member

A unique opportunity for your child to spend a day at the Mitchell House with its staff learning about the House and the Mitchells while creating several crafts focused on in other Mitchell House classes and creating new ones as well. Children are required to bring their own lunches, a snack, and extra water.

Register Here.


Family Astronomy Programs 

ARTstronomy: Using pictures and stories,

children are introduced to the wonders of the

universe and their place in it.  Children must

be accompanied by an adult.


Blast Off!: Children discover the wonders of

space exploration by building and launching

their own model rockets. Children must be

accompanied by an adult.



Robot Explorers: After an introduction to 

robots and robotic spacecraft that have explored our solar system, teams assemble robot 'cublets' and use a robotic arm to learn how robots work.  Children must be accompanied by an adult. 



Stars and Senses Night Hike: Enjoy an evening hike under the stars where you will test your night vision, listen for nocturnal animals and learn about their adaptations. Appropriate for ages 8 and up.



AstroKids Night:  Drop your children

at MMA's Natural Science Museum while you blast off for dinner during AstroKids Nights. Your child will play indoor and outdoor games, create works of art, complete scavenger hunts, or go on a night hike.  This program is for ages 6-12.


For more information or to register for any of these programs, please click HERE

  Family Snorkeling Programs


Join us for an underwater adventure as we snorkel off of Jetties Beach! Our staff will provide participants with the proper training and equipment. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Ages 10 and up.



 July 14 and 28:

$50 members, $75 non-members


July 21 with underwater photography:

$75 members, $95 non-members

 Sign up here.

Visit Us:

Aquarium: 10am-4pm Mon-Sat.

Natural Science Museum: 10am-4pm Mon-Sat.

Mitchell House: Guided Tours 10am-4pm Mon-Sat.

Vestal Street Observatory: 2pm Mon-Fri.

Loines Observatory: 9pm - 10:30pm MWF



Have You Renewed Your Membership?
Members Receive Exclusive Benefits:
Discounts on Discovery Classes, Nature Walks,  
Lectures, and Other Programs .  
Unlimited free admission to all MMA museums.




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         Maria Mitchell's Attic
       A blog about Maria Mitchell, the Mitchells, and the
                             Mitchell House

Also follow our Astronomy news and tweets from @ACKstronomy.

 4 Vestal Street
Nantucket, MA 02554
(508) 228-9198



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Board and Staff


John L. Daniels, President
Deb Manus, First Vice President
Helene M. Weld, Second Vice President
Michael Nelson, Treasurer
Patricia L.R. Brennan, Ph.D., Clerk
Howard Blitman
Patty Gibian
Joan Gulley 
John Hartner
Judy MacLeod
Malcolm MacNab, M.D., Ph.D. 
Toni McKerrow

Mary Archibald (Bebe) Poor, D.V.M  

Katherine Rhode, Ph.D.
Eileen Rudden

Anne P. Strain
Edward Symes, III



Administration (508)228-9198

David Gagnon, Executive Director

dgagnon @mariamitchell.org

Joan Alison Stockman, Director of Finance & Administration

George Donnelly, Director of Development & Communications

Sarah Erichsen, Development Coordinator

Lauren Berlin, Administrative & Marketing Assistant
Astronomy (508)228-9723
Michael West, Ph.D. Director of Astronomy

Gary Walker, Astronomer and Telescope Engineer
Vladimir Strelnitski, Ph.D.,
Maria Mitchell Observatory's Director Emeritus 
Mitchell House & Archives and Special Collections (508)228-2896
Jascin Leonardo Finger, Deputy Director & Curator of the Mitchell House, Archives, and Special Collections
Natural Science (508)228-9198
Andrew Mckenna-Foster, Director of Natural Science
Education (508)228-9198
Kim Botelho, Director of Education 

Research Associates 
 Robert Kennedy, Ph.D., Senior Research Fellow
Edith F. Andrews, Ornithologist Emeritus
Peter Boyce,  Ph.D., Research Associate
Valerie A. Hall, Ph.D., Research Associate

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Maria Mitchell Association
4 Vestal Street, Nantucket, MA 02554
phone: (508) 228-9198
fax: (508) 228-1031
Maria Mitchell Association