Science Museum of Virginia's blog

Holiday Fun at the Polar Express Pajama Party

Thanks to all of the Museum member families who brought cute pajamas and lots of holiday cheer to our Polar Express pajama parties! Hundreds of cookies and numerous gallons of milk were consumed - and our member kids handcrafted tons of holiday ornaments. But of course, the highlight was the super-comfy showing of The Polar Express on the biggest screen in Virginia.

From Elated to Deflated

 On December 1, our fruitcake balloon made its debut in the Dominion Christmas Parade. Created to celebrate Fruitcake Science, our favorite holiday tradition of destroying – oops, we mean experimenting on holiday fruitcakes in the name of scientific inquiry, we were thrilled to be floating everyone’s least-favorite holiday treat down Broad Street. A hearty bunch of staff and friends of the Museum wrangled the balloon, including our member contest winners – the Barbieri Family

Day three: in the creek! posted by Steve Fenchell

The morning began with a quick dash for coffee at the local Starbucks. After some light conversation about our personal teaching positions we headed out at approximately 8:30 am. We met with Kaitlyn and Chris from the SCA at the National Park, for the second day, to continue our monitoring of the pristine streams found in Prince William County.

Day 4: Nature in the City

(Or, “another day, another macroinvertebrate”)

We loaded up and headed off deep into the wilds of… Alexandria.

Traffic wasn’t too bad! We made decent time getting to the Cameron Run, a 4th order stream in an industrial area with a LOT of human impacts. Think runoff and flooding, channelization, sewage and pollutants (ick.) But many of our fishies and bugs are resilient: even in these rather cruddy conditions, some organisms thrive.

It's not a Parachute, it's an Improvised Shade Hat!

In sixth grade my teacher gave us a scenario. We were stuck in the desert and could only have one item for rescue- what would we use? He gave us a list, from which I believe I picked a broken radio (I was optimistic-maybe I could fix it?). But the right answer was a mirror. A mirror could be used to signal your location when it reflected sunlight. That idea has always stuck with me and I always keep a mirror nearby in case….I’m ever stuck in the desert, or have something stuck in my teeth.

Aviators, Blood Chits & Short Snorters, Oh My!

If someone had asked me a year ago to describe a "blood chit" or a "short snorter bill", I'm pretty sure that I would have only been able to blink in response. But since I began my position as curator at the Virginia Aviation Museum (a division of the Science Museum of Virginia), I'm pleased to say that I now know that blood chits and short snorter bills were used by pilots during the Second World War and served two very different purposes: one acted at a lifesaving device, the other as a source of pride and revelry.

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