Museum collaboration presents ‘Hidden Figures Revealed’

Three-Day Event Celebrates the Many Contributions of African-American Women in STEM

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By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader

The Adler Planetarium, in partnership with the DuSable Museum of African American History, is hosting a three-day event—March 22, 23 and 25—inspired by the real-life stories of the women in the novel turned Oscar-nominated movie, Hidden Figures. Through a newly installed exhibition case dedicated to these women as well as special STEM-based programming and panel discussions at both museums, Hidden Figures Revealed is a celebration of African-American women in STEM—past, present and future.

At the Adler Planetarium, the women of Hidden Figures—NASA mathematicians Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson, now have their own installation in the museum’s Mission Moon exhibition. Mission Moon tells the compelling story of America’s first steps into space through the lives of those who lived it. Without the NASA mathematicians who developed the complex mathematical calculations needed to ensure successful space travel, many of them African-American women, America would not have won the space race. Guests will learn more about Vaughn, Jackson, and Johnson through photos, artifacts, and excerpts from their stories.

The women of Hidden Figures succeeded despite the racism and sexism they faced, but five decades later, women and people of color are still severely underrepresented in scientific fields. Why did the story of these women remain hidden for so long? What can we do to make sure the next great computer programmers, engineers, and mathematicians have the role models, mentors, and resources they need? During Hidden Figures Revealed, African-American STEM professionals will discuss these challenges and share their own stories during panel discussions. Guests will also have the opportunity to participate in film screenings and a variety of STEM-based programming designed to inspire the next generation of leaders in the sciences.

Event Details:

Wednesday, March 22, 11:00 a.m. – “Hidden Figures…Hidden History” at DuSable Museum: FREE Student Screening – “Hidden Figures,” Limited Seating – Reservations Required -773-947-0600 x225 or via email whamilton@dusablemuseum.org.

Thursday, March 23, 11:00 a.m. – “Hidden Figures…Hidden History” at DuSable Museum: FREE Student Screening – “Hidden Figures,” Limited Seating – Reservations Required -773-947-0600 ext 225 or via email whamilton@dusablemuseum.org.

Thursday, March 23, 7:30 p.m. – Moderated Panel Discussion at DuSable Museum: A panel discussion with clips from the “Hidden Figures” movie will take place at the DuSable Museum. Andrea Berry, a computer scientist and Emmy award-winning broadcast technologist will moderate the panel consisting of STEM leaders including Jedidah Isler, Camille Eddy, Michole Washington, Ranthony Edmonds and Ruqiah Muhammad. A Q&A session will follow. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for Adler Planetarium and DuSable Museum members and available online at: http://bit.ly- /2mugTWD.

Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. – Private Screenings and Panel Discussion for Chicago area youth: Daytime film screenings for area youth with post-film discussion led by the Adler’s Youth Leadership Council featuring conversations with local STEM professionals. Panelists include physicist at IIT Gayle Ratliff, data scientist Safia Abdalla, chemist Linda Boasmond, and founder of AeroStar Aviation Tammera Holmes.

Saturday, March 25, 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – STEM Programming at
the Adler Planetarium free with Admission:
Engineering and math-focused programming stations through- out the museum brought to guests by Crazy Eights and Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana:

  • Glow-in-the-Dark-City: Build a 3D city using glowsticks and foam balls
  • UFO Landing: Do the math to make your own shooting stars and see how far they fly
  • Straw Rockets: Design and build your own rocket and race against your friends
  • Little Astronauts: Create your own astronaut and learn about the thermodynamics of space suits
  • Create Your Own Constellation: Tell a story using constellations and make your own constellation to take home

10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Engineering for the future: Participate in various engineering activities inspired by scenes from “Hidden Figures.”

2:00 p.m. Black Girls (Can) Fly! A tribute to African-American aviators Bessie Coleman and Mae Jemison, this play tells the story of 10-year-old Chicago girl Bessie Mae. Bessie is afraid to leave her home because she lives in a high-crime neighborhood. When her parents present her with the opportunity to travel, Bessie must overcome her fears to allow herself to fly. Black Girls (Can) Fly! Inspires young people not just to dream, but to do.

2:15– 3:00 p.m. STEM Chats: Chat with STEM professionals including IIT physicist Gayle Ratliff, data scientist Safia Abdall, chemist Linda Boasmond, and AeroStar founder Tammera Holmes about their backgrounds and career paths.

For more information, visit http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/events/hidden-figures-revealed-2017-03-23/ and www.dusablemuseum.org.

About the DuSable Museum of African American History:

The DuSable Museum of African American History is one of the oldest institutions of its kind in the country. Our mission is to promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the achievements, contributions and experiences of African Americans through exhibits, programs and activities that illustrate African and African American history, culture and art. The DuSable Museum is a Smithsonian Institution Affiliate. For more information on the Museum and its programs, please call 773-947-0600 or visit us at www.dusablemuseum.org.

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