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Mystic planetarium receives a special NASA designation, opening up new teaching opportunities

Inside the Treworgy Planetarium.jpg
Joe Michael
Courtesy of Mystic Seaport Museum
Inside the Mystic Seaport Museum's Treworgy Planetarium, which was designated as a community anchor center by NASA.

The Treworgy Planetarium at Mystic Seaport Museum has been selected by NASA as one of their new community anchors in the country.

Planetarium supervisor Brian Koehler said the designation will help teach about southern Connecticut’s maritime history and space.

“Sixty-one years ago in 1960, it was decided to construct a planetarium on our grounds and the original purpose was to teach celestial navigation,” Koehler said. “So, the idea that the sailors are using the stars to find their way across the sea. Navigation was our primary objective.”

Koehler said the new NASA designation and a grant of $25,000 will help them teach STEM topics, including the latest science about stars and the universe, to local students in underserved communities.

He said it will improve their curriculum for all students.

“The idea here is now we will be able to take up-to-date, cutting edge NASA content and deliver that into these classrooms and to hopefully give these students opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have,” Koehler said.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.