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Director Linda Deck: How we brought the Bradbury to you

See what’s in store for 2021!
December 1, 2020
Linda Deck


  • Stacy Baker
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Last year at this time in my Bradbury end-of-year review, I wrote “Sharing the work of the Lab with the public is the Bradbury’s main mission and it’s been a busy year at the Museum.” Well, this proved true again, but we did our work very differently in 2020 from the way I had anticipated. We didn’t open our doors after March 15 (beware those Ides!), instead keeping visitors and our staff safe from COVID-19. Observing Lab protocols, we began working from home as our jobs would allow, figuring out ways we could bring Bradbury experiences to you.

I’ve been saying that we’ve felt like Ginger Rogers — doing everything Fred Astaire would do but backwards and in heels — providing our usual great experiences, but virtually.

The Bradbury’s own broadcast studio

Bradbury Science Museum
Preparations for Frontiers in Science at the TechLab broadcast studio.

Teachers were the first on our minds, as subsequent spring field trips were cancelled and students found no classes to attend. We provided online resources for them and their families, and, in consultation with teachers, began planning for student experiences for the upcoming fall. Now, we have our TechLab broadcast studio, and have begun using it to engage with teachers and students in interactive virtual Museum Xplorations.

That studio enabled us to get back to offering Science on Tap every month, a joint project with the Los Alamos Creative District. Now with our reach potentially worldwide, we also enabled the best-attended-ever Frontiers in Science in October, with over 500 participants tuning into a conversation about Mars exploration. With the same technology we were able to offer a virtual High-Tech Halloween experience … thanks, Lab chemists!

Electricians and fabricators stay busy in the galleries

Since May we’ve been hard at work inside the Museum using Lab COVID-compliant behaviors in physical distancing and mask-wearing, to pick up where we left off in our exhibit design, fabrication, and installation. We want to be ready when we can open again. We can hardly wait for you to experience the Nuclear Explosion Monitoring exhibit, with its experiential “Seismic Seat.”

Mark Hartman, a master electrician, had fun wiring “Explosion Detectives,” a highly interactive, seven-panel exhibit.

Our team also built and installed updates to other exhibits including Building Immunity and Climate Perspectives, and we’ll soon have on display some intriguing historical artifacts from Manhattan Project days. And since some museums around the country did open, we traveled our Building Immunity exhibit to McWane Science Center in Birmingham, Alabama.

Other projects are in the process of gestation. A Supercomputing exhibit upgrade is in design and development, in partnership with New Mexico Highlands University students and mentors who are creating interactive screens and animations. An update to our Defense Gallery on the Lab’s nuclear weapons work is in planning. We optimistically continue the creation of our traveling science trailers, looking forward to deploying them at statewide festivals when the COVID gathering prohibitions have been lifted.

Bradbury Science Museum
We happily applauded when the Bradbury Science Museum Association (BSMA) moved its Gadgets store online with curbside delivery. Proceeds help support STEM outreach in Northern New Mexico.

My wish list for 2021

Don’t get me wrong ... the virtual world is fabulous, and we will continue virtual offerings in 2021. But we also look forward to seeing you back in the Museum to learn from our exhibits, or perhaps attend a great event like Robotics Night. We also can’t wait for our Science Ambassadors to set up in the Museum for Second Saturday with a Scientist, and for the BSMA’s Teen Advisory Board to offer Teen Nights.

All my best thoughts and wishes for a healthy and happy 2021!