The parents of the participating children are employees of Strategic Systems Programs (SSP). Their day began this morning when NHF STEM educator Captain John Paulson, USN (Ret.) welcomed the families inside the Cold War Gallery. He used the Trident I C-4 Missile display to connect to each of the many branches of SSP ( launcher, missiles, navigation, fire control, guidance, warhead, system engineering, finance, training, and test and evaluation). It is a great feeling to see all the creative wheels turning in those young minds as he discussed how missiles operated from yesterday to today!The visitors then broke off. The older kids and their parents stayed with Capt. Paulson for a tour through the Cold War Gallery exhibits. They also watched a stream of the Okeanos Explorer live from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The Explorer investigated a possible shipwreck site this morning that turned out to be hydrocarbon extrusions (or tar flowers) over ten feet tall coming out of the bottom of the ocean floor with coral colonies. The younger visitors visited the education staff inside the National Museum of the United States Navy for a few fun crafts. The National Museum has taken part in the work day kid-friendly event for nearly a decade. Kids made everything from zipper pulls to patriotic flags and aerial target kites. Laura Hockensmith, acting NMUSN acting director, got some help with the programs from some nearby curatorial interns. They put on the education hats and dove in, doing a great job in the process. “Today is a great opportunity for the museum to showcase the museum to workers at the Navy Yard by providing activities for their children,” said Hockensmith. “I really appreciate that they are here with their kids, especially when some parents are coming for the first time themselves!”
Let’s hope it is the start of a lifelong love affair with naval history!