Like so many cultural resources in Butte County, the Gateway Science Museum remains closed indefinitely in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But before they turned out all the lights, the staff populated the website with an impressive array of science-and-nature learning resources made up of both virtual and physical activities so that kids—and adults—can experience the museum from home.
The Gateway at Home page on the site is especially packed. In the “Virtual Curiosity” section, the museum’s closed Mission Aerospace exhibit gets new life via a series of flying activities including building your own roto-copter; constructing a paper rocket; and making and testing paper airplanes to determine how different designs affect performance. The treasure trove of paper-airplane resources is reason enough for everyone to visit, especially for the links to sites featuring tutorials on how to make dozens of different styles of planes (bookmark them here and here).
Other sections in Gateway at Home are “Wildlife Wonders” (weekly videos posted to social media); “Museum Without Walls” (archive of past lectures); and “Garden Detectives,” a collection of activities designed to get your mind and body outside. The “Color Outside” activity links to the U.S. Forest Service’s collection of free wildflower coloring pages, and the “Backyard Scavenger Hunt” provides a prompt for an adventure in nature with images of insects, plants and animals that might be spotted in your neighborhood.
There’s also an “Educators at Home” page on the Gateway site, with a list of links to resources for teachers, as well as a virtual version of the stunning Wildflowers, Watercolor & Wonder show. The exhibit features the watercolors of hiker/painter/naturalist Edward Stuhl, whose delicate depictions of the flora of Northern California were donated to Chico State.
The slideshow highlights species found in the Chico area, and there’s also link to the entire 300-plus works in the collection housed in the university’s Special Collections department at Meriam Library.