Interactive program for kids: ‘Cosmonautics Day at the Hermitage’

Date: 12th April 2019

Aim of the project: the program is designed to remind children about certain aspects of space sciences and show how they are linked to works of art on show in the halls of the museum. 

Program of events:

Visitors were invited to take part in quests for exhibits at the museum related to astronomy like ‘Gods, Planets and Constellations.’ (intended for children aged 7-10) and ‘Signs of the Zodiac’ (for ages 11-16).

The volunteers organised a workshop on ‘Representations of Space in the Ancient World.’ Visitors at the Hermitage learnt about the contributions of Greek philosophers and scientists to our knowledge of space – and how many of the terms we use today come from Greek. Volunteers told workshop participants about astronomical objects named after ancient greek myths, for example, the asteroids Iphigenia and Orestes, the asteroid clusters named ‘Greeks’ and ‘Trojans’ and others. These characters and scenes from Greek myths are shown on vases, plafond paintings, murals, trellises, maps and statues at the Hermitage. Visitors were shown the experiments of Ancient Greek astronomers: Hypatia of Alexandria (4th Century BCE), who discovered that the Earth revolves in an elliptical orbit, and Eratosthenes of Cyrene (4th Century CE) who proved that the Earth is a sphere. 

Young visitors happily made paper flexagons and moving polyhedrons from the images of the works of art which were talked about in the workshop.

Volunteers collected interesting facts about astronomical objects and presented them in informational leaflets and travel maps. These described great discoveries in the history of astronomy which have enabled mankind to try to write down the laws of the universe, and make space closer and better understood. 

Organisers of the event: partners at the NMO ‘School Centre’ and Hermitage volunteers.