We are thrilled to collaborate with the Maria Mitchell Association this year to share in their mission to create opportunities for all to develop a life-long passion for science through education, research, and firsthand exploration of the sky, land, and sea of Nantucket Island. The Maria Mitchell Association (MMA) was founded in 1902 to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. After she discovered a comet in 1847, Mitchell’s international fame led to many achievements and awards, including an appointment as the first American professor of astronomy at Vassar College. Mitchell believed in “learning by doing” and today that philosophy is reflected in the MMA’s mission statement, programs, research projects, and other activities. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, and a research center, while preserving the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. Programming includes camps, after school programming, open nights, speaker series, courses, festivals, symposiums, internships, and workshops. For more information, please visit mariamitchell.org.
Curiosity Can Change the World
By Joanna Roche
On a tiny island off the coast of Massachusetts, the legacy of one woman, Maria Mitchell can change the world. The namesake of America’s first female astronomer, natural scientist, educator and champion of curiosity, The Maria Mitchell Association, is on a mission to create a Discovery Center & Aquarium that takes on climate change education and coastal resiliency adaptation. The MMA launched this effort in October 2023, and has unveiled plans for renovating its waterfront property into the first coastal resiliency project on the island. The project is specifically designed to adapt to the rising waters in real-time and reflect the harbor of Nantucket. You can check out the plans and our vision right here on the Fisher blog.
One thing we know for sure is that we need your help to create this vision and legacy. We are launching The Ack Curious Project this January, and we need your help. Over the next year, as we aim to build awareness of our project and ultimately support, we want to focus on curiosity. Our friends here at Fisher Real Estate have graciously offered to support, and to help us along the way. Here’s how it’s going to work – we want to know what you are curious about, and we want to follow that curiosity. We will field questions, offer explanations, find information, and offer inspiration, on anything SKY, LAND, and SEA that you are curious about. Find something on the beach? See a bird on a walk? Want to know the name of the constellation you saw? Got a question about a snake or a turtle? A bug? A rock? We’ve got you. Our team of researchers, biologists, ecologists, experts in general on all thing’s nature will answer your questions. We’re going to do all of this on Instagram, and we will use the hashtags #AckCurious. Tag your question with this hashtag, and we’ll comment and repost an answer to stories or feed. Or email us, call us, or ask us in-person. By sharing the questions and answers, we encourage curiosity about our island, the habitat, the inhabitants, and the wonder of Nantucket’s nature. We’re going to offer a few talks throughout the year that will focus on what we are finding and learning via The Ack Curious Project, so stay tuned.
As we wind down the year and get ready for the new one, we are simply grateful for the opportunity to inspire and nurture curiosity in our community. We offer a suggestion, a simple one, on how to begin. Maria Mitchell was known for her nature walks. She took one every day with her notebook in hand, looking at the plants, shells, bugs, and birds. We invite you to join us in creating that simple practice in your life, taking a walk at least once a week, where you are present and curious in nature, and see what comes up for you. We hope this sparks all kinds of questions, and we can’t wait to hear from you!