On the chilly morning of November 18th, 2017, I woke up at basically the crack of dawn to catch the C train to meet up with the rest of the CDM crew at the NYC Museum of Natural History. Although on the trip there all I could think about was food (we went to Shake Shack after the museum, but I’ll get to that later), I was surprised to see that when I reached there, 25 minutes early, 70% of the fellows were already chilling in the corner in front of the museum. I eventually ended up meeting one of the new mentors that proctored the trip, Ms. Maud, who managed to convince me to go and chat with the fellows that were already here (I know I sound like the best person to socialize with). After chatting with them, Ms. Maud, Mr. Graham (a mentor and board member), and Ms. Julia (another mentor and one of the co-founders of the organization) all grouped together in front of a statue Theodore Roosevelt as Ms. Julia gave out her number to everyone, just in case there was an emergency or if someone called her out of pure boredom. I kid I kid, everyone seemed totally stoked to be here that day!
We headed inside and went through a 3 second bag check that was just by the doors of the museum, then went to wait into a line that was about 1,000 people long to be such kind and charitable people and to obtain our tickets. After all that, we all split into 5 groups of about 3-7 people, which was when the real exploration started. We visited so many exhibits and halls that it’s hard to name them all, but I’ll cover 3 of my favorite exhibits that we explored.
Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Hall of the Universe
The first hall we visited was a science lover’s dream paradise. We stood outside of this amazingly structured orb , when first arriving, and Ms. Julia started to talk about the famous Big Bang Theory, starting with the simple question, “do any of you know about it?” After we all said the same thing, mainly that it was an explosion of energy that really started the process of Earth and Space as we know it today, she started to get really in depth about what it really was. In the most simple of terms, stolen from Google, The Big Bang is how the universe as we know it started with a small singularity, then inflated over the next 13.8 billion years to the cosmos that we know today. Incredible!
Once we finished our conversation about our thoughts and tribulations on the theory, we went inside of the Hayden Big Bang Theater, which looked like a really cool mini movie theater, filled with artifacts of rocks and mini planets. In the center of this sphere was a white crater images were projected on, only instead of it being all jagged and sharp like a crater, it was perfectly smooth, and not too deep into the floor. After taking a few selfies in a very colorfully lit portion of the room, we went to the middle of the room, and a short film started to play. The flick itself was wonderfully created, very elaborate and extremely realistic (when they were saying a giant explosion of light happened, a very loud vibrational explosion “shook” the entire room). Overall, this exhibit was a 10/10, I would most definitely go again.
David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth/Hall of African Peoples
In this hall, we went into the Explosive Volcanoes section, where we learned about sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Also, we saw a few real artifacts that we were able to touch and read about. We read a short excerpt about subduction-zone volcanism, which stated that most explosive eruptions occur in volcanoes above subduction zones, where one tectonic plate dives beneath the other. 80-120 km below the surface, magma forms when the rocks of mantle melt just above the subducting plate. The magma then rises through the mantle, and erupts to form explosive volcanoes such as the volcano Vesuvius. It also stated that these eruptions have built arc shaped islands, and continental islands.
Ms. Julia even told a story about a shark that somehow has been managing to live in a volcano, while being able to somehow get food and not get burnt alive (I have my speculations about this, but hey nature you do you) (for the website we’ll link the article about this!!!).
Next, we went to the African Peoples Hall, and we saw numerous artifacts from various aspects of African culture, such as: jewelry, money, clothing, religious items, musical instruments, and tools for items such as farming and fishing. The Egungun Society Dancer, a masquerade performer, was a musical aspect we learned about in particular, who was used as comic relief during solemn ceremonies. 10/10, would visit both halls again.
After spending 2 hours in the museum, we all went to the nearest Shake Shack and enjoyed its delicious burgers (I ended up with a scrumptious double cheese burger that really satisfied my hunger from the morning). While eating, we all sat down and talked about everything, from shopping to videogames to asking my mentor, Ms. Zhiwei, to come and lecture a certain fellows class about psychology. In general, I learned quite a lot in this museum today, including the Big Bang Theory, Subduction-zone Volcanism, masquerade performers, and that this museum loves having quotes from a previous U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt, on every single wall there. My favorite thing about this trip overall was the fact that all of us fellows and mentors actually bonded together in our own ways. If I had to say one thing to improve upon, it would be to extend the time of our trip for that day !
Samantha Worrell-Johnson, or “Sam J.” as we like to caller her, is a Junior that attends school at Williamsburg Charter Highschool, in deep Bushwick. She’s a superstar that’s passionate about computers, technology, communication, journalism, and beyond!