Young people from South Los Angeles have a future in space and science, according to Councilmember Herb Wesson. "If you can dream it, you can achieve it," said Wesson, who has become a strong supporter of the Traveling Space Museum and its exhibit which attracted over 3,000 kids at "Taste of Soul."
Founder/President Ivor Dawson established the Traveling Space Museum in 1998. The exhibit has thrilled students by bringing full scale and functional space travel simulators into schools as teaching tools. The outer space simulators are fun for the students to operate which in turn leads them to learn more about space as "the final frontier." The exhibit also features a lunar rover, space suits and helmets, a life-size replica of the world's smallest jet and a Mercury Program space module.
Wesson's involvement came at the behest of Clint Simmons, board member of the West Adams Neighborhood Council whose recent street festival hosted the museum. Simmons, a retired engineer from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, has been an advocate for more educational resources to encourage minority students in math and science.
The California Space Authority, a state agency dedicated to promoting California as the preeminent aerospace state, will honor the museum in November with its "2008 Buzz Aldrin Space Education and Workforce SpotBeam Award." The Award recognizes the museum's extraordinary contributions to California's leadership in space.
Over 1,100 parents signed petitions at the "Taste of Soul" exhibit urging the Los Angeles Unified School District to include the museum in its science education.
"We need to get our schools involved," said Wesson. "These kids in our community can become the next generation of space explorers. We want them to realize that dream."