Family Science Night

Last update to this page: August 19, 2020

The Family Science Night program takes place at one of the most visited museums on the planet. Millions of visitors a year come to the National Air and Space Museum to see the machines that gave life to human dreams of flight in air and space.

A school field trip designed for family learning, Family Science Night is held after hours so that hundreds of students, parents, and teachers from Washington, DC, metro area schools may have the museum to themselves. Attendees explore galleries, experience the universe through IMAX® films, and hear a presentation by a dynamic space scientist. The presentation is the program’s centerpiece, providing a very personal view of exploration on the frontier and the spellbinding, wondrously human stories behind the machines that changed the world.

The program fosters wonderful opportunities for parents and their children to talk about science, our world, and the cosmos—it helps launch family learning. Schools can choose from 9 presentations and 7 IMAX® films, allowing educators to integrate the program into the curriculum.

With the curricular connection, Family Science Night provides parents a window on the education of their children; schools a way to build bridges to the community; the Museum a chance to augment the classroom experience with their unique collections, exhibits, films, and educational programs; and researchers an opportunity to share what it’s like to work on the great frontiers.

“Thank you so much for the great evening last night. I wanted to share this with you. I brought in my car a girl and her mom who live off of North Capitol Street. The mom was going to bring her daughter, take our buses to and from the museum then take two city buses to get home at 9:30 at night. On the way home the mom said it was the best evening she had ever spent. Her daughter was equally excited and talked about being a scientist. I so wish DCPS [District of Columbia Public Schools] would take more advantage. These are the types of families you are hoping to reach and inspire. Many of the families from Truesdell have never done anything like that so again, many thanks.”
Katherine Latterner, Principal of Fillmore Arts Center, District of Columbia Public Schools

More Testimonials







A Family Science Night at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum for Baltimore City, with Wright Flyer & Apollo 11. Click for Zoom and Details

A Family Science Night at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum for Baltimore City, with Wright Flyer & Apollo 11. Click for Zoom and Details


Program Highlights:
Since it began in 1993, 168 programs have been held at the Museum, reaching 57,000 parents, students, and educators from 196 schools representing 13 area school districts.

From 2008-11, evenings were also held at the Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport.

The pedagogy and style of the scientists’ presentations has become the hallmark of the Center’s family and public programs delivered through the Journey through the Universe national initiative, and the Family Science Night pedagogy is now embraced by all of the Center’s programs.

Other Family Science Night pages and links of interest:
Download the 3rd Party Assessment Report conducted by NASA (400 KB)

How to Participate:
If your school is in the DC metro area, contact us to find out how your school can participate in the program.


Family Science Night is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The program is made possible by a grant from the Maryland Space Grant Consortium.