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Paper: COVID-19: Stay Connected to the Public - Old Observatory Leiden
Volume: 531, ASP2020: Embracing the Future: Astronomy Teaching and Public Engagement
Page: 336
Authors: van Gammeren, S.
Abstract: The Old Observatory in the city center of Leiden is a meeting place for the public to learn about the rich history of astronomy and to discover the universe and our place in it through hands-on events and educational programmes. The Old Observatory Leiden normally welcomes 20.000 visitors to its exhibitions and events and 200 school children through its educational programmes per year. Due to COVID-19, it became clear that we weren't able to host physical events and educational programmes as we were used to. Because of this, we saw a high risk of losing the connection to our audience. The number of staff within the old observatory is limited, so it was important to make the most efficient choices for our investment, with the largest impact towards our audience as a result. In this presentation, I would like to share our best-practices from the last 6 months in the field of education and events. We changed our educational programmes in such a way that we were able to bring them to the schools, to get more involvement from the schools. For events we set up a structure to broadcast our events online and offer the public images from our historical telescopes. We were able to reach around 1000 people per event and all the events are free of charge. Before our investment, we saw people become isolated and lonely, and we aimed to not only restore the connection between our organisation and our visitors, but also help people find the connection to society, through astronomy, again.
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