400 College Avenue - Lancaster, PA 17603-3393 Phone: (717) 291-3941
HOURS: Tuesday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. & Sunday from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Program Guide

Outreach Program Guide

The North Museum offers outreach programs on a variety of natural history and science topics. Programs at your location are available on a limited basis. Group presentations are designed for 20 - 100 participants depending on age and topic. Multiple presentations are also available. 

Please contact Senior Educator Jill Showalter at 717-291-4371 for more information about any of the programs and pricing. 

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Starlab (portable planetarium)- Recommended for Grades 1 and older

Have a planetarium come to you! Crawl inside a large inflatable 16-foot dome to experience a sky full of stars! Perfect for science fairs, fund-raisers, reward days, multiple classes, library, and scout programs.

Length: Approx. 30 minute program plus 1 hour setup and 1 hour tear down required

Space Requirements:
  • Electrical outlets
  • Ceiling height of 10'.5” with no obstructions 
  • Floor space of 21' x 18' with no obstructions (gym or auditorium is preferred) plus space to walk around

 (click on image for larger version)


Cooking Up Comets - Recommended for Grades 3 and older

Explore the world of comets with Cosmic Mike as he takes you on an educational journey to these icy worlds.  You’ll discover what they are, where they come from, and see examples of past comets. Together we’ll cook up a recipe using household ingredients and create a comet right before your eyes!     

** Please note 2013 has three potential comets that may be visible

Length: Approx. 45 minute program plus 1 hour setup and 1 hour tear down required

Space Requirements:
  • Electrical outlet for laptop
  • Projection Screen
  • Floor space - enough to set up 2-4, 6-ft tables
  • Trash Can to dispose of dirt, water, and Dry Ice
** This program does involve liquids and dirt and therefore has the potential for spills 

Planet Hunter (theatrical performance) - Recommended for Grades 3 - 6

Join the Planet Hunter ( North Museum Senior Astronomy Educator "Cosmic Mike" Smith) as he searches for planets beyond our solar system.  This live theatrical performance incorporates audience participation as your group will identify the planets in our solar system and help demonstrate the distance between the sun and the earth.  You'll also learn about the challenges in looking for other planets as well as the current Kepler mission, which is searching for the first earth-like planet beyond our solar system, and how astronomers go about looking for those extrasolar planets.  This theatrical performance was made possible through a National Science Foundation grant called STEPS. 

Length: Approx. 25-30 minute performance plus 1 hour setup and 1 hour tear down required, there is an optional demonstration of planet detection technique and Q&A that would add approx. 10-15 minutes

Space Requirements
  • Electrical outlets
  • Ceiling height of 8'.5” (minimum)
  • Floor space of 17-ft x 15-ft (minimum) (for equipment only - doesn't include space for audience)
  • Projection space of at least 15-ft


Quantum Levitator - Recommended for Grades 5 & up

The Quantum Levitator is a truly unique demonstration program only available in the US through the North Museum. With the help of Liquid Nitrogen, we'll unlock the secrets of this device and explore the dramatic properties of Quantum Trapping and superconductors demonstrating concepts related to force, motion, magnetic fields, materials science and even quantum mechanics! This device and the related program have proven themselves as a Youtube video phenomenon as well as a hit with live audiences in at the Museum. Utilizes liquid nitrogen, strong permanent magnets and ceramic disks developed with the latest in superconductor technology.

This program also includes Liquid Nitrogen demonstrations leading into the main attraction, the Quantum Levitator, providing the audience the opportunity to guess and test hypotheses in dramatic situations, ask questions, and has the "Wow" factor sure to capture your audience!   Check out our YouTube video highlighting the Quantum Levitator.

Length: Approx. 40 minutes

Elementary School Programs

Artifacts and specimens are used to introduce students to the study of natural history.  These programs are designed to increase observation skills and enhance an appreciation for nature.

Length:  Approximately 45 - 60 minutes
Cost:  Please contact Jill Showalter at 717-291-4371 for pricing. 

Hisssss…: Recommended for Grades 1 - 8

Encounter live reptiles to learn what makes them different from other animals. 

Legs and More Legs: Recommended for Grades 1 - 6

Discover things you never knew about insects, millipedes, and spiders as you learn about classification of many species.

Beyond Bugs: Recommended for Grades 1 - 6

You will be introduced to a variety of tiny creatures, their adaptations, life cycles, and the role they play in the environment.

Native Americans: Recommended for Grades 1 - 8

Handle artifacts and replicas to learn more about local native peoples, their life and culture.


Preschool Programs

Stories and puppets focus a young child’s attention and contribute to outreach programs that create curiosity, enthusiasm for learning, and excitement about the natural world.

Each program includes touchable specimens presented with age-appropriate activities. The lessons reflect the Pennsylvania Standards for Pre-Kindergarten and encourage thinking skills with a focus on Biological Sciences (3.1).

Length: Up to 45 minutes 

Cost:  Please contact Jill Showalter at 717-291-4371 for pricing. 

Turtles and Tortoises

Learn the difference between turtles and tortoises as you are introduced to a variety of species and their adaptations. 

Touchable Specimens:  live animals, turtle shells, scutes, plastic models
Story: Box Turtle at Silver Pond Lane


Investigate insect anatomy and life cycles using live specimens.

Touchable Specimens:   insect plastomounts, mounted insects, wasp hive, insect egg casing
Story: Ladybug at Orchard Avenue or Clara Caterpillar


Do you know how many bear species there are?  Count them as you learn what makes them different.Touchable Specimens:  polar bear pelt, black bear pelt, bear claws, black bear skull
Story: Honeypaw and Lightfoot

While You’re Asleep

Identify three different animals that are awake while you are asleep. Learn how nocturnal animals adapt to being awake at night.

Touchable Specimens:  owl wings, skulls and talons, bat skeleton, opossum skull and pelt
Story: Stellaluna or Opossum at Sycamore Road

Ocean Animals

You will be introduced to the large variety of ocean animals and their adaptations and differentiate between whales (mammals) and sharks (fish).

Touchable Specimens:  whale baleen and narwhale tusk, coral, shells
Story: Great White Shark