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McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center and Mount Washington Observatory Announce New Partnership

(Concord, NH) The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center and Mount Washington Observatory are combining forces to increase access to meteorological and atmospheric sciences for New Hampshire families and visitors to our state. With the closing of the Observatory’s Weather Discovery Center in North Conway, NH, the exhibits enjoyed by thousands of learners young and old will move in January 2021 to their new home at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord, NH.

While a few exhibits will move to the Observatory’s museum on top of the mountain, 80% of the exhibits will be relocated to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center – including the “Shaky Shack”, the replica of the 1930s-era Observatory staff’s mountain-top cabin in which the highest human-observed surface wind speed on Earth was recorded in 1934. In order to incorporate these exhibits into the Center, and to complete a major upgrade of its planetarium system, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center will close from January 1-February 12, 2021.

The new partnership will include constantly updating views in the Discovery Center of the weather atop Mount Washington, as well as joint programming building on the two organization’s December 2020 virtual talks, in which the Mount Washington Observatory’s Director of Science and Education, Brian Fitzgerald, gave a talk for the Discovery Center on the science of Nor’easters, followed by a talk for the Observatory by the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center’s Director of Education Mirka Zapletal on space weather.

“The Mount Washington Observatory is an eminent science organization with which we are proud to be associated,” stated Jeanne Gerulskis, the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center’s Executive Director. “We are glad that these very cool weather exhibits will have a new home, where hundreds of thousands of children and lifelong learners will be able to dive into the science of weather and understand more about the role the Mount Washington Observatory plays in our understanding of climate, weather and arctic systems. As both organizations are NH Space Grant Affiliate Institutions, we have worked together in the past, but this expanded partnership will take us to a whole new level.”

Donna Dunn, Interim Director of the Mount Washington Observatory, noted, “we are delighted to work with McAuliffe-Shepard to expand the reach of the Observatory, and to provide access to interactive weather exhibits to new audiences.”

The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center features 21st century interactive exhibits on aviation, astronomy, Earth and space sciences, an all-digital, full-dome planetarium and a wide variety of science, technology, and engineering and mathematics programs. The engaging, robust educational programs are geared towards families, teens, seniors, students, community groups and lifelong learners. For more information, visit

About Mount Washington Observatory:

Mount Washington Observatory is a private, nonprofit, member-supported institution with a mission to advance understanding of the natural systems that create the Earth's weather and climate. Since 1932, the Observatory has been monitoring the elements from its weather station on the summit of Mount Washington, using this unique site for scientific research and educational outreach. For more information, call (800) 706-0432 or visit


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