Oakland's Chabot Space & Science Center hosts free telescope viewings, interactive demonstrations online amid pandemic

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- ABC7 is committed to Building a Better Bay Area, and that includes celebrating and preserving our arts and culture. All week we are looking at the State of the Arts in the Bay Area, to see how these cherished cultural institutions are holding up, and how you can help them out.

The novel coronavirus may have closed the doors to Oakland's Chabot Space & Science Center, but the nonprofit is making the most of it and is opening its doors virtually.

Visitor Experience Director Liz Austerman joined ABC7 News Anchor Kristen Sze on "Getting Answers" to discuss how the center has been offering more than 75 free online programs in partnership with the NASA's Ames Research Center and the Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

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From weekly telescope viewings to live science demonstrations and even an upcoming balloon drop to ring in the new year, the center has been creative in showcasing their beloved events online.

In addition to online events for the community, Austerman said they're also distributing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) kits to Oakland students.

"We are coming up on a huge array of STEM programming, we are offering free and low-cost virtual field trips to to Oakland schools. And we've been distributing over 400 stem kits out in the community to libraries and the Boys and Girls Clubs. So we've been making our reach out in the community as accessible and free as much as possible," she said.

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This holiday season, when you buy a membership to the Chabot Space and Science Center, the organization will give a membership to a local teacher.

You can learn more about the center and the many virtual events by visiting Chabot Space & Science Center's website here.

Watch the full interview with Liz Austerman in the media player above.

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