Sally Ride Day — Natural History Museum

(6.17) Join the Rhode Island Historical Society and the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium for a day of activities as we celebrate Sally Ride’s legacy as an astronaut, physicist, educator, and advocate for young people. Dr. Sally K. Ride became a national icon of achievement in science and space on June 18, 1983, when she became the first American woman to fly in space. From 2001 until her death in 2012, she was president and CEO of Sally Ride Science, a company she founded to promote science education.

Sally’s Night is a nationwide celebration of women in STEM led by the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, in collaboration with 21 Smithsonian Affiliate organizations. In recognition of the 40th anniversary of Sally Ride becoming the first American woman in space, over 20 organizations across the United States will hold events focusing on women and underrepresented genders in science, technology, engineering, and math. This project received Federal support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative Pool, administered by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum.

Visitors may also register in advance for the Astronaut Fulldome Planetarium Show at 1pm & 2pm and take a trip through space and time. This planetarium show explores what it takes to become an astronaut and takes you from Earth into space and beyond. The program is followed by a brief tour of the night sky, using the planetarium’s Zeiss star projector. (Planetarium show tickets MUST be purchased online. Go here for tickets.)

Ride Pride: There is a pleasing synchronicity in the timing of this 40th anniversary celebration, coinciding as it does with the June Pride celebrations. Most people didn’t know Ride was gay until reading her obituary which she had written with her partner of 27 years, Tam O’Shaughnessy. Her sister explains this decision and all the context in “Why Sally Ride waited until her death to tell the world she was gay.”

(Seen here is Sally Ride’s flight helmet which she wore when training on the Northrop T-38 jets. Sally picked the color and the script on the back. I love that with everything an astronaut has to think about, she still wanted to get the typeface right. Ms. O’Shaughnessy donated the helmet to the Air and Space Museum.)

11am to 4pm, Saturday, June 17, Museum of Natural History & Planetarium, RWP Zoo, 1000 Elmwood Avenue, (directions)


In 2019, Mattel celebrated Women’s Equality Day with the addition of two role models to the Barbie Inspiring Women Series: Rosa Parks and Sally Ride. (USA Today)

Dr. Sally K. Ride.

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