Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

I'm Thankful for ..... Surviving Thanksgiving. Theater Imaginarium.

     Thanksgiving is over. It was nip and tuck there for awhile.
     This season I'm thankful for family and friends.  I'm thankful for all the years I spent with an outstanding dedicated staff and volunteers in a happy place we call 'The Space Center'.  I'm thankful for the 310,000 people who came through our doors on voyages of imagination. I'm grateful for the tremendous outpouring of support this program has received over the last twenty-six years and continues to receive from great people like you.  Your support has played, and will continue to play, an important role as the different space centers advance and expand.  I'm grateful for institutions like Renaissance Academy, the Alpine School District, Lakeview Academy and others who've invested so many resources into pioneering this new brand of simulator based experiential education. I'd like to especially thank the following outstanding school administrators:  Dr. Vicki Carter, Mark Ursic, Rick Veasey, and Julie Adamic.       
     There are many decisions to be made as this program morphs under the careful direction of visionary leaders like James Porter, Casey Voeks, Skyler Carr, Brandon Wright, Ryan Anderson, and my right hand student director Isaac. How much of the old will stay as we envision the new?  It is an exciting time.

The Eight Williamson Siblings. In response to anyone who looks at this picture and thinks I'm looking old. Just so you know, I'm the one who doesn't color his hair. My siblings use chemical, surgical, minor embalming, paper mache, snake oils, chin supports, industrial strength whalebone body wraps, and cosmetic scaffolding in an effort to fool the bystander into thinking they've cheated the effects of time. They even need FDA approval before they can fly (they could trigger allergic reactions among the passengers). Yesterday Janice got a $100 fine for failing to disclose her formaldehyde cream as she went through airport security. My siblings demand you keep your distance when you talk to them fearing you'll see through the mirage and glimpse what lies beneath - warts and all.  There, full disclosure.
     The Williamsons converged for our Thanksgiving meal at my sister's dance school in Orem.  Family has come from near and far for the event.  This was the first time all eight of us (my brothers and sisters) have been together in ten years. 
     You never know what you'll get at a Williamson holiday gathering.  In the best of times,  the event could pass peacefully with little to report other than Great Grandma Luella managing to keep a portion of her meal on her plate and off her blouse and the children survive with little or no blood loss.
     In the worst of times, there could be fireworks if family members aren't strategically positioned around the Thanksgiving table.  I'm hoping my sister remembers to seat our family's few remaining independents between the rabid Republics and the Peace, Land and Bread Democrats.  Great Grandma Luella has already been chastised by my sister Lisa for attempting to convert her teenage daughter to socialism.  Great Grandma has been brushing up for this holiday reunion by watching hundreds of hours of PBS and CSPAN.
     We sometimes have a problem with religion.  Not only must my sister separate family members with strong political views, she must also take into consideration the family's diverse religious beliefs as she sets out the name places around the table.  Those who favor reincarnation are generally tolerated by the liberals. They will be sat at the end of the table. Our Mormon majority are too numerous to separate so they must be sub categorized by conviction. Forgiving, back of the chapel Mormons, are good to mix with the minority agnostics. Front row, hymn singing Mormons are good to sit near the old people's section at the front of the table. It makes it easy for calling on someone to offer the Thanksgiving blessing on the food.
     One of my jobs at all holiday reunions is to monitor the gathering and inject myself into any conversation or situation that appears to be approaching the boiling point.  My 34 years in the classroom uniquely qualifies me for the task. I know the family very well, having been a part of it  for 58 years, and can generally detect the raising of voices quickly enough to bolt across the room, squeeze in between the combatants and turn a phrase fast enough to cool the waters and redirect the conversation's flow.  I've been brushing up on anecdotes and feel confident I can keep things civil and peaceful until everyone goes home to debate whether or not they'll ever go to another gathering again.
     I have the nuclear option if my efforts to keep the peace fail.  I walk over to 80 year old Great Grandpa Charlie, pull him away from the poor soul he's trapped in a conversation for 30 minutes, and tell him that so and so had a question on the how to prepare for the fast approaching apocalypse.
     "You've come to the right person," he'll say as he struts across the crowded room to find his new prey.
     Great Grandpa Charlie believes the world will end by the end of the year.  He has believed the world will end at the end of every year since 1968, which is why he purchased six acres of farmland in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
     "We won't starve if I keep the land," he answers proudly whenever asked why he doesn't sell the land and pocket the profit.  His survival plans unravel when we press him for details on how we are suppose to get to South Dakota if things suddenly head south and starving mobs ravaged neighborhoods.  
     Anyway.......  I'm hoping you and yours had a very enjoyable day.  Now it's time to return to reality.  

Mr. Williamson

Theater Imaginarium
The best gifs of the week, assiduously edited for gentler audiences, minors, and the terminally offended

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Space Center YouTube Film Festival. The Imaginarium.

     A hush fell over the standing room only crowd at the new downtown Troubadour Theater. The lights dimmed as two bright spots found their mark on Mr. Williamson.  Dressed in his rented tux, Mr. Williamson walked across the stage, stopping briefly to touch the red velvet curtains hiding the silver screen behind.  He nodded in approval. The downtown Troubadour was first class all the way.  No corner cut in the construction or its apparel. 

      Finding the X marked at center stage, Mr. Williamson stopped and adjusted the oversized 1930's radio microphone level to his mouth.  He cleared his throat while taking a moment to wipe his forehead with his clean white handkerchief.  

     "Welcome to The Troubadour!" he bellowed. The audience responded with thunderous applause. The overly enthusiastic rose to their feet.  The former Space Center director waited for the audience to fully show their appreciation. He continued as the clapping abated. "Tonight we have the best Space Center videos gleaned from the YouTube depository for your enjoyment.  They span several years and cover many topics from advertisements for missions to videos made specifically for mission tactical screens.  

     Sit back, relax, purchase some sweets, popcorn, or a cool soft drink from the lovely usherettes moving up and down the aisles. The Troubadour is here to serve you. Consider it your home away from home.  Now let's dim the house lights and drift away on the magic carpet embroidered with good times passed."  

Jul 14, 2012
Four Hours: A Space Trip


Lights bleed red, flickering with each torpedo impact. Music pounds, ushering adrenaline-fueled choices towards their hapless outcome. Will the starship Voyager and its youthful crew survive? Moments like these come often to the elementary school students hosted by Victor Williamson. As the man behind the scenes at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center, Victor has built five spaceship simulators to make learning memorable and push the frontier of education. Victor's work and vision as a public educator are a welcome presence in a country eager for changes in the way our kids are taught.

Edited by MARK T. LEWIS
Production Assistants JUDY SIMMONS and DREW DUNCAN
Faculty Advisor BEN UNGUREN


November 2000
A celebration video of the Space Center in its tenth year. It was recorded from a video cassette tape found in the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center.

Dec 13, 2009
Megan and the staff performing the famous Summer Disco Pizza Dance one last time. Megan enters the MTC on Wednesday.  She and Taylor asked if they could dance it one last time for our overnight camp on December 12.  This was done just before the campers were asked to cast their votes.  The campers really got into it at the.  Watch it to the end.   


Sep 3, 2007
This is a Distress Call from the USS Kepler for a mission called: Bug Hunt. It's a mission simulation at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in Pleasant Grove Utah.

December 2011
Brittney's Last Mission as Magellan Set and Flight Director

March 4, 2010
Alex Anderson. Fatal Error

April 2010
Leadership Camp

December 19, 2010
The old Magellan's last mission

February 2010
Leadership Camp

Aug 11, 2009
Space Education Simulator, Galileo Under Construction.

Aug 14, 2009
While showing off the new Galileo at the Utah County Fair a huge rain storm of biblical proportions hit us. Screams of children heard everywhere, we scrambled for the ship and shut the door! (Kyle and Stacy)

Aug 13, 2009
Kyle Herring at the County Fair in Spanish Fork, sleeping in our new Galileo simulator.

Sept. 2010
A tour of the Space Center given to UEN Network

Feb 5, 2012
Video segment taken from a particularly intense part of the Greenpeace Mission aboard the USS Voyager. For my birthday party, 11 of us drove down to the The Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in Pleasant Grove, UT. It was designed for youngsters but we loved it!

May 26, 2016
Darmok Trials are a unique camp offered only at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. 

April 2008

iWorlds Commercial Shot at the Space Center

Apr 1, 2014

The Tal' Shair has just found some new information on one of our new weapons. What does this mean for the federation? Come this summer for 'The Razor Plan' and find out.

May 20, 2012
Save the Space Center note: This video encompasses how one of our missions could possibly go. Helping kids discover how to work through the difficulties of a bad situation and still pull their crew out of it. This is NOT a mission of the CMSEC, it's more the staff having fun in the spirit of what we do as the Space Center. fun in the spirit of what we do as the Space Center. 

February 2012
Slide Show of Good Times at the Space Center

February 2012
Nicole and Josh's Solo Overnight Camp

Jul 12, 2014
Sometimes we all just need to kick back and cut loose! ;D

February 2013

The staff are working to get the ship's ready for our grand reopening.  
A tour of the closed USS Voyager starting at the 4:03 minute mark  :(

November 2015

Anna Edmundson recreated (and embellished a bit) the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in Minecraft. She wanted to make it seem like a futuristic spaceport with real ships. She also wanted to include the new Odyssey as well as the old so she just put it right on top, since the remodel took out the Voyager and the Odyssey.

March 2012
Short news feature on BYU TV

The Impact of an InfinD Lab on a School in the Davis District.

The Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center highlighted in BYU TV's Story Trek
June 2017

A Fifth Grade Visits the Space Center for a Field Trip. A Student Made Slide Show
Spring 2013

A Tribute Honoring Mrs. Lorraine Houston for 25 Years Service to the Space Center
May 24,2018

A Video Introducing the Space Center's New Logo
May 24,2018

Park City Television Highlights the Space Center
November 8, 2017

Chloe Johnson takes us down to the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center to see why this program has been a school favorite for nearly 30 years!

A Short History of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center
December 4, 2017

The Space Center's Video Launching a Fundraising Drive to Build a New Planetarium
March 27, 2018

Live the Adventure at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center
October 4, 2016

The Magellan Staff Introduce You to the Simulators at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center
August 27, 2013

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

10 Hours in Space: The New USS Voyager's Incredible Saturday and the People Behind It with Video. The Imaginarium.

The New USS Voyager's Control Room on D'Day
     Ten hours in space is exactly right. What happened last Saturday at Renaissance Academy could be classified as a simulator miracle.  The story is simple in the telling yet profound in implications and history. 

Chapter 1  The Warning
     Our incredible story begins in the mind of Isaac Ostler, the new Voyager's student director. Isaac approached me with a request, which at first hearing left me dumbfounded.  "You want to do what?" I asked, thinking I wasn't hearing the words coming out of his mouth correctly. 
     "I want to tell my new 5 hour mission two times on Saturday," he repeated with a questioning look as to the reason for my surprised look. 
     "Yes, two times."
     "No one thought of as sane tells a new 5 hour mission twice in one day," I explained. "Test flights notoriously go wrong. You barely get through one telling in a semi-coherent state."
     "I don't understand."
     "You tell a new mission once. Then you give yourself a few days to rewrite scenes that didn't work, add material, add tactical cards, write more messages, repair plot holes etc. Unless you're pretty sure about your mission, what you're doing is insane."  
     "Well, the groups are invited so it's too late to back out now."
     "OK, but you've been warned." 

Chapter 2  Overstaffed
     A couple days before Saturday's marathon, Isaac put up an online volunteer sign up sheet.  He forgot to limit the number of fields. Saturday rolled around and he discovered the first mission was over staffed.  He needed 8 volunteers; he had fifteen.  We've got awesome members of our Voyager Club all willing to volunteer on any Voyager mission, but the response was more than Isaac bargained for.  I tried to cut the numbers down, but Isaac is a softy and welcomed them all onboard.  

Chapter 3  The Warning Again
     "Isaac, this is a recipe for disaster.  You're telling a 5 hour mission which has never been told before, followed by another telling of the same mission without any time for repair or regrouping AND you're seriously overstaffed.  Young volunteers get into mischief if not kept busy."
     Isaac displayed his best fake smile, but I saw right through it. The young man was panicked.  The only thing anchoring him to reality was his steely confidence in his supervisors and his mission.  

Ben and Jakob. I put them to work sorting and folding the volunteer shirts.

Chapter 4  The Sacrifice
     Feeling for my young padawan, I decided to stay for the duration of the first mission. I kept to my upstairs classroom and worked whenever the Voyagers let me. I kept the room stocked with goodies - keeping the volunteers out of Isaac's hair when they weren't needed.  Occasionally I'd venture into the Voyager's control room to check on the mission.  My visits seemed supportive, in reality I was hunting for evidence that my warnings were correct and should have been heeded. To Isaac and the staff's credit, everything seemed to be going remarkably well.  Isaac was well trained at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. He knew what he was doing.               

Aaron showing great pride in the gluten free chips
Jensen, Trey, Spencer, and Dean getting ready for a bridge attack
Spencer B and Isaac hard at work in the Voyager's Control Room.  A great team. 

 Chapter 5  The Staff
     Our Voyager Club is made up of some of the best young people in Utah County.  Spencer B is an example of that. He's a student at the new Skyridge High School just down the road from Renaissance Academy. He's sharp as a tack, knows programming, can act, works a wicked IIFX station, and has definitely earned a degree in striking a pose.  Having teens like Spencer on our Voyager staff guarantees our missions will be top quality.    

 Chapter 6  The Spirit of the Old Voyager
     Hypercard Lives!  What you're seeing is the original USS Voyager's medical hypercard stack running on an old iMac computer.  Look closely at the bottom of the screen. See anything familiar?  That's the old Voyager's bridge layout. 
     This computer sits in the Voyager's control room. It is paired with another old computer in the Voyager's sickbay. The spirit of the old Voyager resides in the new.
     OK, I'll come clean. There were a significant number of glitches encountered as the staff tried to get the two computer to communicate, but what do you expect from ancient computers running a program written in a dead language?      

Chapter 7  A Successful Mission 
      From any perspective, the two five hour missions were a relative success.  Most of my dire predictions failed to come to pass.  Isaac, Andrew, Connor, Spencer along with the Voyager cadet staff pulled it off!  
     You're wondering how I feel having been proven wrong?  Actually, I'm OK.  We all win. We have a staff with 10 hours of experience that they didn't have before and a new five hour mission. The staff's overall opinion of the mission is a thumbs up.  

Chapter 8  Your Turn
     The new USS Voyager will be opening for school missions the first part of December.  Students in grades three through eight can begin signing up for their Long Duration Missions now by visiting the Farpoint Cadet website:  Priority is given to Renaissance Academy students.  Non-Renaissance Academy students may join with permission.  Contact me by email:  This year's LDM missions will be held after school and early Saturday mornings on the new Voyager .  
     Students in grades 7 to 12 may join the Voyager Club.  Learn more about the Voyager Club by visiting the club's website:  Again, priority is given to current and former Renaissance Academy students. Non-Renaissance Academy students may join after receiving permission.  Contact me by email. 
     The Voyager will be open to the public for private missions the first week of January. Information on private missions will be posted soon at

Mr. Williamson

Video of the Ten Hour Mission Experience

The Imaginarium