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

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Happy Easter! Enjoy Today's Imaginarium. And, Back After a Few Years, the

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The Imaginarium?  
Yes, Today you get the Imaginarium after a few years absence

Sunday, April 10, 2022

The Starship Valiant at John Hancock Charter School in Pleasant Grove. Brian Regan, Mr. Cool, and the Starship Voyager. Imaginarium Theater.


The Valiant current sits at the John Hancock Charter School in Pleasant Grove

     The Starship Valiant was funded by Dave Moon. Dave, Shelley Ellington, and I designed the ship.  Below is the newspaper announcement covering the grand opening of the Valiant dated June 11. 2011. 

LEHI -- An idea that started with a simple space shuttle structure inside a Pleasant Grove school room 20 years ago has lifted off into a new out-of-this-world adventure at Thanksgiving Point.

A collaboration between the Christa McAuliffe Space Center and the iWorlds Foundation, iWorlds is an interactive space experience that puts you at the controls. As participants journey into outer space they will create their own adventure because each person controls the decisions on the flight.
Not just entertainment, iWorlds also stimulates the mind, according to Rachel Moon, iWorlds director.
"It is a great activity for kids because it is entertaining them but at the same time it is challenging their minds," Moon said. "A lot of parents comment that their kids are wanting to use science now."
The center is also designed to help develop decision-making skills, enhance teamwork and teach responsibility. A variety of roles creates a cohesive, interdependent crew, with each individual being assigned a specific role.
In fact, many of the employees of iWorlds grew up participating and working at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center at Central Elementary School. Emily Paxman began working there 10 years ago when she was 12 years old and has had the opportunity to design some of the graphics for iWorlds.
"You get this sense of fulfillment," she said about her job. "But every day is different and every day allows for you to be creative as different characters and depending on what's going on in the mission."
Paxman said she credits space center founder Victor Williamson for a lot of her enthusiasm for her job. "He is amazing, an absolutely phenomenal man," she said. "He is just your perfect combination of wisdom, common sense and creativity. He is just an absolutely fantastic, brilliant man."
Co-worker Todd Rasband said another attribute Williamson has is patience.
Williamson, a Central Elementary School teacher, said he found and has always had the philosophy that teaching with interaction is the best way for students to learn.
So armed with a federal grant, Williamson began to develop the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in the early 1990s. Chances are that if you grew up in northern Utah County, you had an opportunity to visit the space center during a field trip in fifth or sixth grade.
It didn't take long for Williamson to realize because of the overwhelming response of the community for this type of learning that the interactive space shuttle could be expanded to serve a broader range of audience.
With the same learning philosophy, iWorlds was created in partnership with iWorlds Foundation and the Christa McAuliffe Space Center. Sandwiched between the dinosaur museum and movie theater at Thanksgiving Point, iWorlds has the capability of adapting an adventure to children as young as 8 to seniors.
Everyone has a different experience and each journey is one that has never been done before.
A two-hour mission costs $15. An accelerated one-hour mission is $12. For a complete list of departure times you can or call (801) 768-2300.
"You need to try it because it is nothing you have ever tried before," Moon said. "It is more interactive than just watching a show." 
     The Valiant has seen many berths over its decade of service to the fleet.  The iWorlds business venture failed at Thanksgiving Point so the Valiant was moved to Park City High School.  Casey Voeks ran a school based program using the Valiant for the students of Park City High School.  Park City regulations forbid permanently parked trailers so the Valiant had to move at the end of the school year.  
     Dave Moon stored the Valiant on his office building's parking lot where it sat for five years.  I looked into purchasing the Valiant for the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in 2012 but was dissuaded because there was no place to park the semi-trailer at Central School.    
     Fast Forward to 2017.  Dave Moon had recently returned from serving as the LDS Mission President in Cambodia and wanted to see the ship in use. Arrangements were made to transfer ownership to the Telos Discovery Space Center.  The Valiant warped once again to Vineyard and found a home in the Telos Academy parking lot. 

The Valiant at Telos

The Valiant at Telos Discovery Space Center on moving day to Canyon Grove Academy

     In May 2018 the Valiant was moved to Canyon Grove Academy in Pleasant Grove and joined that school's space center program.  

The Valiant at Canyon Grove Academy

The Valiant on Opening Day at Canyon Grove Academy

     And now we fast forward once again.  Last June, Canyon Grove Academy sold the Valiant to John Hancock Charter School in Pleasant Grove and that is where the ship sits today. I don't know whether or not the ship is being used as a simulator. I hope it is.  I'll do some investigating and see what I discover.   

Brian Regan, Mr. Cool, and the Starship Voyager. A Commercial Set in Space

Brian Regan with Bracken Funk in the Voyager's Control Room       

     American comedian Brian Regan will star in a Mr. Cool air conditioner commercial to be aired soon.  The commercial was shot last week at both the Christa McAuliffe Space Center in Pleasant Grove and The Space Place at Renaissance Academy in Lehi.  The CMSC was used for the starship scenes and The Space Place's Voyager simulator was used as mission control.  I don't have any photos of the CMSC shoot but I do for the Voyager. Bracken Funk was on hand on the Voyager to offer assistance. 

Brian signed the Control Room's wall.  It will be there until the end of time, or the Voyager is demolished - whatever comes first :)

The actors in their white coats meeting the Voyager for the first time.

The lighting and props crew setting up for the shoot.  You can see the Mr. Cool Space Patch on the wall.

Thank you Mr. Cool for giving me something to write about this week :)

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