Virtual Summer Solstice Celebration 2021


Sunday, June 20, 2021, 11:00am to 2:15pm


Two diverse women wearing colorful flower crowns.

Join the Harvard Museums of Science & Culture on Sunday, June 20 for our virtual and bilingual (English-Spanish) Summer Solstice Celebration!

Leer en Español

At 11:00 am (ET), families and kids ages 4 to 14 are invited to hear a sun-inspired bilingual story set in ancient Mexico, meet a Harvard University astrophysicist who studies the sun, and enjoy an uplifting clown performance live from Bogotá, Colombia.

Register for Summer Solstice Celebration: Kids & Families

In the afternoon, starting at 1:00 pm (ET), everyone is welcome to join us as we learn about the significance of the summer solstice from cultural astronomer Anthony Aveni, explore the art of making botanical sun prints with photographer and master gardener Mary Kocol, and learn how to forage for local edible plants in Massachusetts with naturalist Russ Cohen.

Register for Summer Solstice Celebration

At your own pace, explore short videos about objects from our museum collections paired with do-it-yourself activities, download solstice-themed coloring pages, and listen to the new HMSC Connects! podcast featuring Harvard Forest ecologist John O’Keefe.

The Harvard Museums of Science & Culture have celebrated the summer solstice since 2013. We hope you will join us, virtually, from wherever in the world you might be!

Program Schedule

Summer Solstice Celebration: Kids & Families  

11:00–12:15 pm (ET)
Brenda Dione Tindal, Executive Director, Harvard Museums of Science & Culture
11:05 am    STORY TIME (Ages 4–8)
Readings in both English and Spanish
Join us in reading The Lizard and the Sun/La Lagartija y el Sol, a bilingual folktale by Alma Flor Ada, set in ancient Mexico, about the disappearance of the sun and one brave little lizard’s journey to find it.
Carol Carlson, Volunteer Program Coordinator, Harvard Museums of Science & Culture
Javier Marin, Bilingual Educator, Harvard Museum of Natural History
11:25 am    STUDYING SOLAR STORMS (Ages 7–14)
In Spanish, with live interpretation in English
During summer solstice, we focus on the ways that the sun affects our lives. But what is happening out in space this time of the year? Harvard astrophysicist Tatiana Niembro Hernández will tell you how she goes about studying the sun and how her work helps us understand the weather in space. All future space meteorologists are encouraged to join!
Tatiana Niembro Hernández, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian
A live Q&A session with the speaker will follow the presentation.
11:50 am    TIME TO PLAY AND SMILE (Ages 4–14)
In Spanish, with live interpretation in English
Join us as we travel to Bogotá, Colombia to meet Lucho Guzmán Cardozo and Caliche Niño, two clowns from the Pasos de Payaso collective, who will invite us to play as we begin a new season.


12:00–1:00 pm (ET)
We’ll see you back soon!

Summer Solstice Celebration

1:00–2:15 pm (ET)

Brenda Dione Tindal, Executive Director, Harvard Museums of Science & Culture
You can’t think about the summer solstice without first journeying around time’s seasonal cycle. From ancient Rome’s winter solstice (or the “Day of the Unconquerable Sun”) and the Aztec spring equinox to the longest day of the year, find out why solstices were so important to ancient civilizations and how they were celebrated.
Anthony Aveni, Russell Colgate Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, Anthropology, and Native American Studies, Emeritus, Colgate University 
Presented in collaboration with the Moses Mesoamerican Archive, Harvard University
The natural pigment in certain vegetables and flowers can be turned into light-sensitive emulsion and exposed to the sun to create “anthotypes,” a camera-less photographic image. Join us as we learn how to make this unique type of plant-based photography.

Mary Kocol, Fine Arts Photographer, Harvard Art Museums

Eastern Massachusetts is home to many species of edible wild plants—some more nutritious or flavorful than their cultivated counterparts. Join us as we visit an organic farm to learn about wild plants that are harvestable around the summer solstice. Guidelines for safe and environmentally responsible foraging will be provided.
Russ Cohen, Naturalist, Wild Edibles Enthusiast, and Author 
A live Q&A session with the speaker will follow the presentation.
See also: Special Events