Staff Spotlight - Rachel Carlson

February 4, 2020

The Space Centre wouldn’t be what it is today without our amazing staff. We’d like to take a moment to shine the spotlight on a member of our little space family.

How long have you been working here?
I originally started in June of 2018. It was kind of like a temporary full time position. I was here from June to November and then I got to come back in the beginning of July 2019.

What is your position at the Space Centre? 
I’m the archivist at the Space Centre. I take care our 50 plus years worth of stuff that we have. Everything that we’ve made existing as an organization, and also from productions that we’ve made and kind of taking that stuff and making sure it’ll be preserved, able to be accessed, and make it more accessible now in the meantime. That could mean rehousing it, or just kind of getting an idea of what’s in the collection, making people aware of the collection, and hopefully digitizing it.

What’s your favourite thing about space?
My favourite thing about space is more of a human thing about space. I have a background in history and I really like how humanity has been really interested in space going back centuries. It’s something that’s been really important to Ancient peoples going all the way to current times. I just find that to be a really interesting thing. It’s been something that’s fascinated so many people, so many generations of people, for so long. It’s just endless discoveries. 

What’s your favourite memory working at the Space Centre?
Just seeing how the Space Centre has grown over time and how the technology we used has really shifted over time. From taking 35mm photographs and putting them in slides and having like 15 of them and projecting them into a panoramic image. Being able to do that all digitally now, and seeing the innovation that’s happened, it’s really interesting being able to show that to people. I remember at our 50th anniversary exhibit, there was a lot of that. We had a display from the archives up in the planetarium area. And a lot of people came in and were like, ‘Oh yeah I remember seeing that.” Even if it wasn’t space related, people would be like, ‘Oh my grandma used to have a slide projector,’ or saying stuff like, ‘Oh I didn’t know that’s how you made that visual effect back then.’ It’s just very interesting. 

There was this one really funny thing. The summer student last year was helping me down here in archives, going through a lot of textual stuff and he found a letter that his grandpa sent to David Rogers [former Director of the Space Centre] back in the day. So that was interesting. We’ve been a part of people’s lives for a long time now. 

What do you recommend people check out at the Space Centre?
One of my favourite things is the live planetarium star shows. I love the interplay with the Interpreters who really really know what they’re talking about and you can talk to them about it. They’re obviously very passionate about it so it’s a great experience. I also really like the observatory as well. And the special events that we do. They’re very interesting. I went to our Summer Solstice event and it was very fun.