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County Museum Announces 2020 Dome Talks Speaker Series

San Bernardino County Museum

Popular Evening Series Grows to Seven Speakers

Redlands, Ca– The San Bernardino County Museum announces the speakers confirmed for the 2020 Dome Talks series. The lineup features provocative, timely, quirky, and science-critical issues relevant to the Inland Empire region. These evening discussions are scheduled monthly from January through July with seven speakers, an increase in dates from the 2019 series. Full Series Passes include a ticket for each evening and are now on sale. Tickets for individual dates go on sale beginning Dec. 11.

“We are delighted with this fourth season lineup for Dome Talks, a series meant to bring notable speakers to the San Bernardino County Museum,” said Museum Director Melissa Russo. “These seven remarkable individuals promise discussions that will be entertaining and deeply thought-provoking.”

Dome Talks commences on the evening of Jan. 16, with Mark Hall Patton, museums administrator for the Clark County Museum system for 23 years, overseeing the Clark County Museum, Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum, and Searchlight History Museum. Patton is publicly recognized as a regular featured expert on History Channel’s hit series Pawn Stars, contributing his considerable knowledge to this popular show.

On Feb. 19, Sarah Milov, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Virginia, discusses her book The Cigarette: a Political History, following the story of the tobacco plant that has occupied the heart of the nation’s economy and expressed its enduring myths from Jamestown to the Marlboro Man. Milov teaches courses on 20th century political and social history, and her research explores how organized interest groups and everyday Americans influence government policy.

On Mar. 24, Terry Tempest Williams, naturalist and author of more than a dozen books, discusses her new book Erosion: Essays of Undoing. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and currently Writer-in-Residence at the Harvard Divinity School, Tempest Williams has been called “a citizen writer,” a writer who speaks and speaks out eloquently on behalf of an ethical stance toward life. A fierce advocate for freedom of speech, Williams has consistently shown how environmental issues are social issues that ultimately become matters of justice.

On Apr. 16, Evan Hilgemann, mechanical engineer at Jet Propulsion Laborary, NASA, speaks on the topic “How to Drive a Rover on Mars and Other Necessary Skills for the Itinerant Space Traveler.” Dividing his time between operating the Mars rover Curiosity and developing novel robotic methods to explore icy moons in the outer solar system, Hilgemann has contributed to various spacecraft deployable systems and co-led an explorative study to place a long duration rover on the surface of Venus.

On May 21, Marilyn Berlin Snell discusses her first book, Unlikely Ally: How the Military Fights Climate Change and Protects the Environment, in conversation with Lillian Vasquez, KVCR host of Lifestyles with Lillian Vasquez. Snell brings to light the military bases in Southern California that have taken a comprehensive approach in renewable energy innovation and preservation of cultural and natural treasures-one in which energy security and protection of threatened and endangered species are embedded in the practice of national defense.

On June 25, Ruth Kassinger discusses her book, Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us, a story about algae, which created the Earth as we know it, with its oxygen-rich atmosphere, abundant oceans, and coral reefs. Combining science and history, author Kassinger takes readers on an around-the-world, behind-the-scenes, and into-the-kitchen tour of her subject, delighting and amazing with stories of the good, the bad, and the up-and-coming.

July 16 is the final speaker in the series, Larry Burns, local author of Secret Inland Empire: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure. Drawing inspiration and ideas from the heady mixture of sights, sounds, peoples, and places of the Inland Empire, Burns answers compelling questions, “How did the first McDonald’s perfect the taste that took over the globe?”, “Where can you go to receive the first messages from Mars and probe photographs sent to NASA?”, “How did an hourly employee from the Inland Empire invent Flaming Hot Cheetos?” and other stories that reveal the wacky history of our beloved region.

All Dome Talks evenings open at 6:30 p.m. for a light reception sponsored by the San Bernardino County Museum Association, Amparo Serrano, and Lorenzi Estate Vineyards and Winery. Presentations start at 7 p.m. and include book sale and signing where applicable. Books are available for sale in the Museum store starting in October.

Full Series Passes are now on sale for $130 ($100 museum members) and include all seven evenings. Tickets for individual evenings will go on sale December 11 for $20 each evening ($16 museum members) and are subject to availability as the Dome Talks theater has limited seating. Tickets can be purchased online at or may be purchased at the Museum’s Guest Services Desk. Advance ticket purchase is strongly encouraged as walkups are not guaranteed. No refunds can be made for ticket purchases, but unused tickets may be donated to the nonprofit San Bernardino County Museum Association in advance of the date.

The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs, including Dome Talks reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.

The San Bernardino County Museum is at 2024 Orange Tree Lane, at the California Street exit from Interstate 10 in Redlands. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 (adult), $8 (military or senior), $7 (student), and $5 (child aged 5 to 12). Children under five and Museum Association members are admitted free. Parking is free. For more information, visit The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities.

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