Curator of Astronomy
Dr. Sumners has expertise in astronomy, chemistry and physics. She can speak knowledgeably on any topic related to planets, stars, solar systems and the universe.
Dr. Sumners worked on the development of the first Challenger Learning Center, which opened at the Museum in 1988, and trained NASA astronauts on star fields in the Museum’s Burke Baker Planetarium.
In addition to serving as director of the Planetarium, which produces new animated full-dome films each year, she is director of the George Observatory, a satellite facility of the Houston Museum of Natural Science that houses the Gueymard Telescope, one of the largest in the country available for public viewing.
“Kids can discover what’s out there in space with their own eyes at the George Observatory, experience virtual manned space flight in the Challenger Learning Center, and imagine how science will advance future space exploration in the Burke Baker Planetarium,” said Sumners. “At the Museum, we want to inspire children to pursue science, to help create the future they will be living in.”
Dr. Sumners is an adjunct professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University. She has written trade books, a textbook series and over 50 planetarium shows. Her research interests include archaeoastronomy, which attempts to replicate the night sky at critical moments in history.