"People frequently think of history and science as not necessarily paralleling each other but they so definitely do," said Smith, director of education at Tellus. "I want to put a name and a face to something, to an individual. ... I want [children] to realize, especially being a woman, that they still have options. Not a lot of girls you speak to [answer], 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' [with], 'Well, I want to be a paleontologist.' And I want to change that. I want them to think about careers in science and also the fact that they really need to make tie-ins.
"I'm sure you've heard the tongue twister, 'She sells seashells by the sea shore.' That was actually written about Mary Anning. So [there are] really cool things that just tie in and you realize you really do have things to connect with people from our past."
Donning period attire of the early 1800s, Smith will be one of about 30 Tellus staff members and Pumphouse Players actors taking part in the second annual event on Aug. 7.
Presented by Star 94 FM, "Night at the Museum" will bring some of the most famous names in science to life. From 5:30 to 11 p.m., the actors will "be in character," engaging museum patrons in conversation. Along with the return of Albert Einstein and the Wright brothers, the event also will feature science experiments and a special planetarium show on roller coasters.
"[We had] a great response," said Tellus Executive Director Jose Santamaria, about last year's attendance. "We had close to 1,000 people. There were hundreds waiting at the door. We had to close the museum at 5 p.m. to reopen at 6. By 5:30 there must have been a couple of hundred people at the door.
"So there was a lot of interest by the public and I think everyone enjoyed it. There was so much to do throughout the museum and the museum was full all evening long."
During the event, patrons also will be able to tour the museum.
Opened in January 2009, Tellus was officially named a Smithsonian affiliate in September and has attracted more than 300,000 visitors. Encompassing 120,000 square feet at 100 Tellus Drive in Cartersville, the museum is comprised of four main galleries -- The Weinman Mineral Gallery, The Fossil Gallery, Science in Motion and The Collins Family My Big Backyard -- a 120-seat digital planetarium and an observatory equipped with a 20-inch telescope.
Tickets for the "Night at the Museum" cost $10 apiece for Tellus members and $20 for non-members. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 770-606-5700, ext. 431, or visit www.tellusmuseum.org.