Museum of Science to Reopen Charles Hayden Planetarium

The Museum of Science, Boston announced that it will reopen the Charles Hayden Planetarium on Sunday, February 13, 2011.

The Museum celebrates the 52-year history of New England’s first major planetarium by unveiling an entirely new kind of cultural venue — the most technologically advanced digital theater in New England. Powered by superior full-dome video and audio systems and a new state-of-the-art Zeiss Starmaster projector, the renovated Planetarium will introduce a new generation of educational programming and arts and entertainment experiences.

The yearlong $9 million renovation was funded through the Charles Hayden Foundation and private donations, with significant support from Suffolk Construction’s Red & Blue Foundation, the Honorable Nonnie S. Burnes and Richard M. Burnes Jr., the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, and the Highland Street Foundation.

Spearheaded by the Museum’s late founding director Brad Washburn, the Charles Hayden Planetarium opened in 1958. Since then, more than 11 million visitors have immersed themselves in the beauty and mystery of the cosmos under the starry dome. The theater has been home to daily multimedia explanations of astronomical phenomena, stunning displays of planets, stars, and constellations, and simulated journeys to galaxies far beyond our own. Now unmatched for its versatility, the Planetarium will use the latest in high definition, immersive video, and digital acoustic technology to transport viewers not only to distant times and places in the universe but also inside the blood stream or swimming next to dolphins in the ocean. Furthermore, the new seating design converts the Planetarium into a theater for live performances and other evening entertainment.
“Now, the Charles Hayden Planetarium is much more than a planetarium,” said Paul Fontaine, Museum vice president of education. “It is a time machine that lets us jump thousands of years into the future or the past, a spaceship flying through the universe at unbelievable speeds, and the coolest venue in town for music and the performing arts. It’s also a revolutionary teaching tool that will enable Museum educators to show the sky from any point on Earth and give presenters the flexibility to customize shows and take audiences anywhere they want to go in the known universe.”

About the Museum of Science, Boston
The Museum takes a hands-on approach to science, engineering and technology, attracting about 1.5 million visitors a year via its programs and 700 interactive exhibits. Founded in 1830, the Museum was first to embrace all the sciences under one roof. Highlights include the Thomson Theater of Electricity, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Mugar Omni Theater, Gordon Current Science & Technology Center, 3-D Digital Cinema and Butterfly Garden. Reaching 25,000 teens a year worldwide via the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, the Museum also leads a 10-year, $41 million National Science Foundation-funded Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network of science museums. The Museum’s “Science Is an Activity” exhibit plan has been awarded many NSF grants and influenced science centers worldwide. Its National Center for Technological Literacy® aims to enhance knowledge of engineering and technology for people of all ages and inspire the next generation of engineers, inventors, and scientists. The Museum is ranked #3 by Parents Magazine in its list of the country’s “Ten Best Science Centers, Visit

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