QUOTE(Ken Miller @ Dec 18 2009, 08:20 AM)
I've met with the operator of the Hopkins Planetarium and the director of the Children's Natural History Museum here in Fremont in the last week. We almost lost the Hopkins Planetarium this year because of budget cuts. I have a sinking feeling that it is only a matter of time before it does get the axe. The economy and public attitudes toward science education are working against keeping these facilities open.
The Hopkins Planetarium is operated by the city school district, and the Children's Natural History Museum houses the small planetarium that I set up. They are both suffering from state budget cuts that directly impact the facility itself, and and prevent school field trips that bring the kids to the sites. Those field trips justify the facilities and channel in money that keeps the operating budgets above water. The next 6 months are critical. Unless there is a surge in school field trips, the future looks grim. For my part I am underwriting the cost of about a dozen field trips for schools that can't come up with the money. The idea of getting kids exposed to this stuff is pure gold and worth every penny to me. Even if these facilities do close, we will have planted some seeds that can lead to good things in the future.
Sorry to hear about the problems facing your local planetariums.
California, as we know, is not alone - indeed the problems are deep rooted and wide-spread. The continuing growth in our city, state, and Federal governments and their mistaken priorities are all adding to a really messed up society, and it is only going to get worse. Add this to the cooked up science that is being forced on us makes our countrys' future look very bleak.
I congratulate you on your sponsorship of both the Miller Stardome and of the filed trips that you are helping out with! I only wish there were more people like you and Sam.
Owen Phairis, Director
Planetarium Projector and Science Museumwww.PlanetariumMuseum.org
Spitz: (2)A1, A3P, 373, 512, STP, STS Prototype
GOTO: S-2, EX-3, Mercury, (2)Venus, Apollo III (E-5), M1 Star Globes
Emmons-HPA Projector, Harmonic Reed Nova III, Viewlex Minolta Series IIB
Musser Copernican Planetarium Prototype
3" Straight Cassegrain from Deutsches Museum # 293 of 1500
8" Cave Astrola Newtonian, 8" Meade Newtonian, 8" Meade SCT,
6" f-10 Vernon Refractor, 6" f-8 Celestron Refractor, Daystar H-Alpha filter,
4" f-15 Unitron Refractor, 90mm f-11 Meade Maksutov, 90mm f-13 Meade ETX