Thursday, January 24, 2013
The Amazing Planetarium Museum
In our post-sputnik world, the 1950s and the early 1960s, the US Government funded the creation of planetariums throughout the country to inspire our youth to dedicate their lives to science and so overthrow and defeat Godless communism.
I loved Planetariums, I love them still, but most of all I love the fabulous contraptions built to simulate the Universe on a dome above our heads.
One day, at the old Griffith Park Observatory, I hung out after a show and checked out the Planetarium control panel. It had big knobs like you found in 50s science fiction movies: and they had labels like "Comets", and "Beginning of Time", "The Planets", "Meteors. I realized suddenly that the true Planetarium was an interactive display, under the guidance and control of the master of ceremonies. There was probably a way to automate the shows, I am sure, but fundamentally, at heart, it was designed to be live and interactive.
There were only a few manufacturers of Planetariums, in fact, I was only aware of the big three: Zeiss, Minolta and Spitz until I came across this dedicated and comprehensive Planetarium museum. Now I know of a whole swarm of planetarium devices I had never heard of before.
Please review this site if you care about Planetarium history. I think he is trying to sell his collection, I wish I had not gone into Computer Animation so that I could afford to buy it.
See the museum here:
Video clip of various planetariums spinning around