SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Clark Planetarium is getting a major scientific face lift, and they’re temporarily closing their doors on Monday, September 14, for two weeks while they add new exhibits and put in more interactive educational tools.
“Our current exhibits are well over 10 years old, and we welcome 400,000 people through this building every year,” said Lindsie Smith, associate director of the Clark Planetarium. “So over 4 million people have interacted with the exhibits we currently have.”
Smith showed renderings of what the new space will look like.
“We’ve redesigned everything,” she said. “So the experience will be new and immersive and interactive. Really exploring from Earth down here on our first floor gallery, to space on the second floor gallery, to beyond on the third floor.”
The “Beyond” floor will feature black hole and cosmology exhibits.
“We’re going to see a new landscape where kids can walk around and experience a new landscape,” Smith said.
Crews are installing structural steel to create the new exhibits above the store.
“They’re going to be built so that multiple people can experience them together,” Smith said. “One of the best ways people learn and experience what we have to offer here at the Planetarium is as a group. They experience this together, they get excited about science and learning and then they go find out more.”
It’s a $3 million project.
“We’ve had significant support from Salt Lake County, the State of Utah, and very generous support from Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation and the Sorenson Legacy Foundation,” Smith said.
The expansion project should be completed by the fall of 2016. Smith said it will offer the public more opportunities to learn about space and science.
“And this project will take us into the next five to 10 years,” she said. “And the next four to five million people who will experience our exhibits for free.”
While the building will be closed for two weeks, the staff wants to remind families they’ll still be offering online classrooms and the Astrovan for schools. They’ll also be having a total lunar eclipse public viewing party on the night of September 27 on the roof of the Salt Lake City Library. For more information about the Clark Planetarium, visit their website.