CHAPEL HILL, N.C., March 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- "#TakeUpSpace" is Morehead Planetarium and Science Center's $5.2 million building project to reimagine the North Carolina icon as a modern-day, technology-advanced science hub, to be unveiled at a launch party Thursday, April 6, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., 250 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, N.C. More than 200 invited community stakeholders are expected to attend.
The building was completed in 1949, thanks to the generosity of John Motley Morehead III, who gave the Planetarium to UNC-Chapel Hill out of gratitude for its contribution to his professional success. Despite Morehead's decades-long popularity as a destination for school groups and visitors, this beloved icon on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus has not had significant upgrades to its teaching and exhibit spaces since it opened.
"Morehead will retain its majestic exterior, while inside, it will soon provide the kind of experiences visitors and students expect today," said Todd Boyette, Morehead's director. "The results will be transformative. We will be solidly positioned among America's leading university-based science outreach centers. We are grateful to our generous partners who help Morehead "#TakeUpSpace. We still have a ways to go with fundraising, but with their help, we are confident we will reach our goal."
The #TakeUpSpace celebration will include an unveiling of plans for the renovation. They include moving the main entrance to the building's west end facing McCorkle Place; a modern, reconfigured lobby space; an exhibit hall that will pay tribute to UNC's history as a pioneer of science exploration; an interactive "maker space" that's part exhibit, part program; an updated science demonstration stage and expanded exhibit galleries showcasing the advances researchers are making in science, health and technology.
With #TakeUpSpace the theme of the evening and the building project, the launch event will celebrate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
- Revel in the chance to #TakeUpSpace in a whole new dimension, virtual reality
- Watch awe-inspiring live science demonstrations involving kids put on by Morehead informal science educators
- Snap #TakeUpSpace selfies and send them out on social media, giving new meaning to Taking Up Space
- Hear speakers address the importance of exposing children to science at an early age. They'll include Dr. Lisa A. Gillespie, chief medical officer, Rockdale Medical Center, Snellville, Ga., and winner of the 2013 Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumna Award from UNC. Dr. Gillespie credits her school field trip to Morehead as pivotal to her career.
- Hear UNC Chancellor Carol Folt lend congratulations
- Munch space-themed hors d'oeuvres
- View the launch of the #TakeUpSpace website and ad campaign featuring students, members, donors and Morehead student alumni
Watch as the evening is topped by a stupendous blast off of thousands of colorful ping pong balls on the West lawn outside Morehead's soon-to-be main entrance
ABOUT MOREHEAD PLANETARIUM AND SCIENCE CENTER AND THE RENOVATION: Opened in 1949, Morehead was the first planetarium in the South, a landmark designed by the architects of the Jefferson Memorial. Morehead provided training for America's astronauts during the Space Race, counts 11 moonwalkers among its "alumni" and has hosted more than eight million visitors. It is also a science outreach center on a major research university, which gives it a special opportunity to connect with researchers and present their cutting-edge work to the public. Yet, while Morehead's programs have changed with the times, its facilities have not, severely limiting its ability to serve today's generation and the next. Project #TakeUpSpace is a plan to transform Morehead for the next generation. www.moreheadplanetarium.org
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Special thanks to the Rivers Agency in Chapel Hill for conceiving of the #TakeUpSpace ad campaign.
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SOURCE Morehead Planetarium and Science Center