New State-of-the-Art Planetarium Experience at The State Museum

Nov 14, 2012, 10:25 ET from Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The State Museum of Pennsylvania's planetarium has been upgraded and is now one of the most state-of-the-art in the nation. The planetarium's new high-resolution digital projection system is one of only four currently operating in the United States.

The SciDome XD system provides five times the brightness and display capabilities of the planetarium's former projector. It also offers full-dome video presentations and real-time astronomy simulation for educational presentations.

The SciDome XD system is produced by Spitz Incorporated, a planetarium manufacturer and distributor located in Chadds Ford, Delaware County. 

"Our new Planetarium XD projector is bigger, brighter and bolder," Museum Director David Dunn said.  "The XD stands for extreme definition and I can attest that it is indeed a spectacular upgrade to a very beloved museum feature."

The State Museum has purchased two new full-dome shows to take advantage of the SciDome XD's high ranging capabilities.  "We are Astronomers" (for grade 4 & up) is an exciting look at the global collaboration, technology, and dedication required to answer the unresolved questions of the universe.

"Legends of the Night Sky: Perseus & Andromeda" (for pre-K to grade 2) is an animated, fun-filled retelling of the age-old myth of the Princess Andromeda and the Greek hero, Perseus. Both shows are available through Dec. 30. 

A full schedule of show times is available at  Planetarium shows are $2 per person in addition to general admission and are free to State Museum Affiliate Members.

"Our returning visitors are astounded at the enhanced clarity and definition of the new system," says Planetarium Director Linda Powell, who is upgrading The State Museum's existing show library to supplement the new offerings. "Many favorite presentations will be back in 2013, brighter and clearer than before."

In addition to the "XD" planetarium experience, visitors will find new interactive kiosks exploring astronomy. "Viewspace" is a direct feed from the Space Telescope Science Institute. It features the latest missions and studies involving a network of telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope.

"NASA Space Place," offers up-to-date information on NASA's research and exploration initiatives and The State Museum's popular collection of moon rocks has a new installation.

The State Museum of Pennsylvania, adjacent to the State Capitol in Harrisburg, is one of 25 historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission as part of the Pennsylvania Trails of History®.

The State Museum offers expansive collections interpreting Pennsylvania's fascinating heritage. With exhibits examining the dawn of geologic time, the Native American experience, the colonial and revolutionary era, a pivotal Civil War battleground, and the commonwealth's vast industrial age, The State Museum demonstrates that Pennsylvania's story is America's story.

Museum hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for children and senior citizens.

For more information about the museum, visit

Media contact: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639

Editor's Note: The State Museum will be open Friday, Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving, with planetarium shows scheduled on the hour from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for people looking for an alternative to holiday shopping.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission