Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Flandrau Closing

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2009 at 2:13 PM


The UA's Flandrau Science Center will close its doors on Monday, June 1, after fueling imaginations of all ages for more than 30 years.

I try not to chime in with my opinion very often, but this totally sucks. I know the economy is a cruel mistress, and that no one is immune, but when local treasures like Flandrau start dying off it makes me wonder: Is there any intelligent life left here on planet earth?

Here's the text from the press release announcing the closure:

May 20, 2009

Say Goodbye to Hector Vector Star Projector
Flandrau Science Center closes June 1st

Tucson, Arizona - The public is invited to visit Flandrau: The University of Arizona Science Center and say goodbye to Hector Vector Star Projector before it closes it doors on June 1, 2009. Flandrau Science Center is closing as a result of state budget cuts announced earlier in the year.

Hector Vector Star Projector, the nickname local kids fondly gave the optical projector that rises from the floor at the beginning of each planetarium show to depict the realistic night image of our sky and solar system, has been a staple for generations of Tucsonans. Many adults that came to Flandrau Science Center as children years ago to watch Hector’s wondrous performances now bring

their children to share the same childhood memories they had as kids. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million people visited Flandrau Science Center during its 33-year history.

For more than three decades, Flandrau Science Center has provided a variety of science related exhibits and experiences for residents, school groups and visitors to southern Arizona. It has offered visitors an opportunity to experience the universe in a new way.

Visitors encounter hands-on exhibits, viewing through a 16-inch telescope, informative presentations and a multi-media journey through the solar system in the planetarium theater.

Oral histories of the men and women who live and worked in the underground mining communities are presented in the Miners’ Story Project. Tours of The University of Arizona Mineral Museum, the longest continuously-curated mineral museum west of the Mississippi, also are available. The museum contains one of the top five collections in the United States and has more than 27,000 minerals and 1,000 artifacts, including mineral specimens that date back to 1892.

The Science Center got its start with a 1972 bequest from the estate of Grace H. Flandrau, noted author and frequent winter visitor to Tucson. The University decided to use the generous gift to fund a facility that would increase public understanding and appreciation of science.

Originally known as The Grace H. Flandrau Planetarium, the facility was part of the UA department of astronomy. Its location on campus, near the astronomy department, the College of Optical Sciences, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and historic Steward Observatory, reflects its continuing connections to the research community. The Planetarium was designed by Tucson architectural firm Blanton and Company and opened its doors to the public in 1975.

After closing to the public on June 1st, Flandrau will maintain its commitment to community education through various astronomy outreach programs for both school and general public audiences. Also, work will continue on exhibit concepts and prototyping for the new science center planned as part of the City of Tucson’s downtown redevelopment district.

About Flandrau: The UA Science Center and Mineral Museum
Currently, Flandrau: The UA Science Center which houses the Mineral Museum is open 4 days a week — Thursday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with evening hours on Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The science center is located on the northeast corner of University Boulevard and Cherry Avenue. For more information visit or call 520- 621-STAR.

About Astronomy Outreach Program
For information about the astronomy outreach program, call astronomy coordinator Mike Terenzoni at 520-621-3646 or email him at:

Contact Information
Sam Kane

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