The Hansen to Clark Legacy: Celebrating 50 Years of Salt Lake City’s Planetarium

Amy Oliver
Old Hansen Planetarium building on State Street

Old Hansen Planetarium building on State Street

On Thanksgiving Day in 1965, the doors of the old Salt lake City Public Library building at 15 So. State Street in Downtown Salt Lake City opened again, but with a new purpose and a new promise: to enlighten the community and inspire wonder about learning in space and science as the Hansen Planetarium.

From 1965 to 2003, the Hansen Planetarium served as the beacon of space science education for the community at this location, sharing space science developments and creating dome shows like “Star of Bethlehem” and “Dawn of Astronomy” that played on the Spitz Space Transit Planetarium star projector.

In 2003, the Hansen Planetarium got a new home, a new name, and a renewed commitment to the public as the Clark Planetarium, stationed at The Gateway Mall in Downtown Salt Lake City. Although our name, our technology, and what we know about space has changed over the past 50 years, Clark Planetarium remains dedicated to its primary mission: to inspire wonder and learning about space and science. We still make many of our own dome show that now play digitally in the Hansen Dome Theatre and many of which are now played in planetariums around the world and we still make live presentations and science demonstrations.

Mark Littmann preparing for a star show presentation at Hansen Planetarium

Mark Littmann preparing for a star show presentation at Hansen Planetarium

You’ve celebrated monumental space milestones with us like the launching of the Apollo 13 mission, the launching of the Hubble Space Telescope and the New Horizons flyby of Pluto. And we look forward to more adventures with you, like watching the Orion mission to Mars unfold, and even celebrating the complete renovation of our own exhibits program, coming to you in Fall 2016.

But before we can get there, we want to celebrate everything you’ve helped us to accomplish over the years and it wouldn’t be the same without you! And that’s why we’re hosting a big 50th anniversary party just for you!

50th anniversay invitation image

WHAT: Hansen to Clark Legacy 50th Anniversary Party
WHEN: Saturday, November 21st, 2015
TIME: 11:00am – 1:00pm
WHERE: Clark Planetarium, 110 So. 400 W. Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
THE EXPERIENCE: Activities, cupcakes, science demonstrations, and 50-cent dome shows!

This party is FREE to the public so don’t miss it!

We’ll kick off the party with some remarks from our Director, Seth Jarvis, who has worked for the planetarium since 1978, and from our Board Chair, Thomas Beckett. Then it’s right into activities, science demonstrations, and cupcakes. Did we mention cupcakes?

And don’t forget, every show in the Hansen Dome Theatre is just $0.50 per ticket all day long on Saturday in celebration of our 50 years in service to the community.

Don’t forget to join us for a special edition of Night Vision at 6:45pm celebrating another major milestone in science history: the publishing of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity. Night Vision: 100 Years of Relativity is presented live on both Thursday, November 19th and Saturday, November 21st.

And it doesn’t end with this party! We’ll be celebrating 50 years of space science at Salt Lake City’s planetarium all through 2016, with special events just for you, culminating in the grand reopening of a full renovated exhibits program in Fall 2016.


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