After months of planning by members of the community and the Blanco Library, Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery will open on September 28 at the library and run through December 4.
As was reported November 12 in the Blanco County News, the Blanco Library has been selected as one of only forty libraries nationwide to host the exhibit, developed to mark the International Year of Astronomy in 2009.
The exhibit and tour were designed by the Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, the American Library Association Public Programs Office, Chicago, IL, and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, MA, with funding by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
“We will be making a real commitment to reach out to the schools in our community and develop public programs related to the exhibit,” asserted Blanco Library Director of Programs Jan Redmond after the library was selected as a site last fall.
Other committee members who have been hard at work planning events include Blanco State Park Interpretive Ranger Mary Alice Partain, Blanco Elementary School 5th grade science teacher Mike McClure, Director of Library Services Crystal Spybuck, library representatives Don Gaines, Gene Guthrie, and Linda Nash, Dr. Barbara Dugelby, scientist and Director of the Latin American Program at Round River Conservation, and Drs. John Whitesides and RK Seals.
The exhibit traces the roots of astronomy to 1609, when Galileo’s experiments with the telescope opened the heavens and challenged the medieval view that the earth was the center of the universe.
Four hundred years of space exploration are documented, including dramatic images from the Hubble Telescope and the many NASA missions to explore the solar system.
The goal of the exhibit, according to the American Library Association, is to “provoke the visitor’s innate curiosity to explore and discover more within the shelves of the library.”
The library has received two stipends: $250 for collection development and $500 for programming support.
Funding is designated for cooperation with the local school system to promote interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through various activities, including field trips and family programs.
Some of the activities planned include the following: family movie nights at the library, school field trips to view the exhibit at the library, a “Star Party” at the Blanco State Park, a “Moon Party” hosted by Mike McClure, a program at the state park called “Seeing Stars” about the stories of the constellations, science-related art projects for children at the library, a live feed from McDonald Observatory to Blanco High science classes, and a one-woman show on Galileo by local actress and storyteller Maggie Goodman.
The keynote address on October 29 will be a presentation by the Director of the McDonald Observatory, Dr. David Lambert.
For more information on the exhibit, go to http://www.ala.org/visionsoftheuniverse. Information on activities will appear weekly in the Blanco County News and on the library’s website at www.blancolib.org.