Past Events

Exhibit Construction


Perkins Observatory has struggled for several years in an attempt to turn itself into a full-fledged science education venue for the general public. Our evening observing programs were well attended and enjoyed by all, but there was always something missing. In 1996 we decided that one significant way to enhance our programs would be to add an exhibit area.

Fortunately, we had several under-used rooms in the basement. One was a conference room where no conferences were ever held. Others were office space for professors who rarely (if ever) used them. Some were just for storage of old, useless junk. This page chronicles the remodeling of these rooms into our new exhibit area!

The Mural

Because our new exhibit area was to be in the basement, we would need something to let our visitors know it was down there. By coincidence, we had the good fortune of being blessed by the presence of the lovely and talented Tara Wait.
tara Tara

Tara came to us from Ohio Wesleyan University as a STAP student. This is a special kind of work-study program the university participates in. For the semester she was with us, Tara spent her time creating our EXHIBITS sign above the stairs leading to the basement.

Before and After


These photos show one of the basement rooms that were remodeled into our new exhibit area. This room was once office space.

Intended to become a small theater dedicated to a continuously-running slide show, we first had to cover the windows which let light in through window wells.

With a cool paint job and new carpeting, it looks completely different!


Our Big Space

Here is the main room which was renovated. Intended as a conference room, the other rooms and offices involved in the remodeling project all opened off of this large space. Its walls were once lined with bookshelves full of outdated journals and unused periodicals.

Some of the work has already been done in the photo to the left. The black area was once walled off as a separate little room. It held a "hypering chamber" for modifying camera film. The inside of the little room was painted flat black. With the walls gone, all that remains are two black walls (which were tough to paint over).

In the middle picture, you can see the area about 80% finished. The walls have been painted (but not the doors) and carpeting installed. the two black posts at the far end (where the hypering chamber once was located) proved to be special problems. They are made of poured concrete and are distinctly separate from the building's foundation. These small obelisks originally were intended to provide a stable platform free of the vibrations of people moving around inside the building. Since they couldn't be removed, we had to do something about them.

The photo on the right shows the exhibit area after completion. The doors are painted, track lighting installed, and the exhibits delivered at last. The concrete posts were wrapped in gray carpet to match the exhibit cases and used to support a seismograph! This way, we were able to turn a liability into an asset! Next to the seismograph is a computer which records and displays its output.

Gary McCool, the Building Superintendent, deserves MAJOR kudos for all his hard work and effort in turning the dream into the reality. He also designed and built the seismograph by himself. What a guy!


sunnyThe Relative Size of the Planets

This is the centerpiece of the exhibit area. Starting with a basketball representing Jupiter, other objects like a soccer ball, softballs, marbles, and tiny beads represent the other planets. The large orange ball on the left is the Sun at the same scale! It stands a couple of inches out from the wall, and glows around the edges because of the red and yellow Christmas lights behind it. This impressive exhibit is the first thing you see when walking into the exhibit area. To the right is an exhibit showing the major asteroids compared to the Moon.


moreMore Exhibits

We won't show you each and every exhibit we have (for that you will just have to come and visit us!). But for now, we'll leave you with these. In the center is a scale model of the 200-inch Hale Telescope on Mt. Wilson. To the right is our modest meteorite collection. to the left are two wall displays which demonstrate how telescopes gather and focus light. the doorway beyond leads to the Rocket Room!



Recently Perkins has received some funding for expanding our exhibit area. The new exhibits will all deal with light and the information hidden within, telescope making, radio astronomy, and much more! Watch this space!


If you're interested in seeing our exhibits, come out to one of our


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