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History of the Hayden Planetarium

1935 Charles HaydenThe American Museum of Natural History Planetarium Authority was established by the State of New York 1933. With a $650,000 loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation and a donation of $150,000 from Mr. Charles Hayden, the Hayden Planetarium was constructed and opened to the public in 1935. Hayden Planetarium, circa 1939In the words of Charles Hayden, its mission was to give the public "a more lively and sincere appreciation of the magnitude of the universe... and for the wonderful things which are daily occurring in the universe." Mr. Hayden believed that everyone should have the experience of feeling the "immensity of the sky and one's own littleness" (Fortune, April 1937).
1936 The Sky, the Hayden Planetarium magazine, is published. In 1941, it merges with the publication Telescope to become Sky and Telescope.
  The Sky Magazine The Sky, Page 1 The Sky, Page 2
1939 The Hayden Planetarium's exhibition on space and astronomy is a highlight of the World's Fair at Flushing Meadow, Queens.
1951-1953 Public fascination with rocket ships increases. To encourage "space race" interest, the planetarium hosts the world's first space symposia.
1969 Planetarium astronomer Kenneth L. Franklin provides the running scientific commentary with Walter Cronkite on CBS-TV for the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
1970 Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, the first humans to set foot on the Moon, and Wally Schirra, one of the original seven astronauts, visit the Hayden Planetarium.
1973 A Zeiss Mark VI projector and new seats are installed. In September, the Museum's Richard S. Perkin Library opens with more than 10,000 volumes on astronomy and astrophysics.
1985 On October 3, the planetarium celebrates its 50th Anniversary.
1996 On November 7, the Museum announces that Mr. and Mrs. Frederick P. Rose have donated $20-million for the recently announced plan to transform the north side of the Museum and the Hayden Planetarium. In honor of their generosity, the facility will be named the Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space.
1997 On January 5, the original Hayden Planetarium closes and construction of the Rose Center for Earth and Space begins.
1998 On November 16, the Museum holds a breakfast celebrating the triumphant return of Astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn and the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery before being honored with a ticker-tape parade in the City's "Canyon of Heroes."
1999 In August, the new, customized Zeiss Mark IX projector is installed along with the Digital Dome System, capable of flying audiences through a scientifically accurate re-creation of the Universe.
2000 On Wednesday, February 16, the Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space is dedicated by Museum President Ellen Futter and Chairman of the Board Anne Sidamon-Eristoff with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, and NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin.

On Saturday, February 19, the Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space and the Hayden Planetarium opens to the public.