Expansion lift-off: $44,000 Planetarium countdown

Thursday, May 20, 1976

Officers of the Kansas Science and Arts Foundation began to spread the word Tuesday night about the planetarium they operate on the college campus.

The goal: a $44,000 budget to meet the rapidly expanding needs of the planetarium. This compares with a current budget of nearly $27,000.

The means: increased financial support and interest from the business and professional communities.

Two-score guests were given a 40-minute briefing at the planetarium, with Director Max Ary and his assistant, Mary Jane Butler, staging capsule clips from the center's round-domed shows.

That was followed by dinner at Prairie Dunes, plus presentations of the planetarium's present work and future dreams by Ary, Norman Krause, Mrs. Merl F. Sellers, and Howard R. Hunter.

A special verbal tribute was offered at the dinner to Mrs. Howard J. Carey, Jr., who has guided the planetarium from its birth in a wing of the State Fair's "chicken house" to its present status.

A principal reason for the jump in expenditures is the new departure of the planetarium into space — NASA style. Ary presented several pieces of astronaut gear and-space module equipment, which will be part of a permanent collection here. He said NASA has picked the Hutchinson planetarium as "the most likely educational center in the midwest" for a display of historic space artifacts.

The planetarium for years has charted new fields in the staging of shows, and this initiative will grow, Mrs. Carey said. Prospective ventures include the re-staging of classic radio shows, such as the Arch Obler thrillers, and experiments in mood creation — described by Mrs. Carey as "the feelies."

Directors plan personal calls on prospective donors. Their contributions are expected to bring at least $30,000 for annual planetarium support. Other revenue stems from admission charges and gift shop sales.