Tom MarshburnI’ve got to admit it. I meet some pretty cool people in my job. About three years ago, we hosted Tom Marshburn as a guest speaker during the “Destination: Space” premiere weekend activities. Tom is a NASA astronaut who happens to be a North Carolinian. He’s a Statesville native and a Davidson graduate.

I remember thinking at the time what a great role model Tom is for kids. As well as being an astronaut, he’s a medical doctor and seems like an all-around nice guy. He was unfailingly gracious — even as the kids in the audience grilled him about going to the bathroom in space!

Well, yesterday on the 40th anniversary on the moon landing, Tom was living his dream and making headlines. He went space walking as part of current shuttle mission. Way to go, Tom!

Jeff Hill is Morehead's director of external relations

Here’s your hot travel tip for the summer. Membership. Most museum and science center visitors don’t even consider membership as an option unless the ticket seller mentions it, but membership really is one of the best bargains around at most museums and science centers. Consider Morehead for example. A tax-deductible Morehead family membership costs $60 and gets you free admission for an entire year. In comparison, if a family of four (two adults, two kids) visits, they’re going to pay $22 for admission. If they want to see a second show, add another $8. Considering tax benefits, that family more than breaks even on just two visits.

Association of Science-Technology CentersAnd the savings don’t stop there. One of the best parts is the reciprocal agreement that a lot of museums and science centers have for each other’s members: free general admission to participating museums. Morehead participates in a reciprocal agreement with other science centers through the ASTC Passport Program (one big caveat: the reciprocal agreement does not apply to science centers and museums within 90 miles of Morehead). That means you can become a member at Morehead and visit science centers free across the country. I’m sure you’re thinking that it’s a limited number of science centers that participates. Nope. Check out the list for yourself on th ASTC Web site. Most of the biggest and most well-known science centers in the world are on the list. Exploratorium in San Franciso. Yes. The Franklin Insitute in Philadelphia. Check. The Field Museum in Chicago. You bet. Check out the admission prices for some of the science centers, and you’ll figure out in a hurry that membership is a great value.

So why do science centers offer such a bargain? It’s simple really. Think of it as a customer loyalty program. We want you to come as often as you like, and membership makes multiple visits affordable.

So if you’re looking for a great bargain, consider membership. By the way, there are other benefits, too. Get all of the info on our membership page. While you’re visiting that page, you can sign up for membership online or you can sign up when you visit Morehead. One more note, you will need a membership card to take advantage of the discounts at other science centers. Allow a few weeks for us to process your membership application and get it to you.

After you visit science centers using your Morehead membership, come on back here and tell us how it was!

Jeff Hill is Morehead's director of external relations

Morehead: Celebrating 60 Years of ServiceIn recognition of our 60th anniversary, we are extending a special membership offer — 13 months for the price of 12. Membership is already a great deal; this just makes it better. Visit as many times as you want during your membership for just $60 for the entire family. You also get plenty of other extras.

If you are already a Morehead member, you can take advantage of this special offer to extend your membership. Regardless of when your expiration date is, we’ll add the 13 months to the end of the membership.

While membership is a great value (and who isn’t look for great values these days?), membership is also a great way to support Morehead Planetarium and Science Center and its various science education activities. Private giving is ultimately a key to our ability to keep admission prices low; and members form the base of our private supporters.

Learn more about membership or register for membership online now.

Jeff Hill is Morehead's director of external relations

Morehead: Celebrating 60 Years of ServiceWe’re celebrating our 60th anniversary in May. The doors to what was then known simply as Morehead Planetarium first opened on May 10, 1949. We had one the first planetariums in the United States and the first in the world on a university campus. (Learn more about our history.) To celebrate 60 years of science and service, we’re going to offer up bargain-basement admission prices the for the anniversary weekend, May 9 and 10, 2009. So make sure to stop by, see a show and help us celebrate a North Carolina icon. Check back in a week or so on our home page for details.

And if you are a Morehead member, make sure to look for the latest edition of Sundial magazine in your snail-mail for an article reflecting on Morehead’s history. I especially love the quotes from designer and Chapel Hill native Alexander Julian who remembers interviewing astronauts at Morehead when he was in junior high.

Have you got any special memories of Morehead? We’d love to hear them.

Jeff Hill is Morehead's director of external relations

Earth Action Day LogoSaturday (April 18, 2009) is supposed to be a beautiful day. If you’re planning on taking advantage of the weather with a trip to Chapel Hill, check out Earth Action Day. It’s here at Morehead, however, we can’t really take credit for it. The Town of Chaple Hill with help from Briar Chapel and Duke Energy are staging the event. While you’re here, stop by to see a show or visit the gift shop.

After you visit, feel free to come on back here and post a comment.

Jeff Hill is Morehead's director of external relations

Dragonfly TV LogoIf you missed the celebration last Saturday for Morehead’s appearance on PBS’ “Dragonfly TV,” you missed a good time. But you can still catch the show itself. It airs today (April 3) on WUNC-TV at 4 p.m. The show features some local children (some of whom are Morehead regulars). This episode explores nanotechnology. News & Observer blogger Brooke Cain did a nice post on the show.

Jeff Hill is Morehead's director of external relations

Morehead members are going to be sooooooooo happy this month. We’ve just added an online system to join and to renew existing memberships. You can find the link to it on our membership page.

This used to be available as part of our camp registration system, but when we changed systems a few years ago, we lost the capability. Members have missed it, and so have we! It’s wonderful to be able to offer this to you again.

Karen Kornegay is Morehead's marketing manager.

I’ll admit it. I haven’t been very good about posting recently. In July, my duties were expanded to cover all external relations including development. That means I’ve spent a lot of time drinking from the fire hose in the past several months.

One of the biggest projects for the external relations team during that span has been Jupiter Ball, Morehead’s annual black-tie fundraiser. After months of planning, JB finally happened Friday night. I can’t take all — or even most — of the credit for the ball and its success. Terry Gunnels does tremendous work pulling it all together as does the Jupiter Committee. This year, Laura Ellgen chaired that committee.

The ball is really good for three things:

1) Fundraising. As a result of this year’s ball, we are able to fund fellowships for three student employees to develop special projects for the organization. The remaining funds will go towards the building’s renovation and expansion fund.

2) Developing relationships with our supporters. I like to say that it’s a great opportunity to get together with 300 of our closest friends and share our successes with them. I’m looking forward to following up with many of them in the coming couple of months. The interest in Morehead and its upcoming renovation and expansion project is very strong. I think that reflects the important role Morehead has played in the lives of so many people during its 60-year history.

3) Wringing the last bit of sanity out of our external relations team. If you’ve ever organized a party for 30 people, you know how quickly a simple event seems to turn into the Olympic opening ceremonies. Now, multiply that by 10! The devil is in the details. And trust me on this, when paper says it’s for laser printers, use it with an ink-jet printer at your own peril.

Happily, the 2008 ball is now in the books, and I can breathe again. Oh, I was never worried about the ball coming together. Let’s just say that I’ve gained a pound or two since I bought my tux, and breathing wasn’t much of an option Friday night for me. That reminds me. I need to hit the gym. Only 363 days until I need to fit in that darn thing again.

Jeff

Jeff Hill is Morehead's director of external relations

More than 12,000 people will come to Morehead Planetarium and Science Center for One-Stop Voting this month. What we’d REALLY like is for all of those people to bring their family and friends and come back to see a planetarium show!

So … from now until Nov. 9, 2008, if you wear your “I voted!” sticker into the Morehead gift shop, you’ll receive a 2-for-1 discount if you purchase planetarium show tickets for regularly-scheduled public shows. It’s even valid for the special “Scare-o-lina Skies” shows around Halloween.

And while you’re here to vote (via the west entrance), be sure to check out the “Zoom In” and “Ancient Carolinians” exhibits, which will be open whenever possible during “voting hours.” The exhibits are ALWAYS open during public hours on weekends. So is the gift shop. Check ‘em out!

Karen Kornegay is Morehead's marketing manager.

We spent Thursday on a trip out to the Haw River, west of Chapel Hill. We were able to do a macroinvertebrate study just below a dam to investigate what was living in the river, and what we could learn about stream health.

In the afternoon we canoed out onto the lake just above the dam, observing human impact on river banks, accumulation of trash and just enjoying the beauty of the river!

Enjoy these shots of our young scientists checking out the river’s biodiversity!


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Carly Apple is Morehead's afterschool coordinator.


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