16 Feb 2009
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My colleagues and I are on a lot of listservs for science center and museum professionals. An interesting item came through a few weeks ago on one of them. Someone on Capitol Hill saw fit to put language into and early draft of the stimulus bill that specifically prohibits stimulus dollars from going to zoos and aquariums. The zoos and aquariums were lumped in with a few other items like casinos and golf courses. I found that odd.

One can only assume that the writer believes that zoos and aquariums don’t stimulate the economy. However, the existence of venues like the Georgia Aquarium tends to contradict that assumption. The Georgia Aquarium cost $320 million to construct (jobs), employs more than 400 full- and part-time employees (jobs) and has helped spur a new wave of tourism-related growth in downtown Atlanta (more jobs). A Georgia State University study concluded that the aquarium’s impact on Atlanta’s economy would total between $1 billion and $1.5 billion during its first five years after opening in 2005. In addition, the aquarium encourages interest in science, a cornerstone of America’s 21st century economy.

All in all, I think we’ll be lucky if the stimulus package can produce projects with those kinds of benefits. By the way, that draft language prohibiting aquariums and zoos from being eligible for funding stayed in the bill that the House and Senate approved over the weekend and awaits President Obama’s signature.

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

28 Aug 2008
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Our longtime educator and friend, Jesse Richuso, is leaving us for colder pastures. He’s heading to the University of Wisconson at Madison for a new job as a Physics Outreach Manager. The best part about it is that he will be driving a van around to local schools doing physics demos for the kids. Of course we assume that he will be living in the van…down by the river. Here’s a pic of us when we found out he was going somewhere that has snow.

And here’s Jesse trying to look all Emo for his last Rock Band session in the NDT.

Good luck, Jesse! We’ll miss ya!

Jay Heinz is Morehead's Digital Production Manager.

Hope you all have been enjoying Jay’s and Jonathan’s posts. We have a few more folks ready to join the blogging ranks. You’ve already heard from Karen Kornegay. She’s our marketing manager and will give you the heads up on special events at Morehead.

As soon as I get around the creating an account for her, our planetarium educator Mickey Jo Sorrell will start writing about what’s happening in the night sky. If you’ve been to any of our skywatching sessions at Jordan Lake, you may already know her.

And finally, you’ll get a chance to hear from our SciVentures participants in the next few weeks. These middle-schoolers will be blogging about their experiences in Morehead’s newest summer program.

Jeff Hill is Morehead's director of external relations

25 Jul 2008
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Everyone here at Morehead is excited about this new blog. We hope you like it, too. And if you do, you may want to check out some other blogs by Morehead staffers!
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Karen Kornegay is Morehead's marketing manager.

Starting this fall, Morehead is launching a brand new afterschool program. We’re going to give elementary school children a chance to explore science the way it should be explored: for fun, just to see how stuff works or why things happen. We’ll learn, play, design and tinker. We’ll experiment, test, re-test, and wonder. We’ll take field trips and meet scientists while making new friends.
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Jonathan Frederick directs the North Carolina Science Festival, an initiative of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

domefest 2008Denise (our Director of Education), Peter and Jim (two of our digital animators) and I met up with Richard (our Star Theater Director) and Mickey Jo (our theater manager) out in Chicago at the Adler Planetarium to attend the International Planetarium Society conference as well as DomeFest 2008 last week.
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Jay Heinz is Morehead's Digital Production Manager.

Good news! You’ll soon be getting more views than just my own on this blog. I’ve recruited two new bloggers from our staff.
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Jeff Hill is Morehead's director of external relations

17 Jun 2008
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Social media. Facebook. MySpace. Twitter. Wikis. YouTube. Flickr. Digg. Blogs. SecondLife. Good grief – where do you start? Like it or not social media is here to stay.
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Jeff Hill is Morehead's director of external relations


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