“Morehead will retain its majestic exterior, while inside, it will soon provide the kind of experiences visitors and students expect today. The results will be transformative. We will be solidly positioned among America’s leading university-based science outreach centers. We are grateful to our generous partners who help Morehead “#TakeUpSpace.”
—Todd Boyette, Morehead’s director
Renovations begin May 4
There are many different ways to take up space. People, places and things take up space physically — and literally. People, places and things also take up “space” in minds and hearts. Since 1949, that’s what Morehead Planetarium and Science Center has done for the people of North Carolina. From its stately vantage point on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, it has inspired lifelong learning and deep affection among generations of North Carolinians, not to mention astronauts, since 1949.
We’re reimagining Morehead Planetarium and Science Center as a unique space where children and adults can launch their own dreams, maybe even careers, related to scientific discovery. And we’re calling this effort #TakeUpSpace.
"#TakeUpSpace” is Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s $5.2 million building project to recreate the North Carolina icon as a modern-day, technology-advanced science hub. Despite Morehead’s decades-long popularity as a destination for school groups and visitors, this beloved icon on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus has not had significant upgrades to its teaching and exhibit spaces since it opened.
Ultimately, we will have five times the amount of floor space dedicated to public use and enjoyment. There will be one-of-a-kind interactive experiences and galleries, with many informed by relevant research going on right here on campus.
We believe that Morehead must prepare for the current generation of explorers, and the one beyond them, who expect so much more from their museums and science centers than those in 1949. Science changes every day. Morehead must, too.
There’s no other place like Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Morehead was the first planetarium in the South, a landmark designed by the architects of the Jefferson Memorial. Here, America’s astronauts trained during the great Space Race. We have 11 moonwalkers as “alumni”. And, here on earth, we’ve hosted more than eight million visitors.
Morehead is also a science center on a major research university campus. This distinction gives it a special opportunity to connect with researchers and present their cutting-edge work to the public.
In 1949, computers were as big as a house, and television was the hot new invention. The Zeiss Model II Star Projector wowed audiences when Morehead opened that year. Now, society has hyper-realistic video games, home theaters featuring 4K video and omnipresent smartphones, so it takes a lot more to deliver memorable and inspiring science education programming. Morehead has to evolve to wow this century’s tech-savvy audiences. While Morehead’s programs have changed with the times, its facilities have not and severely limit Morehead’s ability to serve today’s generation and the next.
To address this need, we have a plan to transform Morehead for the next generation. Morehead’s campaign will fund an ambitious but achievable multi-stage plan to modernize this beloved icon while positioning it solidly among America’s leading university-based science centers. This plan includes developing cross-functional educational spaces and exhibit areas that take full advantage of modern technology; upgrading the Science Stage for larger audiences; and creating a new and accessible path for entry through the building’s West Entrance that encourages every Morehead visitor to experience everything Morehead offers.
This project matters. Our state’s economy has changed significantly, demanding a workforce that goes beyond science literacy into science fluency. Our children begin exploring career options very early in their lives, developing preferences by the time they enter middle school. Morehead serves these children as a gateway to all disciplines of science, including such newer fields as genetics, virtual reality and nanotechnology. Ultimately, this campaign enhances and improves Morehead’s ability to inspire, encourage and educate the next generation of North Carolinians.