Hayden Planetarium

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Exist Dates

1935 - present

Biographical or Historical Note

The Hayden Planetarium opened on October 3, 1935 and provided a physical space to represent the American Museum of Natural History's recently established Department of Astronomy. From this beginning, the relationship and identity of the Astronomy department and the Hayden Planetarium, as well as their staff members, were interchangeable. In 1999, the Department of Astronomy changed to the Department of Astrophysics and the Hayden Planetarium began to have distinct leadership. In 2000, the Hayden Planetarium reopened as part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space. This record primarily represents the Department of Astronomy and Hayden Planetarium between the years 1935 and 1999.

The Hayden Planetarium has been a premier exhibition and educational space since its opening in 1935, acting as the figurehead for the AMNH Department of Astronomy. From the inception of the Department of Astronomy, there was a desire for a permanent physical hall for this branch of science (1, 1925, p. 34). Clyde Fisher, curator in the Education department, was ultimately responsible for the planning, promotion and design of this project, modeling it in part after the Adler Planetarium in Chicago (1, 1931 p. 52). On October 3, 1935, the Hayden Planetarium opened to the public. At this point, the Department of Astronomy effectively merged with the Hayden Planetarium, with all staff members holding joint responsibilities for the scientific department and the physical space. Thus, Fisher would be named the first Curator of the Department of Astronomy and Hayden Planetarium (1, 1936 p. 38). In 1953 the department name changed to Department of Astronomy and American Museum-Hayden Planetarium (1, 1953 p. 71).

Although the department scientists have continually conducted research in their field, because of the nature of the material, the majority of the actual physical specimens in the Museum collection are meteorological. A close relationship with the departments relating to the earth sciences was maintained. The Planetarium's physical space has allowed for a strong educational outreach program. Besides the popular sky shows and educational programs, the Department offered celestial navigation courses for service personnel during WWII (1, 1937 p. 7), as well as participating in the 1939 New York World’s Fair (1, 1940 p. 13-14). Public participation was encouraged through the Junior Astronomy Club, publications such as the Sky magazine, and radio broadcasts from expedition sites. Expeditionary work largely focused on recording observations of eclipses (1, 1938 p. 57; 1, 1956 p. 36; 1, 1964 p. 28). Additional research work was undertaken by the scientists, both individually and collaboratively with other institutions. The Planetarium was also a continuous space for exhibition of scientific artifacts and representative artworks. Artists such as Charles Knight, D. Owen Stephens and Helmut Wimmer contributed to this artistic legacy of the Hayden Planetarium through permanent and temporary exhibits. These complemented the continuing sky show programs. The content of these shows and other programs continued to reflect the current cultural phenomena and collective public interest as well as evolve technologically throughout the 20th century. In the 1970s the Perkin Wing was erected which replaced the Copernican Hall of the Sun with the Guggenheim Space Theater, and added a new Hall of the Sun exhibit space, a research library and a gift shop (1, 1972, p. 19).

In the mid-1990s plans were made to redesign the Hayden Planetarium space as part of a larger exhibition hall. Thus the Hayden Planetarium was rebuilt as part of the Rose Center for Earth and Space. Along with the Hayden Planetarium, the Rose Center is comprised of the Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway, the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Hall of the Universe and the David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, which opened in 1999 (1, 2000 p. 13-14). Along with the physical changes, there was a shift in departmental focus at this time, with the Department’s name changing to Astrophysics in 1999 and the creation in 2000 of the parent Division of Physical Sciences, which comprises both Astrophysics as well as the sibling Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. At this point the administrative and curatorial responsibility for the Hayden Planetarium was effectively separated from the scientific department. For more complete historical records of the earlier and later incarnations of the department, see Department of Astronomy (record ID: amnhc_3000047) and Department of Astrophysics (record ID: amnhc_3000046).


    (1) American Museum of Natural History. Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1934-2006.
    (2) American Museum of Natural History. "Scientific Staff," Annual Reports. New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1934-2006. Note years 1948-50, 2004-05 and 2007 to present do not detail staff directories.
    (3) Martin, Douglas. "Joseph Chamberlain, 88, Dies; Brough the Stars a Bit Closer," New York Times (New York, NY), Dec. 11, 2011 Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/science/space/joseph-m-chamberlain-dies-at-88-led-hayden-and-adler-planetariums.html?_r=2
    (4) Flint, Peter B. "Thomas D. Nicholson Dies at 68; Led Museum of Natural History." New York Times (New York, NY), July 12, 1991. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1991/07/12/obituaries/thomas-d-nicholson-dies-at-68-led-museum-of-natural-history.html
    (5) "Franklyn Branley, 86, Advocate of Improving Science Education" New York Times (New York, NY), May 9, 2002. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/09/nyregion/franklyn-branley-86-advocate-of-improving-science-education.html
    (6) Martin, Douglas. "Kenneth Franklin, Astronomer, Dies at 84," New York Times (New York, NY), June 21, 2007. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/21/nyregion/21franklin.html?_r=0
    (7) NY Newsday, 12 1987 "Top Star-Sketcher Retiring from Hayden Planetarium," Newsday (New York) 1987. in Helmut K. Wimmer Personal file.
    (8) American Museum of Natural History. Author bio: "Carter Emmart" in Natural History. Retrieved April 22, 2015 from http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/author/carter-emmart
    (9) American Museum of Natural History, Grapevine 4, no.6 (November/December 1987) In Helmut K. Wimmer Personal File
    (10) American Museum of Natural History, Press Release, "Helmut K. Wimmer" In Helmut K. Wimmer Personal File.
    (11) American Museum of Natural History. Program, "Exhibition of Astronomy Art by Helmut K. Wimmer" In Helmut K. Wimmer Personal File.
    (12) Mordecai-Mark Mac Low Curriculum Vitae [pdf] accessed from http://www.amnh.org/our-research/staff-directory/mordecai-mark-mac-low
    (13) James Webster Curriculum Vitae [pdf] accessed from http://www.amnh.org/our-research/staff-directory/james-webster
    (14) American Museum of Natural History. Grapevine (July/August 1990). In James Webster Personal File.
    (15) American Museum of Natural History. "Hayden Planetarium: Staff." Retreived April 22, 2015 from http://www.amnh.org/our-research/hayden-planetarium/staff
    (16) American Museum of Natural History. Grapevine, (September/October 1982). In Sandra E. Kitt Personal File.
    (17) American Museum of Natural History, Program for "Special Exhibition of Astronomical Paintings by the Late D. Owen Stephens," Sept, 27 1937. In D. Owen Stephens Personal File.
    (18) Fisher, Clyde. "Eclipse in Peru" Natural History40, no. 4 (November 1937). 631-640.
    Library of Congress Name Authority File, n82067502


  • 1924: The Department of Astronomy was instituted as part of the Division of Mineralogy, Geology and Geography. (1, 1925 p. xix) Department of Public Education Curator Clyde Fisher was put ‘in charge’ of the fledgeling Astronomy department and an Astronomy room was put on exhibition. This contained paintings and photographs and both anticipated and benefitted from public interest in astronomical matters due to the upcoming 1925 eclipse. (1, 1925 p. 32-33) Meteorites in the collection were displayed in other Museum spaces. (1, 1925 p. 33) Descriptive plans, anticipated costs, and an advisory committee for the erection of an Astronomy Hall are presented in the Annual Report for the year 1924 (1, 1925, p. 34)
  • 1930: Studies were begun for the plans of a building to house a Zeiss planetarium similar to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. (1, 1931 p. 52) This planning work would continue into the next year (1, 1932 p. 60)
  • 1933: Charles Hayden donates funds for the purchase of a Zeiss Projection Planetarium and Copernican Planetarium (1, 1934, p. 3; 1935 p. 28, p. 87).
  • 1935: On October 3, the Hayden Planetarium opened to the public, with Clyde Fisher as curator of the Department of Astronomy and Hayden Plantarium. (1, 1936 p. 38)
  • 1936: A celestial navigation course for navigators and aviators was first offered at the Planetarium in cooperation with the Weems System of Navigation of Annapolis. (1, 1937 p. 7)
  • 1937: Fisher led the Hayden Planetarium-Grace Peruvian Eclipse Expedition to observe and record the solar eclipse. (1, 1938 p. 57) Workers and craftsmen were assigned by the WPA to the Department (1, 1938 p. 33-34)
  • 1939: The Department of Astronomy contributed to the New York World's Fair. With cooperation from the Bartol Research Foundation, technical staff built the Cosmic Ray Counter, a machine which received cosmic ray impulses that were transmitted to turn on the lights at the Fair. The machine would also be used at the opening of LaGuardia Airport (1, 1940 p. 13-14)
  • 1942: In response to the wartime need for training, the Hayden Planetarium entered into a contract with the United States Navy in July of 1942 to educate 10,000 students of the Midshipmen’s School and to continue providing other navigation courses. (1, 1943 p. 6-7) William Barton assumed the role of Department Curator. (2, 1943)
  • 1944: Associate Curator Marian Lockwood assumed the role of Acting Curator after the death of William Barton (2, 1945)
  • 1945: Goorge Atwood was appointed Chairman and Curator of the Department. (2, 1946)
  • 1950: Robert Coles, who had been with the Department since 1941, took over the Chairmanship. (2, 1951)
  • 1953: The name was changed to the Department of Astronomy and the American Museum-Hayden Planetarium. (1, 1953 p. 71) Joseph Chamberlain became the General Manager and Chief Astronomer of the Department, (2, 1954) a title which would change to Chairman and Astronomer in 1956 (2, 1957)
  • 1955: The Museum sponsored the Ceylon Expedition, which sent a team to Ceylon to take documentary film footage of the eclipse. Chamberlain acted as leader of the expedition and Nicholson accompanied as scientist, along with R.E. Logan and Lee Boltin as photographers. (1, 1956 p. 36)
  • 1956: In January and February, Chamberlain and Nicholson contracted with the Air Force through the Western Electric Company for an expedition to research and pinpoint the geodetic positions of radar installation sites in northern Canada. (1, 1956 p. 36)
  • 1963: The Quebec Solar Eclipse Expedition was sent by the Museum to observe the total solar eclipse. Kenneth Franklin acted as leader of the expedition and Nicholson again acted as expedition scientist. (1, 1964 p. 28)
  • 1964: With the naming of Chamberlain as one of the new Assistant Directors of the Museum, Thomas Nicholson is promoted to the position of Chairman and Astronomer of the Department. (1, 1964 p. 15)
  • 1967 - 1968: After Chamberlain's retirement, Nicholson is appointed Assistant Dorector of the Museum, and Franklyn Branley steps into the role of Chairman and Astronomer. (1, 1968 p. 14-15)
  • 1969: A new Zeiss VI projector was installed in the Hayden Planetarium. The Planetarium reopened to the public in October of 1969 after a month closure for installation of the projector and refurbishment to the Star Theater. (1, 1970, p. 18-20). In July the Planetarium hosted a splashdown party for the broadcast of the Apollo 11 moon landing team. (1, 1970, p. 20)
  • 1971: The Guggenheim Space Theater was completed and took the place of the former Copernican Hall of the Sun. (1, 1972 p. 18) Funding is received through the Richard S. Perkin Foundation and the Charles Hayden Foundation to contruct the Perkin Wing, which will house a library, shop, and the Perkin Hall of the Sun. (1, 1972, p. 19)
  • 1972: Branley retired to Astronomer Emeritus, and Kenneth Franklin was appointed Chairman (1, 1973 p. 17)
  • 1974: Mark Chartrand assumes the role of Chairman (1, 1974 p. 15) The Planetarium began offering nighttime Laserium programs of light display with music (1, 1975 p. 14)
  • 1975: The library and shop of the Perkin Wing open to the public. (1, 1975 p. 14)
  • 1976: The Hall of the Sun opened as part of the new Perkins Wing. (1, 1977 p. 16)
  • 1980: Chartrand leaves the Museum in October of 1980 and Allan Seltzer is appointed Acting Manager of the Department (1, 1981 p. 13)
  • 1981: William Gutsch is appointed Chairman of the Planetarium. (1, 1982 p. 13) Allen Seltzer travels to Siberia to photograph the solar eclipse (1, 1982 p. 13)
  • 1982: A new computer automated system is installed in the Planetarium which will allow for more complex and dynamic sky shows. (1, 1983 p. 12)
  • 1991: An expedition is sent to Hawaii comprised of scientists and artists to observe eclipses (1, 1991 p. 11; 1992 p. 16)
  • 1993: Planetarium Visiting Committee led by J. Richard Gott III reviews and compiles recommendations for the future of the Hayden Planetarium. (1, 1993 p. 18)
  • 1994: Funding is acquired from the Perkin Fund and the City of New York to obtain and develop advanced computer graphics equipment to enhance the art and animation displays at the Hayden Planetarium. Utilization of the Internet to receive and share imagery also commences. (1, 1994 p. 26)
  • 1995: In January the Museum announced their plans for the Planetarium and North Side Project, which would eventually become the Rose Center. These plans were reviewed and approved favorably of by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee in November. (1, 1996 p. 50) William Gutsch resigned from his departmental chair. Neil deGrasse Tyson served as acting chair until being named the inaugural Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium. (1, 1996 p. 23) The Mineral Sciences department is renamed the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences with Edmond Mathez as Department Chairman and Curator. (1, 1996 p. 24)
  • 1998: With the University of Washington, the Earth and Planetary Science staff members participated in the "black smoker" expeditions at the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the coast of Washington and British Columbia. (1, 1998 p. 30). Samples from these expeditions would be included in the Gottesman Hall when it opened in 1999. (1, 1999 p. 17)
  • 1999: Department of Astrophysics established in July of 1999 in preparation and anticipation for the opening of the Rose Center. Michael Shara was appointed Curator-in-Charge of Astrophysics and Mordecai-Mark Mac Low joined the department staff. (1, 1999 p. 6; 2000 p. 17)
  • 1999: Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth opens in June, marking the completion of the first stage of the Rose Center (1, 1999 p. 6)
  • 2000: Establishment of the Division of Physical Sciences, comprised of the Department of Astrophysics and the Department of Earth and Planetary Science. James Webster was named the Divisional Chair. The Department of Astrophysics would retain a strong relationship with the Department of Exhibition (1, 2000 p. 17) On February 19, the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Hall of the Universe, the Scales of the Universe, the Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway, and the redesigned Hayden Planetarium open to the public, which incorporated the new Space Theater. Along with the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, these comprise the new Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space. (1, 2000 p. 13-14)


New YorkExternal link
dates: 1935-present

The Hayden Planetarium is located in the American Museum of Natural History, which is in New York, N.Y.

Related Corporate, Personal, and Family Names

Abbott, Brian
associated dates: 2000--

Abbott was Project Astronomer from 2000 to 2003. (2, 2001-2004) He is currently Assistant Director of the Hayden Planetarium. (15)
Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites
The Ross Hall of Meteorites contains objects relative to the Division of Physical Science and opened in 1981.
Atwater, Gordon A.
associated dates: 1945-1947

Atwood was Chairman and Curator of the department from 1945 until approximately 1947. (2, 1946-1948)
Ball, John Jr.
Ball acted as Assistant Curator in 1942. (2, 1943)
Barry, Catherine E.
associated dates: 1947-1972

Barry was appointed Assistant Curator in 1947, which she held until 1951, (2, 1948-1952) when the title was changed to Associate Astronomer. She kept that title until 1955, (2, 1953-1956) when she took on the role of Staff Lecturer and worked in the Education Department (2, 1957-1973.)
Barton, Jr., William H., 1893-1944
associated dates: 1935-1944

Barton acted as Associate Curator from 1935 to 1936 (2, 1936-1937) and Executive Curator from 1937 to 1941. (2, 1938-1942) Between 1942 and 1944 he worked as Chairman and Curator of the department. (2, 1943-1945) He took part in the Grace Peruvian Eclipse Expedition (1, 1938 p. 57) and was instrumental in planning and executing the military celestial naviagtion training programs that contributed to the war effort. (1, 1945 p. 33-34)
Bennett, Dorothy A. (Agnes)
associated dates: 1935-1940

Bennett was an Assistant Curator in the department between 1935 and 1939. (2, 1936-1940)
Black Wings (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1983 June-1983 June 30
Branley, Franklyn Mandsfield (1915-2002)
Branley was appointed Associate Astronomer in 1956 and held this position until 1962. (2, 1957-1963) In 1963 his title was Astronomer, and from 1964 to 1967 he also acted as Assistant Chairman. (2, 1965-1968) Between 1968 and 1972 Branley was deparment Chairman and Astronomer, (2, 1969-1973) and in 1973 he retired to Astronomer Emeritus. (2, 1973.) He was a proponent of science education and the author of over 140 science books for children. (5)
Butler, Howard Russell
Artist who contributed paintings for the Hayden Planetarium, including a triptych depicting eclipses. (1, 1936 p. 8) His paintings had previously been a highlight of the Museum's first astronomy 'room' in 1924 (1, 1925 32-33.)
Ceylon Expedition
Expedition to Ceylon to make doumentary film footage of an eclipse. Expedition personnel included Chamberlain as leader, Nicholson as scientist, and R. E. Logan and Lee Bolton as photographers. (1, 1956 p. 36)
Chamberlain, Joseph Miles (1923-)
Chamberlain acted as Assistant Astronomer from 1952 to 1953. (2, 1953-1954) From 1953 to 1955 he held the position of General Manager and Chief Astronomer. (2, 1954-1956) In 1956 he became Chairman and Astronomer. (2, 1957-1964) In 1960 he became Assistant Director of the AMNH (3) Chamberlain was leader of the 1955 Ceylon Expedition (1, 1957 p. 36)
Chartrand, Mark R. III (1943-)
associated dates: 1970-1980

Chartrand was Assistant Astronomer from 1970 to 1973, (2, 1971-1974) when he also assumed the roled of Chairman for 1974. (1, 1975 p. 15) In 1975 he became Associate Astronomer while maintaining the position of Chairman. (2, 1976-1981) He held this until October of 1980 when he left AMNH to become Executive Director of the National Space Institute (1, 1982 p. 13)
Coastal Surveys (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1948 April-1948 May 15

Coles was on the curatorial staff of the department from 1941 to 1953. He began as Assistant Curator in 1941 (2, 1942-1945) and became Associate Curator in 1945. (2, 1946-1948) From 1950 to 1953 he acted as department chairman. (2, 1951-1954)
Coles, Charles
Head of the Photographic Department at the Museum, Coles was official photographer for the American Museum of Natural History Grace Peruvian Eclipse Expedition in 1937. (20, p. 632; 1, 1938 p. 57)
Cosmic Art (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1979 March-1979 March 31
Davidson, Dennis (1955-)
associated dates: 1988-1999

Davidson was an artist specializing in space art. He came to the Museum when Helmut Wimmer retired in 1987. (7) He acted as Astronomical Artist for the department from 1988 to 1998, when his title changed to Manager of Scientific Visualization, reflecting his direction of the new computer graphics program and the Digital Galaxy project. He remained in that position until 1999.
Davis, Leonard Moore (1864-1938)
Artist who contributed paintings of the Northern Lights for the Hayden Planetarium. (1, 1936 p. 8)
Department of Astronomy
associated dates: 1924-1999

The Hayden Planetarium was originally created as a physical space for the AMNH Department of Astronomy. The staff of the deaprtment and the Planetarium were identical.
Department of Astrophysics
associated dates: 1999--

The AMNH Department of Astrophysics is closely related to the Hayden Planetarium, and grew out of the former Department of Astronomy.
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
associated dates: 1995--

The Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences is sister to the Department of Astrophysics within the Division of Physical Sciences. The two Departments are closely connected due to the shared scope and have alternatingly combined and separate since the 1920s, often sharing physical exhibit space.
Digital Universe
associated dates: 2000--

The Digital Universe, also known as the Digital Galaxy Project, is a data visualization effort that recreates the Milky Way digitally is is critical to many of the work executed at the Hayden Planetarium. (1, 2001 p. 18)
Division of Physical Sciences
associated dates: 2000--

Since 1999, the Department of Astrophysics has been part of the overall Division of Physical Sciences at the American Museum of Natural History. Its sister department is the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
Draper, Arthur L.
associated dates: 1935-1940

Draper was an Assistant Curator from 1935 to 1940. (2, 1936-1941) She took part in the Grace-Peruvian Eclipse Expedition. (1, 1938 p. 57)
Emmart, Carter
associated dates: 1998--

Emmart is currently Director of Astrovisualization for the Rose Center for Earth and Space. He was first hired as Animator Artist in 1998, and was one of the original team members on the Digital Galaxy Project. (8)
Endangered! Exploring a World at Risk (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1997 March 3-1997 September 1
Fisher, George Clyde, 1878-1949
associated dates: 1924-1941

Fisher had joined the Museum staff as an assistant curator in the Department of Public Education in June of 1913 (1, 1914 p. 44) and was later appointed 'in charge' of the Astronomy department at its inception in 1924. (2, 1925) He assumed the position of Curator of the department of Astronomy and the Hayden Planetarium when it opened in 1935 until 1936. (2, 1936-1937) From 1937 to 1941 Fisher's title was Curator-in-Chief, (2, 1938-1942) and in 1941 he retired to Honorary Curator. (1, 1942 p. 39) He was instrumental in organizing the Planetarium and the Astronomy department (1, 1925 p. 32-34; 1, 1935 p. 15) and was the leader of the 1937 Grace Peruvian Eclipse Expedition.
Forrester, Frank H.
associated dates: 1953-1955

Forrester was the department's Deputy Manager from 1953 to 1955. (2, 1954-1956)
Franklin, Kenneth L. (1923-2007)
Franklin joined the department as Associate Astronomer in 1956 and held this position until 1962. (2, 1957-1963) From 1963 to 1967 he was Astronomer, (2, 1964-1968) and from 1968 to 1972 he acted as both Astronomer and Assistant Chairman of the Department. (2, 1969-1973) In 1973 he acted as Chairman and Astronomer, (1, 1973-1974 p. 17) and from 1974 to 1984 he was Astronomer. (2, 1975-1985) In 1985 he retired to Astronomer Emeritus. (2, 1986) A strong advocate for the education of astronomy, he was one of the first scientists to recognize radio waves from Jupiter. (6)
Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space
associated dates: 2000--

The Frederick Phineas and Sandra Priest Rose Center for Earth and Space opened in February of 2000 and took the place of the previous Hayden Planetarium and Perkins Wing. It is comprised of the Hayden Planetarium, the Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway, the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Hall of the Universe and the David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, which opened in 1999. It is the space for the Division of Physical Sciences, which is made of the Departments of Astrophysics and Earth and Planetary Sciences.
Gutsch, William A. Jr.
associated dates: 1982-1994

Gutsch was aappointed Chairman and Associate Astronomer in April, 1982 (1, 1983 p. 13) and held the position until his retirement in 1995 (1, 1996 p. 23).
Hayden Planetarium- Grace Peruvian Eclipse Expedition
Expedition to Peru to document the total solar eclipse. Led by Clyde Fisher, the expedition had many personnel and executed radio broadcasts. It resulted in a large amount of visual material for the AMNH Astronomy department and the recently opened Hayden Planetarium. Scientifically the expedition was also able to document the globular corona phenomenon. This included paintings, as well as both still and motion photography and film. The expedition was organized into five groups to capture the eclipse at various stages and vantage points. (20, p. 631-640)
Hayden Planetarium. Astronomia (Gallery).
associated dates: 1964-1997

Part of Hayden Planetarium public exhibition space
Hayden Planetarium. Billy Rose Hall of the Sun.
associated dates: 1976-1997

Part of Hayden Planetarium public exhibition space
Hayden Planetarium. Guggenheim Space Theater.
associated dates: 1971-1997

Part of Hayden Planetarium public exhibition space
Hayden Planetarium. Hall of the Sun.
associated dates: 1935-1971

Part of Hayden Planetarium public exhibition space
Hayden Planetarium. Main Lobby.
associated dates: 1935-1997

Part of Hayden Planetarium public exhibition space
Hayden Planetarium. Meteorites and Tektites (Gallery).
associated dates: 1990-1997

Part of Hayden Planetarium public exhibition space
Hayden Planetarium. Outer Space Blacklight Gallery.
associated dates: 1953-1997

Part of Hayden Planetarium public exhibition space
Hayden Planetarium. Perkin Wing.
associated dates: 1973-1997

Part of Hayden Planetarium public exhibition space
Hayden Planetarium. Sky Theater.
associated dates: 1935-1997

Part of Hayden Planetarium public exhibition space
Hayden, Charles, 1871-1937
associated dates: 1933-1937

Donor and namesake of the Hayden Planetarium.
Hess, Fred C.
associated dates: 1964-1965

Hess was an Assistant Astronomer in the Department from 1964-65. (2, 1965-1966
Kitt, Sandra, E.
Kitt was Planetarium Librarian for the Richard S. Perkins Astronomy Collection (16)
Knight, Charles Robert (1874-1953)
Knight was an extremely well known artist with a strong relationship to the Museum. He executed a painting of the astronomial mythology of North American Indians for the Planetarium when it opened. (1, 1936 p. 7)
Liu, Charles
associated dates: 1999-2000

Liu was a departmental Astrophysicist from 1999 to 2000. (2, 2000-2001)
Lockwood, Marian, 1899-
associated dates: 1935-1944

Lockwood was an Assistant curator in the department from 1935 to 1942, (2, 1936-1943) when her position changed to Associate Curator in 1943. (2, 1944) In 1944 after the death of Barton, Lockwood also fulfilled the role of Acting Chairman of the department. (2, 1945)
Low, Mordecai-Mark Mac
associated dates: 1999--

Mac Low was appointed Assistant Curator to the department of Astronomy and then Astrophysics when it was first established in 1999. He became Associate Curator in 2002 and in 2007 was promoted to Curator, a position he currently holds. From 2005-2012 he aced as Curator in Charge of the department and from 2007 until 2012 he acted as Division Chair for Physical Sciences. (12) Contributed dogota and electronic collections to the department when it was established in 1999 (1, 2000 p. 18).
Nicholson, Thomas D. (1922-1991)
associated dates: 1953-1991

Nicholson was hired as Associate Astronomer in 1953, (1, 1954 p. 63) a position he held until 1957, when he became Astronomer. (2, 1958-1961) From 1961 to 1963 he acted as Assistant Chairman and Astronomer, (2, 1962-1964) and from 1964 to 1967 he held the position of Chairman and Astronomer. (2, 1965-1968) He moved on to become Director of AMNH from 1969 to 1989 (4) Nicholson was expedition scientist on the 1955 expedition to Ceylon.
Paintings of Space (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1983 November-1983 December 31
Pickering, James S. (James Sayre) (-1969)
associated dates: 1956-1969

Pickering was an Assistant Astronomer and Supervisor of Guest Relations from 1956 to 1964, (2, 1957-1965) when he became Astronomer Emeritus from 1965 until his death. (2, 1966-1969)
Quebec Solar Eclipse Expedition
Expedition to Quebec to observe the total solar eclipse. Franklin acted as expedition leader and Nicholson accompanied as scientist. (1, 1964 p. 28)
Rose Center for Earth and Space.
Replaced original Hayden Planetarium building
Seltzer, Allen
Seltzer was Acting Manager of the department in 1981. (2, 1982) He accompanied a trip to Siberia to photograph the eclipse. (1, 1983 p. 13)
Shara, Michael
associated dates: 1995--

When the Department of Astrophysics was established in 1999, Shara was appointed Curator in Charge and Curator, (1, 2000 p. 18-19; 2, 2000-2004) a position he held until about 2005, when he went to Curator position, where he remains. Contributed digital and electronic collections to the department when it was established in 1999. (1, 2000 p. 18)
Star Trek Exhibition: A Retrospective of the 60s (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1993 July 1-1994 March 6
Stephens, D. Owen (Daniel Owen), 1893-1937
Stephens was a scientist and artist who, sponsored by the Junior Astronomy Club, accompanied the 1937 Hayden Planetarium-Grace Peruvian Eclipse Expedition, contributing six canvases: (1, 1938 p. 35) "The Diamond Ring," "Totality," "Third Contact," "Sunset Eclipse," "From Sagittarius to Crux," and "The Zodiacal Light." These as well as other paintings loaned by Stephens' widow were exhibited at the Plantarium in 1937. (17) He died on the expedition's return journey from Peru. (18, p. 635)
Summers, Francis Joseph
associated dates: 1998-2000

Summers was an Astrophysicist for the department from 1998 to 2000. He assisted with the content planning for Rose Center astronomy exibitions, and acted as project scientist on the Digital Galaxy project. (1, 1999 p. 30)
Tyson, Neil De Grasse
associated dates: 1994-

Tyson joined AMNH as Assistant Astronomer in 1994 (2, 1995) and was appointed the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium in 1995. (1, 1996 p. 23) Additionally he held the position of Associate Astronomer from 1995 to 2000 (2, 1996-2001) when, due to the creation of the department of Astrophysics, his title became Associate Astrophysist. He was responsible for all astronomical content in the development of the Rose Center for Earth and Space. (1, 1999 p. 30)
Visions of Space (Exhibition)
associated dates: 1983 July 15-1983 August 31
Webster, James
associated dates: 1995--

Webster was Chair and Curator of the parent Division of Physical Sciences from 1999 to 2007. (13) He joined the AMNH staff as Assistant Curator in the Department of Mineral Sciences in 1990. (14)
Wimmer, Helmut K. (1925-2006)
associated dates: 1954-1987

Wimmer was a German painter, sculptor and illustrator who acted as Art Supervisor for the Hayden Planetarium from 1954 to 1987. He developed airbrush techniques for use in the Sky Shows and a new method for the creation of planetarium panoramas using a mixture of painting and sculpture techniques (9). He also took the roles of sculptor of the Centennial Medallion and designer of the exhibit "Six Men who Changed the Universe" during his tenure at the Museum (10). A retrospective of his work was exhibited at AMNH in 1970 (11).

Related Resources

Hayden Planetarium Special Collections
Creator: American Museum of Natural History. Repository: AMNH Special Collections, DR 056 through DR 062, DR 192 through DR 194, DR-H 1 through DR-H 46
The Peruvian Eclipse Expedition [videorecording.]
Creator: William H. Barton, Jr., and Charles H. Coles, photographers Extent: 1 videocassette (13 min.) : si., col. ; 3/4 in. Repository: AMNH Special Collections, Film Collection no. 253 Notes: U-matic; Original format: 16 mm. print
D. Owen Stephens collection, 1937 May 14-1937 June 8.
Creator: Stephens, D. Owen (Daniel Owen), 1893-1937. Extent: 1 box (1 linear foot) Repository: AMNH Special Collections, Mss .S747 1937
Historic Halls of the American Museum of Natural History
Curated digital images of permanent halls in the American Museum of Natural History Library, Digital Special Collections.

Written by: Kendra Meyer
Last modified: 2021 June 23


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