GLPA History

 

 
GLPA historical information is organized here by decade or year, depending on the volume of information. Not only can you read about GLPA’s founding and see a list of its charter members, but also read an overview of every annual conference the organization has held. Soon we will be adding group photos and more conference information to the respective years. Other historical documents and information will be added in the future. This section is a work in progress that should be of interest to veterans as well as more recent members of GLPA. Follow the links at the bottom, or in the About GLPA menu to explore the history of GLPA.
 
GLPA Historian: Garry Beckstrom (garrybeckstrom@comcast.net)
 
 
GLPA History: Table of Contents
 
The Founding of GLPA -- an article that describes how GLPA was founded.
 
List of GLPA Charter Members -- a list of the original 62 members who founded the organization.
 
Conference Sites -- an overview of all GLPA conference sites from 1964 to date.
 
Conference Descriptions -- detailed descriptions of all conferences, sorted by decade.
 
NEW  Conference Group Photos -- all existing group photos, photo outlines, and keys, sorted by year back to 2010, then by decade for earlier conferences.
 
NEW  Conference Photos -- downloadable Zip files that contain the full set of official conference photographs taken at recent GLPA conferences (2012 to date), in their original resolution.
 
GLPA Obituaries -- detailed descriptions of all conferences, sorted by decade.

 

 

Please use the navigation links below to learn more about GLPA's history.

 

Photo Gallery: GLPA Moments

This gallery is a sampling of some of the GLPA photos in the history archives.

To view this gallery, use the forward and backward arrows. You may also select individual photos from the thumbnails below. 

The Founding of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association

The Founding of GLPA

by David DeBruyn

 

The Great Lakes Planetarium Association is the oldest of the regional groups in the United States.

It also predates the Planetarium Association of Canada.

I like to believe that the Great Lakes Planetarium Association inspired the others into existence and is also a foundation upon which CAPE, I.P.S., and other worldwide planetarium groups are built.

The inspiration belongs primarily to one man, Dr. Von Del Chamberlain. After making acquaintance with Dennis Sunal and myself upon a visit to the University of Michigan, he invited us up to Flint to discuss the possibility of collaborating with him in the formation of a regional planetarium group. That meeting took place in the fall of 1963.

A year later the first gathering occurred. Dennis had graduated and moved on to the John Glenn Planetarium in Wayne, I had departed for Grand Rapids, and Von Del had become staff astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University.

The meeting was in Lansing on November 21, 1964, which just happened to correspond with one of the earliest major snowstorms in Michigan history. Near blizzard conditions existed the night before. Nevertheless, about 40 people showed up, some from as far away as southern Ohio. Notable were names I have heard of but never seen: Ralph Ewers (the wizard of Cincinnati), and Mr. Richard Emmons of Canton, Ohio, who brought along his enthusiastic daughter Jeanne, and son Tom. I had read about Mr. Emmons' homemade planetarium in Sky and Telescope, and this inspired me to build one myself.

Dr. James Stoekley, a retired astronomy popularizer, and former director of the planetariums of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, was keynote speaker for the one day event. It was decided that there should be an attempt to formalize an organization, and a steering committee was formed to that end. Chamberlain, DeBruyn, and Sunal were among the members of that panel. Discussion indicated that there should be a formal organizational meeting the following year, hopefully a little earlier in the fall to avoid the perils of foul weather.

In March of 1965, DeBruyn, Chamberlain and Sunal got together and journeyed to Canton, Ohio for the meeting of the steering committee- in an ice storm-but the sun came out the next day and it warmed up-a first taste of spring, and a proposal accepted to have the organizational meeting in Grand Rapids with DeBruyn as convention chairman.

Charter Members of GLPA

Charter Members of GLPA
Attended meetings in 1964 and/or 1965
*Three founding "fathers"
James Abraham Paul Kirby
David Bertsch David Krause
Giward Bewgard Charles Legg, Jr.
Zenon D. Billeadeaux (Deceased) James Marron
Jeanne (Emmons) Bishop Jon Marshall
John Bowen John McMillan
*Von Del Chamberlain Frank C. Memmer
Mark Chartrand Roy H. Miller
Fred Cousin, Jr. Maurice Moore
John Curtin Thomas H. Osgood (Deceased)
Harris D. Dean Lawrence Y. Park
*David L. DeBruyn Jim Pike
Ray Donselman Donald Rosenfield
Attia Eigammal Jim Scheu
Robert C. Elliott William Schultz (Deceased)
Richard H. Emmons John Snyder
Thomas Emmons John Soroka
Ralph O. Ewers Jack Spoehr
Jeannet Fehner Duane Stanley
George W. Girard Dan Snow
Evelyn Grebel Cynthia Sunal
Allan D. Griesemer *Dennis Sunal
D. R. Gustafson Robert A. Thompson
Charles Hallock Sam Thorndike
Donald Hays (Deceased) Heather Thorpe
Victor H. Hogg (Deceased) Donald Tuttle
Maxine Haarstick (Deceased) Robert C. Victor
Richard M. Howard Robert E. Weber
Ruth M. Howard (Deceased) Howard Winters
Stanley Hruska Alton Yarian
Frank C. Jettner Richard D. Yarger

 

History: GLPA Conference Sites

GLPA Conferences in the 1960s

CONFERENCE NO. YEAR LOCATION
0 1964 East Lansing, Michigan
1 1965 Grand Rapids, Michigan
2 1966 Cincinnati, Ohio
3 1967 Cleveland, Ohio
4 1968 Rochester, New York (with MAPS)
5 1969 Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

GLPA Conferences in the 1970s

CONFERENCE NO. YEAR LOCATION
6 1970 East Lansing, Michigan (with CAPE)
7 1971 Mt. Clemens/Oak Park/Roseville, Michigan
8 1972 Youngstown, Ohio
9 1973 Grand Rapids, Michigan
10 1974 Terre Haute, Indiana
11 1975 Cleveland, Ohio
12 1976 Chicago, Illinois
13 1977 Toledo, Ohio
14 1978 Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
15 1979 Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

GLPA Conferences in the 1980s

CONFERENCE NO. YEAR LOCATION
16 1980 East Lansing, Michigan
17 1981 Columbus, Ohio
18 1982 Peoria/Normal, Illinois
19 1983 Rochester, New York (with MAPS)
20 1984 Milwaukee/Wauwatosa/Waukesha, Wisconsin
21 1985 River Grove, Illinois
22 1986 Cleveland, Ohio
23 1987 Merrillville, Indiana
24 1988 Bowling Green, Ohio
25 1989 Champaign, Illinois

 

GLPA Conferences in the 1990s

CONFERENCE NO. YEAR LOCATION
26 1990 Indianapolis, Indiana
27 1991 Youngstown, Ohio
28 1992 St. Louis, Missouri (with GPPA)
29 1993 Dayton, Ohio
30 1994 Wheeling, West Virginia
31 1995 Grand Rapids, Michigan
32 1996 Minneapolis, Minnesota
33 1997 Cleveland, Ohio
34 1998 Martinsville, Indiana
35 1999 Kalamazoo, Michigan

 

GLPA Conferences in the 2000s

CONFERENCE NO. YEAR LOCATION
36 2000 Chicago, Illinois
37 2001 Richmond, Kentucky (with SEPA)
38 2002 Menasha, Wisconsin
39 2003 Cleveland, Ohio
40 2004 Detroit, Michigan
41 2005 Grand Rapids, Michigan
42 2006 Merrillville, Indiana
43 2007 Wheeling, West Virginia (with MAPS and SEPA)
44 2008 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
45 2009 Bay City, Michigan

 

GLPA Conferences in the 2010s

CONFERENCE NO. YEAR LOCATION
46 2010 Notre Dame, Indiana
47 2011 Champaign, Illinois
48 2012 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
49 2013 Peoria, Illinois
50 2014 Muncie, Indiana
51 2015 Grand Rapids, Michigan
52 2016 Flint, Michigan
53 2017 St. Louis, Missouri
54 2018  
55 2019  

 

Conference Descriptions: 1964-1969

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
0
East Lansing, Michigan
1964
None
None
Keynote Speaker: Dr. James Stoekley
Attendance: 31
 
NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
1
Grand Rapids, Michigan
1965
Von Del Chamberlain
Paul W. Kirby
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Ralph Baldwin
Attendance: 43
October 8 - 9, 1965 1965 Group Photo
That event took place on October 8 and 9, with headquarters at the Pantlind Hotel and what was then known as the “Planetarium of the Grand Rapids Public Museum.” Maxine Haarstick was there, and she let her hair down—literally. There were about 75 participants for the two-day meeting, with the keynote banquet address delivered by Dr. Ralph Baldwin, an authority on the moon. A proposed constitution proposed by the steering committee was debated and the organization was officially born. I’ll never forget Alton Yarian’s demonstration of wide angle projection techniques using a fisheye lens projected against the slightly domed surface of the Pantlind’s ballroom ceiling. Von Del Chamberlain is elected as GLPA’s first president.
 
NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
2
Cincinnati, Ohio
1966
Von Del Chamberlain
Paul W. Kirby
Keynote Speaker: None
Attendance: 58
October, 1966 1966 Group Photo
On to Cincinnati in 1966 with the inimitable Ralph Ewers as host. This was my first introduction to the miracle of Ortho film, and in the hands of the "Wizard," it was quite a lesson. Von Del tells us about the first graduate program in planetarium education to be offered in the country, and a representative of NASA informs us that there are now 485 U.S. planetariums, 180 in schools and 119 in museums. We also hear of Elgin’s research project involving the planetarium and curriculum, with Don Tuttle.
 
NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
3
Cleveland, Ohio
1967
Von Del Chamberlain
Paul W. Kirby
Spitz Lecturer: Grace Spitz
Attendance: 80
October 19 - 21, 1967 1967 Group Photo
The first Cleveland convention, October 19, 20, and 21. This is Paul Kirby’s big gig, centered at the novel facilities of the Cleveland Supplementary Education Center. The executive committee has decided to establish a special annual lectureship in honor of Armand Spitz. Though Spitz himself is confined to his home as a result of a stroke, Mrs. Grace Spitz is present to deliver the initial address. The former Jeanne Emmons, now Mrs. Allan Bishop, presents a paper on the subject of “Correlation of Planetarium Programs with Subjects in the High School Curriculum.” Could this be the sign of things to come from this talented and dedicated young lady? Indeed it was.
 
NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
4
Rochester, New York
(with MAPS)
1968
Ralph Ewers
Maxine Haarstick
Spitz Lecturer: Harry Crull
Attendance: 198
October, 1968 No known 1968 Group Photo
Ralph Ewers becomes the second GLPA president. This is also a very significant year, marking the first joint meeting between GLPA and MAPS. In the meantime, two more regional groups have come upon the scene, one in the southwest and the other on the west coast. The meeting is held at the brand new Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, New York, and what a place it is. Today, as then, Strasenburgh is considered one of the best, operated by a highly talented and creative staff. This event could easily be subtitled the “laughing convention.” This was my first introduction to Bart Bok, with the dry wit of Patrick Moore and eccentric humor of Isaac Asimov thrown in. But something that stands out in my memory as perhaps one of the most side-splitting experiences in my life was the spoof on the foibles of planetarium operation served up by Ian McClennan and his staff, complete with Walter Bauersfeld’s severed head tumbling end over end across the dome. The 2nd annual Armand Spitz lecture is delivered by Dr. Harry Crull, a longtime veteran of the planetarium profession.
 
NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
5
Minneapolis, Minnesota
1969
Ralph Ewers
Maxine Haarstick
Spitz Lecturer: Mortimer Hait
Attendance: 60?
October, 1969 1969 Group Photo
October 9 and 10 in Minneapolis — This is Maxine Haarstick’s first big bash, beginning with the planetarium show “Some Enchanted Evening,” bearing the inimitable Haarstick trademark. LeRon Codia introduces blackground and 3PD, terms now in everyday usage in the profession. We are brought up to date on the revelations of the Mariner 6 and 7 flybys of Mars. Dr. Mortimer Hait, lunar geologist from NASA, delivers the 3rd annual Armand Spitz lecture on the subject “The Moon in the Space Age.”

 

Conference Descriptions: 1970-1979

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
6
East Lansing, Michigan
(with CAPE)
1970
Bob Elliott
Maxine Haarstick
Spitz Lecturer: George Abell
Attendance: 314
October, 1970 1970 Group Photo
More than 300 American and Canadian planetarium educators assemble in East Lansing, Michigan for the first North American gathering (CAPE) of planetarians (a new word has been born). Once again, Von Del Chamberlain is the principal guiding light in bringing the growing number of planetarium professionals together to exchange ideas and hear leading speakers. And what a parade of speakers: Harold Urey; Alan Bean, the fourth man on the moon; and Henry King. The 4th Spitz lecture is delivered by famous astronomer George Abell, who started on his brilliant career as a guide and later a lecturer at the Griffith Planetarium in Los Angeles. The evening includes a short tape recording from Armand Spitz. There is a concerted effort at this meeting to initiate a national journal and the International Society of Planetarium Educators is born. A committee is established to develop a constitution. Paul Engle of Texas becomes the organization’s first president. Bob Elliott of Eau Claire, Wisconsin takes over as 3rd president of GLPA.
 
NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
7
Mount Clemens/Oak Park/Roseville, Michigan
1971
Bob Elliott
David Batch
Spitz Lecturer: J. Allen Hynek
Attendance: 50?
October, 1971 1971 Group Photo
The meeting this year takes place in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. This is the first in the association’s existence to be hosted entirely by several smaller school planetariums, principally the one operated by Jim Pike. It is at this meeting that I meet Ken Perkins for the first time and my life will never be the same again. We are introduced to Project Viking and its exciting mission proposed for 1976. We also hear an unforgettable school program in which Jim Pike has a group of second graders learning unbelievable things. (Who says that they can’t do it?) One of the most appropriate of Armand Spitz lecturers is Dr. J. Allen Hynek, who worked closely with Spitz during the early days of “Project Moonwatch” in the 1950s. It is an evening of reminiscing and looking to the future.
 
NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
8
Youngstown, Ohio
1972
Don Tuttle
David Batch
Spitz Lecturer: Margaret Noble
Attendance: 75
October, 1972 No known 1972 Group Photo
The Youngstown, Ohio meeting is hosted by Warren Young and Ted Pedas. Margaret Noble is the 6th Spitz lecturer. Her subject: “Leaning a Little Closer to the Stars.” A highlight of this October meeting is a visit to the impressive Mahoning Valley Observatory, which appears to be the brainchild of Bob Andress. Don Tuttle becomes the 4th GLPA president.
 
NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
9
Grand Rapids, Michigan
1973
Don Tuttle
David Batch
Spitz Lecturer: George Pitluga
Attendance: 115
October, 1973 1973 Group Photo
It is time for GLPA to return to its birthplace. The Grand Rapids convention features a field trip to the recently completed James C. Veen Observatory, just a hole in the ground at the time of the 1965 meeting. The observatory is a labor of love on the part of the local astronomical association and planetarium. This meeting features our first introduction to “Smell Effects in the Planetarium” and I don’t have to tell you who delivered that paper. [Ed: Does anyone know who this is?] Workshop sessions are initiated as pre-conference options. George Pitluga is the 7th Spitz lecturer, his booming voice somehow managing to overcome the rock concert that has been scheduled in the adjoining room. Dr. Freeman Miller, in his closing address on comets, proves to be all too prophetical when he warns us not to get involved in too much hype about the “Great Comet of 1973,” which was on its way at that time. “It could fizzle,” he said.
 
NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
10
Terre Haute, Indiana
1974
John Saroka
David Batch
Spitz Lecturer: Von Del Chamberlain
Attendance: 79?
October, 1974 1974 Group Photo
This was the CRAPpiest of all conventions, with even a song and graphic pictures portraying the infamous “Cleveland Regional Association of Planetariums.” This was also the meeting where delegates were transported to and from the airport via funeral coach supplied by one of Lloyd Bodie’s students. This meeting is also notable as the second to be centered at a primarily school planetarium. It is fitting that our founding father, the person who has played perhaps the leading role in bringing planetariums from throughout the country—and now from throughout the world—together, is the 8th Spitz lecturer. I am speaking of course of Von Del Chamberlain. His presentation, in his usual down to earth and the sincere style, inspires us all. John Soroka takes over as the 5th GLPA president.
 
NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
11
Cleveland, Ohio
1975
John Saroka
David Batch
Spitz Lecturer: Mark Chartrand
Attendance: 113?
October, 1975 1975 Group Photo
It’s back to Cleveland for a second time, with Jeanne Bishop and an array of sidekicks, including the one and only Doris, as the highly innovative hosts. “Projectra” is born, hopefully for a short life, at the annual banquet. I observe the same cobra that was peering over my shoulder in 1967 is at it again during the annual banquet held in the Museum’s Nature Hall. Having discovered my fondness for snakes the next day at the Junior Nature and Science Center, my colleagues believe that I should be the recipient of a “special award” at the closing meeting, for which I will be eternally grateful. At the banquet, Dr. Mark Chartrand, who went from a part-time assistant at Cleveland’s little Ralph Mueller Planetarium to much bigger things, is the 9th Spitz lecturer. Dan Snow and Alton Yarian are presented with special recognition for their long years of service to planetariums in the Cleveland area. This is our 10th anniversary year.
 
NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
12
Chicago, Illinois
1976
Dave DeBruyn
David Batch
Spitz Lecturer: Joe Chamberlain
Attendance: 99?
October, 1976 1976 Group Photo
This is the year of the Chicago convention, perhaps one of the most significant in the association’s history. It was a truly fantastic affair, due largely to hard work by Phyllis Pitluga, Lee Simon, and the rest of the Adler staff. Festivities began with a luncheon on the “Crater of the Moon,” followed by Dr. David Schramm on “Will the Universe Expand Forever?” Then it was wine and cheese in the planetarium lobby and on to the “Top of the John” for the evening banquet. This featured a breathtaking view of Chicago’s night skyline from the 95 stories above the city. A truly inspiring and fitting Spitz lecture was delivered by Adler director and pioneering planetarium man, Dr. Joseph Chamberlain. After hours, there was the Playboy Towers and other enchanting bits of Chicago’s famed night life. This event was particularly significant for me as it was my first as the 6th GLPA president.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
13
Toledo, Ohio
1977
Dave DeBruyn
David Batch
Spitz Lecturer: Phillip Stern
Attendance: 87?
October, 1977 1977 Group Photo
The Toledo convention was under the sponsorship of Bill Rush of the Ritter Observatory and Planetarium, and Bob Gardner of Rogers High School. Chicago would be a hard act to follow, but these guys came up with a fine affair. The one and only Bart Bok is back, this time for a pair of lectures, one on “The Case Against Astrology,” and the other on “Star Birth.” Another planetarium pioneer, Phillip Stern, is Spitz lecturer. Miss Ruth Howard, retiring after a long career, is recognized for her many years of service to the Kalamazoo Public Museum and to GLPA. The next day, comet expert Armand Delsemme tells us about the proposed Halley’s Comet intercept mission.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
14
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
1978
Lloyd Bodie
Jerry Mansfield
Spitz Lecturer: John Rosemergy
Attendance: 82?
October, 1978 1978 Group Photo
This is our first official meeting at Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. However, back in 1958 (20 years ago), Cranbrook hosted a symposium, the first time the growing number of smaller museum planetariums, nurtured by Armand Spitz’s invention, were brought together. At the 1978 conference, a number of participants at that pioneer gathering (which in many ways inspired the formation of GLPA), participated in a panel discussion entitled “Meet the Pros.” They were Dr. Joseph Chamberlain, Ruth Howard, Jeanne (Emmons) Bishop, James Fowler, Stanley Hruska, Maxine Haarstick, Jack Spoehr, and Martha Schaefer. At this meeting Dr. John Rosemergy, who as of this writing is still the head of the very first school planetarium in the country (and also a participant at that first symposium), gave the Armand Spitz lecture on the subject “Roots and Routes: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Sputnik and GLPA.” It was one of the most memorable of all Spitz lectures. Lloyd Bodie becomes the 7th GLPA president.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
15
Minneapolis, Minnesota
1979
Lloyd Bodie
Jerry Mansfield
Spitz Lecturer: Maxine Haarstick
Attendance: 73?
October, 1979 1979 Group Photo
Now it’s back to Minneapolis after a 10 year absence. It’s like going back in a time machine in some respects. Maxine hasn’t changed a bit, and as usual, we don’t know what to expect next. There is a lot of talk about the “Great Solar Eclipse of February 1979” at this meeting, particularly on the part of the Minnesota people, who lucked out and saw the event. Dr. Harold Purdy Ney tells us all about “Fritz Zwicky, Paranoid Papa of Super Condensed Matter and Neutron Stars Today.” Astronaut “Deke” Slayton tells us about plans for the space shuttle. Maxine Haarstick, a most appropriate Spitz lecturer, reads “A Letter to Armand Spitz.” We are treated to the latest in spectacular audio-visual programming with a trip to the magnificent McKnight Omnitheater at the new Science Museum of Minnesota.

 

Conference Descriptions: 1980-1989

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
16
East Lansing, Michigan
1980
Lee Shapiro
Dorothy Angeloff
Spitz Lecturer: Ken Perkins
Attendance: 69?
October 8 - 11, 1980 1980 Group Photo
Here we are back in Lansing, site of the very first meeting of planetarium personnel that led to the formation of GLPA on that blustery day 16 years ago, back in November 1964. It was 10 years ago that ISPE, the forerunner of the very vital and ever growing International Planetarium Society, was also born here. So this city and this institution—which incidentally has one of the first Spitz STP projectors and was one of the first to introduce unidirectional seating—have a significant place in the history of this fascinating profession in which we are all so fortunate to find ourselves.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
17
Columbus, Ohio
1981
Lee Shapiro
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: George Lovi
Attendance: 61?
October 21 - 24, 1981 1981 Group Photo
A hastily put together meeting in Columbus, Ohio turned out to be quite successful despite some organizational problems and a last minute change in locality. The turnout was small by GLPA standards, but enthusiastic. It was hosted by Sandy Hallock and his friends at the Columbus Center of Science and Industry.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
18
Peoria/Normal, Illinois
1982
Eugene Jenneman
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Don Hall
Attendance: 54
October 13 - 16, 1982 1982 Group Photo
This was the Peoria convention hosted by the inimitable Sheldon Schafer. This is where the world was introduced for the first time to Suluna and it has never been the same since. I’m sure that the delegates must have been greatly impressed by the marvelous astronomical facilities in the area, and with the City of Peoria itself.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
19
Rochester, New York
(with MAPS)
1983
Eugene Jenneman
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Frank Drake
Attendance: 163
May 20 - 23, 1983 1983 Group Photo
That was the second combined MAPS-GLPA meeting, the first having been at the same location (Rochester, NY) almost 15 years earlier. Host Don Hall and his highly creative staff did not disappoint. It was nice to see that Don had not lost much more hair between the two meetings. I had a good excuse that year. This was the first time in its history that GLPA had had a spring meeting. Judging from the below-par participation on the part of our membership, it might well be the last.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
20
Milwaukee/Wauwatosa/
Waukesha, Wisconsin
1984
Sheldon Schafer
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: George Reed
Attendance: 70
October 24 - 27, 1984 1984 Group Photo
Milwaukee, the city of suds. The meeting was quite good, with a nice variety of activities and an emphasis on the problems of school planetariums. Milwaukee has no major facility, but is blessed with several excellent though smaller planetariums at surrounding schools and colleges. It seems we were forever on buses, including a memorable trip to the famed Yerkes Observatory.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
21
River Grove, Illinois
1985
Sheldon Schafer
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Richard Knapp
Attendance: 85
October 23 - 26, 1985 1985 Group Photo
Chicago, the windy city, and the season of Halley’s Comet, with a tail shaped by the solar wind. Steve Bishop and Bart Benjamin were our congenial hosts in the new Cernan Earth & Space Center of Triton College. Amidst trips to Fermilab and Adler, between invited talks and paper sessions, we were treated to planetarium shows in the tilted dome and enjoyed a Halley’s roundtable as we described our various plans for pleasing the impending crowds of comet-seekers in the months ahead.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
22
Cleveland, Ohio
1986
Gary Tomlinson
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Don Tuttle
Attendance: 97
October 22 - 26, 1986 1986 Group Photo
Eleven years (one solar cycle) later, we were back again to Cleveland, guests of the infamous CRAP (Cleveland Regional Association of Planetariums). With a variety of bus rides and an in-flight meal (a.k.a. sack lunch on the bus), we saw many of the school planetariums that give Cleveland its rich cluster of educational domes. At the Natural History Museum, long before "Jurassic Park," we had dinner near the dinosaurs and rollicked to a Halley retrospective slide show by Wes Orloff and Dan Francetic, as we bade the comet goodbye. We saw a sampler of NASA’s work at the Lewis Research Center and sampled apples at the hotel courtesy of Leona Helmsley years before the law caught up with her.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
23
Merrillville, Indiana
1987
Gary Tomlinson
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Jack Spoehr
Attendance: 100
October 28 - 31, 1987 1987 Group Photo
The first of three consecutive years of staying at a Holiday Inn. Our hosts were the dynamic duo of Gregg and Barbara Williams, who proved that a single small school planetarium can stage a first-class conference, though for the next decade only museum and college facilities would host a conference. Workshops made their debut at this conference and have been a staple ever since. Jack Spoehr inspired us with a memorable Spitz Lecture emphasizing the human value of our work.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
24
Bowling Green, Ohio
1988
Steve Bishop
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Mark Littmann
Attendance: 113
October 19 - 22, 1988 1988 Group Photo
A tough conference to describe since this writer was conference host. President Reagan was in town the first day of the conference, but didn’t attend. No bus ride exceeded five minutes (except the van to the Thursday evening campfire). We saw a couple live school programs and heard the first annual astronomy update lecture. Many of us met Mark Littmann for the first time as he gave the Spitz Lecture. This conference had the most cramped vendor area (an observatory lobby) and most memorable invited speaker: 82-year-old Clyde Tombaugh recounting his discovery of Pluto to a hushed audience.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
25
Champaign, Illinois
1989
Steve Bishop
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Roy Gallant
Attendance: 135
October 18 - 21, 1989 1989 Group Photo
Dave Linton, a Bowling Green alum, welcomed us to Parkland College. He also set a tradition in motion: Jim Kaler as the astronomy update speaker. We managed to negotiate the labyrinth of the campus hallways and heard a record number of invited speakers—seven, including IPS President Terence Murtagh and future IPS president Bill Gutsch. The nature of December shows was a topic again and Tom Wujec wowed us as he turned the dome square with his computed-scaled all-skies.

 

Conference Descriptions: 1990-1999

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
26
Indianapolis, Indiana
1990
Dan Goins
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Jeanne Bishop
Attendance: 124
October 10 - 13, 1990 1990 Group Photo
The adults who teach children came home to the Children’s Museum for this conference orchestrated by Sharon Parker. Larry Cat took us to the “meeoon” in the planetarium and the Digistar’s graphics took us into a black hole. However we escaped to attend the only Saturday night Spitz Banquet, at which Sharon continued the three-year tradition of the host wearing a weird costume and at which Jeanne Bishop shared her wisdom of participatory teaching. This was also the only conference in which the Executive Committee meetings almost lasted longer than the conference.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
27
Youngstown, Ohio
1991
Dale Smith
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Paul Knappenburger
Attendance: 124
Dates: October 16 - 19, 1991 1991 Group Photo
A saros cycle after the last time, GLPA returned to Youngstown with Warren Young and Ted Pedas taking another turn at hosting. We heard shuttle astronaut Ron Parise, a YSU alum, describe his work in orbit. We were also treated to a live school program by the inimitable Ken Perkins. It was just before Halloween and we reverberated to Rick Pirko’s sound and light show. This writer’s car was not towed away despite threats by the host, who also arranged delivery of a kiwi pizza. Will Warren and Ted host again in 2010?

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
28
St. Louis, Missouri
(with GPPA)
1992
Dale Smith
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Charles F. Hagar
Attendance: 137
Dates: October 21 - 24, 1992 1992 Group Photo
GLPA crossed the border into GPPA-land for a joint conference. Overwhelmed by our size and organization, GPPA bore with us. We heard about the exploration of other worlds: the Magellan mission to Venus described by Ray Arvidson and a trek to Tunguska described by Roy Gallant. The Digistar took us on hunt for a stolen star, we enjoyed a dinner cruise on a Mississippi riverboat, and we were treated to a tour of the Seiler Instruments building. Host John Wharton also arranged a sunrise through the Arch.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
29
Dayton, Ohio
1993
Dale Smith
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Jon Marshall
Attendance: 128
Dates: October 20 - 23, 1993 1993 Group Photo
Back to Ohio, dinosaurs, and another Digistar and Holiday Inn. Our own Jon Marshall inspired us with the wisdom of a lifetime at the Spitz Banquet, but only after a prologue roasting the leaders who invited him. Host Art Goss unfurled many creative uses of a Digistar in his program commemorating his museum’s centennial. What he didn’t tell us then was that a month later he would be married in the planetarium to the accompaniment of a show recounting his and Danae’s lives. The ranks of GLPA Fellows swelled after a mystery line-up at the banquet.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
30
Wheeling, West Virginia
1994
Dave Batch
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Darrel Hoff
Attendance: 108
Dates: October 26 - 29, 1994 1994 Group Photo
The eastward migration of the meeting site continued as we convened a few miles across the border into MAPS country. Steve Mitch hosted us at the rustic Oglebay Park and we enjoyed the autumn foliage, relaxed setting, and model trains. We heard about recovering meteorites in Antarctica and the triumphs of the rejuvenated Hubble. CRAP honored Wes Orloff for his creation of the Mobile Observatory. April Whitt and Dale Smith shared their excellent adventures of trips to the South and North Poles, proving that GLPA will go to the ends of the Earth.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
31
Grand Rapids, Michigan
1995
Dave Batch
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Robert C. Elliott
Attendance: 150
Dates: October 25 - 28, 1995 1995 Group Photo
GLPA returned to it birthplace for the first time since 1973 for its 30th anniversary conference. Grand Rapids was also the home of Gerald R. Ford, the only President of the United States not elected to that office. This time however, the Chaffee Planetarium had moved with its parent museum to a new $35 million facility that opened in November of 1994, so the dust had barely enough time to settle. The new Chaffee Planetarium has a 50 foot Digistar 2 planetarium with over 35 slide projectors and a SPICE automation system.

The GLPA banquet was held under the famous whale skeleton. After the banquet we moved to the Museum’s Meijer Theater (due to the very bad audio under the whale) to hear Bob Elliott, GLPA charter member and Past-President, deliver the Spitz Lecture. Bob was the mentor for co-host Mark Perkins. Jim Kaler presented his 7th Update Lecture. Dr. Heidi Hammel, the team leader for the impact of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 using the Hubble Space Telescope, and Dr. Tom Jones, NASA astronaut, delivered keynote addresses. Last but not least, the infamous Don Hall (who Gary Tomlinson, dressed in western gear, tried to introduce as Tom T. Hall) presented “Hall’s Laws.”  

Besides the five invited talks, there were 31 contributed papers and five workshops including Wayne James’ famous “Paper Plate Astronomy.” Another GLPA charter member, Jim Marron, part-time staff member of Chaffee Planetarium for many years, helped host one of the hospitality suites. Although we dinned at several different locations, including the Amway Grand Plaza (the old Pantlind Hotel, the conference hotel of the 1st GLPA conference), they were all within walking distance—no busses required. Even the current conference hotel, the Day’s Inn, was right across the street from the museum. It was in the Amway Grand Plaza that Dave DeBruyn delivered a 30-year retrospective of GLPA.

In addition to all the above, optional events included touring the museum and its behind the scenes work areas, a 1928 Wurlitzer organ concert, rides on the carousel, and a field trip to the James C. Veen Observatory. A unique vendor was the museum’s own Jean Johnson, who after her retirement from the museum designed and made neckties. She had quite a variety of astronomical ties for sale. Another unique feature of this conference was the garage sale of used planetarium equipment and effects both from the Chaffee Planetarium and other planetariums, plus a raffle of 70 16mm-space and physics films.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
32
Minneapolis, Minnesota
1996
April Whitt
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: John Hare
Attendance: 118
Dates: October 23 - 26, 1996 1996 Group Photo
The Regency Plaza Hotel, in the heart of downtown Minneapolis served as conference headquarters. Concurrent paper sessions included Steve Tidey describing his astronomy speech at a Star Trek fan convention, Sheldon Schafer’s planetarium programming for Boy Scout badge requirements, Chuck Greenwood’s new computerized reservation system, and Dave DeRemer’s presentation about the completed Solar System Adventure Tour developed for GLPA members.

International flavor came via Roy Gallant’s adventures tracking an ice-age meteorite fall in Outer Mongolia, Jeanne Bishop’s descriptions of the development of Chinese constellations and her teaching as part of the STARLAB experience in Italy, and Alan Pareis’ report on the progress of GLPA’s project to provide a set of slides to each of the planetariums in the Russian Federation. Rod Nerdahl gave us a preview of sky sights for 1997. Art Klinger reminded us all that “If You Don’t Toot Your Own Horn, Someone Will Use It As A Spittoon.” Workshops included internet web sites for teaching astronomy, STARLAB multi-disciplinary lessons, scriptwriting, and creating constellations.

Dennis Brinkman shared his Como Planetarium in the St. Paul Public Schools. Larry Mascotti of Rochester Public School Planetarium demonstrated software and CD-ROMS for implementing NASA’s Astronomy Village curriculum. Dr. Steven Robinson of the University of Minnesota described an interactive response system—called “Discourse”—that connects a classroom of student-operated keyboards to a personal computer on the teacher’s desk, giving the teacher immediate feedback of students’ understanding of astronomy.

Thursday night tours visited the University of Minnesota’s O’Brien Observatory (an infrared research facility), Halloween programs at the host planetarium, or the Mall of America’s new $25 million aquarium.

Dr. James Kaler delivered his eighth Astronomy Update, detailing the new images of Pluto and the deep field galaxies in Ursa Major—the Hubble Deep Field image. Dr. Alan Hale, co-discoverer of Comet Hale-Bopp, thrilled listeners with “tantalizing details and glorious images.” Deborah Byrd, co-founder of Earth and Sky, described her popular radio series and how to get people hooked on astronomy. John Hare’s Spitz lecture (“Three Decades, Two Hands, One Mind, and Lots of Options”) gave us the ins and outs of planetarium life over three decades.

The conference booklet included this list: “113 GLPA registrants, 26 papers, 24 door prizes, 14 GLPA Patron Members, 7 vendor demonstrations, 6 speakers, 5 tours, 4 workshops, 2 starshows and 1 GREAT Great Lakes Planetarium Association.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
33
Cleveland, Ohio
1997
April Whitt
David Parker
Spitz Lecturer: Richard H. Emmons
Attendance: 142 + 44 vendors
Dates: October 22 - 25, 1997 1997 Group Photo
The Clarion Hotel & Conference Center in Eastlake was our base as we traveled back to Cleveland for a fourth time and the 33rd conference! This year the conference hosts proudly proclaimed in the conference schedule, “148 registrants, 40 papers, 26 poster papers, hundreds of door prizes and favors, 13 patron members, 15 vendor demonstrations, 6 speakers, 3 tours, 5 STARLABS with 8 participants, dinner with dinosaurs, what a party!” Indeed it was. The conference schedule that was handed out in three-ring notebooks included astronomy “cartoons” by Jay Ryan throughout its pages. In addition, everyone received a numbered and signed color photo of Jay’s astronomy artwork!

The first official GLPA conference to be held in Cleveland was in 1967 and featured the first Armand Spitz Memorial Lecture, given by Grace Spitz.

Dan Francetic of the Euclid Schools Planetarium and Joe DeRocher of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History Planetarium led the host committee of local planetarians in organizing a very full agenda, which opened on Wednesday evening with a dessert reception at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center. After enjoying the reception, the group gathered to hear Dr. Geoffrey Landis of NASA’s Lewis Research Center in Cleveland describe the Mars Pathfinder mission, on which he had been working since 1992. The Pathfinder spacecraft had just landed successfully on Mars in July 1997, so Dr. Landis’ presentation brought us up to date with very new descriptions and visuals.

Thursday’s very full day began at the hotel with President April Whitt’s official welcome, followed by Dr. Jim Kaler’s popular annual Astronomy Update, which, as usual, was packed with developments in astronomy over the previous year. Then we took a short ride on school busses to Euclid High School where Planetarium Director Dan Francetic welcomed us and explained the day’s logistics.

Since the planetarium could only seat about half the delegates, we split into two groups. Group 1 saw the Vendor Showcase given in the planetarium by Spitz, Inc., Hopkins Engineering, Ash Enterprises, East Coast Controls, and Bowen Productions. Meanwhile, Group 2 moved to the basement indoor track area where four(!) STARLABs were set up with concurrent presentations given by Dayle Brown, Doris Forror, Wayne James, and Susan Reynolds.

After lunch our speaker was Dr. George B. Collins II of Case Western Reserve University’s Astronomy Department who took us through an enlightening description of how our perception and understanding of the universe must be based on the geometry of space-time, rather than Euclidean geometry. He closed his talk with a warning to beware the dragons of ignorance, superstition, and fear which “lie in wait for those who think incorrectly of the universe in which they live.”

Following Dr. Collin’s talk, the two groups reassembled in the opposite locations, with Group 1 moving to the STARLABs area, where concurrent sessions were given by Jeanne Bishop, Chuck Bueter, Georgia Neff, and April Whitt. After a refreshments break came two concurrent paper sessions followed by a second split-group vendor showcase presented by Audio Visual Imagineering and Jensan Educational Products.

Thursday evening was open for dinner on your own and a choice of three optional tours to schools in the Cleveland area:
1.    Garfield Heights High School’s Distance Learning Lab, where Bob Sledz teaches an astronomy course not only to his students at GHHS, but also to two other high schools via two-way live video and audio systems. April Whitt also described some of her experiences with distant learning.
2.    Mentor High School Planetarium, where Rod Thompson described and demonstrated his planetarium programs and curriculum for high school and elementary classes.
3.    Shaker Heights High School Planetarium, where Gene Zajac and Kelly Jons also explained how they use their planetarium and its special-effects capabilities in presentations for high school and elementary groups.

At the hotel Friday morning we had an extensive offering of concurrent paper sessions. After lunch Dr. Ralph Harvey of the Geology Department at Case Western Reserve University told us about his expeditions to Antarctica to collect meteorites, many of which are now believed to have come from Mars. He described his research and techniques which he uses on the meteorites with particular interest in looking for evidence of organic or biological processes in them, especially since NASA had landed the first rover on Mars to begin direct exploration and analysis of Mars and its materials.

Following Dr. Harvey’s talk, a vendor showcase was held in the large meeting room with nine vendors giving presentations. Then we had a break before boarding busses to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where we had some time to explore the museum’s new geology exhibit and other galleries. The banquet was held under the dinosaurs. The Armand Spitz lecturer was proudly and appropriately introduced by Jeanne Bishop, because she was introducing her father, Dr. Richard Emmons. He gave us a very personal and moving description of his lifetime career of more than 65 years in astronomy with telescopes and planetariums. Having started his career in the late 1930s, he was a real pioneer in promoting astronomy to the public as he organized viewing events with telescopes and later in planetariums with star projectors he had built himself. Sprinkled throughout his talk were descriptions of letters and contacts with famous individuals, including Albert Einstein.

After state meetings at breakfast on Saturday morning, we had another paper session, then the GLPA business meeting. Our after-lunch speaker was the well-known astronaut, Dr. Harrison Schmitt, who was the only geologist to explore the moon on Apollo 17, which landed there in December 1972. Schmitt and his fellow astronaut, Gene Cernan, spent some 75 hours on the lunar surface including 22 hours outside their lander, using their Lunar Rover to travel a total of about 35 kilometers, and brought back over 250 pounds of lunar samples.

The conference closed with the awarding of a very large number of door prizes, and we looked forward to next year’s conference in Nashville, Indiana.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
34
Martinsville, Indiana
1998
Dan Francetic
Bob Bonadurer
Spitz Lecturer: Bob Ernst
Attendance: 83 + 10 vendors
Dates: October 21 - 24, 1998 1998 Group Photo
Host Dan Goins said of the 1998 conference planning, “One of the most memorable parts was getting it together. As a small planetarium and without a staff, that was a handful. Gary Tomlinson’s Conference Planning book really helped. The most stressful aspect was the fact that the conference would be held ‘off site’ without a planetarium. The location of Nashville, Indiana, was a perfect place for this, however. The Seasons Conference Center had everything in one place—no busing.” Assisting Dan, Gregg Williams and “friends” handled delegate registration and Art Klinger managed vendor registration.

All the paper and workshop sessions took place at the Seasons Lodge. Papers included Mark Reed’s “A Snapshot from a K-12 Planetarium Survey,” David Leake’s “A Campus Solar System,” April Whitt’s “Space Station Fernbank,” Ron Kaitchuck’s, “LPD4 Slide Masking Revisited,” Keith Turner’s Supermassive-Supergiant Light Tables,” and James C. Wallace II’s “Stonehenge: A Druid’s guide to Construction.”

Five STARLAB workshops were give at the Seasons: “Creating Ancient Observing Sites in the Planetarium” by Gene Zajac, “Movers, Shakers, and Risk Takers” (a lesson on plate tectonics) by Barbara Nisson, “Mythology with a New Twist” (increasing involvement by students in the story-telling process by Susan Reynolds Button, “Sky Lore and Celestial Navigation in the South Seas” by Jeanne Bishop, and “Rock Cycles: Adding Earth Science to the STARLAB” by Wayne James. David DeRemer and David Hurd together offered two make-and-take workshops in which participants constructed a moving clouds projector and a bolide meteor projector. Dan thought that the good variety of workshops and inflatable offerings was particularly important for a conference not held at a planetarium. He noted of the inflatables, “They really came through for me and I believe showed they have a place in all future conferences. I can’t thank them enough.”

Two off-site trips were offered on a sign-up basis. Bowen Productions and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis teamed up for two workshop sessions in Indianapolis at the Bowen Productions digital video and audio suites (with pizza lunch by Evans and Sutherland). Combined sponsorship by Eric Melenbrink of Ash Enterprises, the Sudekum Planetarium, and Columbus East High School made possible an open house and reception with a program at the refurbished Knoblitt Planetarium in Columbus, Indiana, about 20 miles from Nashville.  

Dr. Jim Kaler gave his inimitable information-packed and always-enjoyed “Astronomical Update,” a summary of the previous year’s astronomical events. Rob Landis presented a provocative historical talk on the Soviet Race to the Moon, and Ken Edgett discussed the Mars Global Surveyor program. We also enjoyed an excellent evening lecture on the “Stuff of the Universe” by Stuart Mufsen from the Indiana University Astronomy Department.

Dan felt restrained by a clause (he describes as the “Goins clause” due to his part in its passage) in conference planning, which says that the banquet must be held on Friday evening. In Indianapolis the year before, the banquet was held on Saturday evening, a change from always having it on Friday night. Dan notes that adding to his host limitations, “The Executive Committee kept adding requests to the 25th anniversary conference.” Dan thought the negative response to the innovation of banquet night change the previous year might make the innovation of a cookout too stressful, but the one he orchestrated came off very well. The comments were overwhelmingly successful. Before the banquet we enjoyed a first-time-ever square dance. A group of self-declared GLPA singers with Jim Kaler and Dori Anderson on guitar met before the banquet to practice songs that Jeanne Bishop and Dori had composed, with words applicable to the planetarium community set to known tunes. These were presented as entertainment after the banquet meal. Another positive conference singing event was a presentation by the Martinsville High School show choir directed by Tim James.

The weather, noted Dan, could not have been more perfect. “There were blue skies, leaves in full color, and nights clear and dark. These were super October days.”

Dan’s Indiana Astronomical Society friends brought over telescopes on one night. Dan remembers, “The 20-inch Dobsonian was a hit. The conference center turned off all the lights around the building, including the parking lot lights. This gave me one of my favorite conference moments. Jupiter was well-placed for viewing and in the 20-inch ’scope it was superb. Dr. Jim Kaler was looking through the eyepiece. He said, ’Look at that! The curlicues are outstanding!’ Now, to have a very well-respected and world-famous astronomer call the festoons ‘curlicues’ was just great. It showed Dr. Kaler’s human side, which we all know he has. It also demonstrates the effect that a super astronomical view can have on a person, even of Dr. Kaler’s stature. I will never forget that night. The two of us have talked about that night in Nashville a number of times since.”

Dan Goins says that he received many thank-you notes from attendees, some asking him to “do it again!” Dan said that even though he was the host, it was one of his favorite conferences. He appreciated his mother-in-law and Greg Williams’ mother helping with registration and the helpfulness shown by many others. Surely the finest feeling a conference host can have is expressed by Dan’s comment, “I will forever be grateful to GLPA for giving me the opportunity to host a conference.” And we all remain thankful for Dan’s creativity, enthusiasm and hard work in hosting the 1998 GLPA Conference.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
35
Kalamazoo, Michigan
1999
Dan Francetic
Bob Bonadurer
Spitz Lecturer: James Kaler
Attendance: 127
Dates: October 20 - 23, 1999 1999 Group Photo
GLPA’s first trip to Kalamazoo landed us at the Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center with the Kalamazoo Valley Museum containing the Universe Theater & Planetarium nearby. This is the year that Dr. James Kaler not only provided us with his wonderful annual astronomy update lecture, but also gave the Spitz lecture at the Friday night banquet, a talk he titled, “Three Astronomies.”

Memorable at this conference was a small version of the conference schedule that could be easily carried in a purse or pocket. In addition, a unique “Ask the Vendors” session allowed GLPA members to “ask a panel of vendors questions about equipment and systems, and to provide a think tank for new ideas.”

Concurrent paper and workshop sessions were the order of the day for much of this gathering. So much good stuff! It was hard to pick what to attend. Of note was Alan Pareis’ report on the successful project to supply slides to Russian Planetariums and the great STARLAB workshops presented by Susan Button, Jeanne Bishop, Gene Zajac, Barbara Nissin, and Cheri Adams.

Eric Schreur did a bang-up job of bringing in wonderful speakers. Dr Bernhard Beck-Winchatz from DePaul University with his “NASA Office of Space Science Update,” Dr. John Percy from the University of Toronto with “Partnerships in Astronomy Education,” and Dr. C. Robert O’Dell from Rice University with “Exploration of the Orion Nebula with the HST.”

Even though it was a packed schedule, Thursday evening brought us a chance to relax with dinner on our own or take an optional trip to Upton Middle School in St. Joseph, Michigan where John Hare had an evening session on “Setting Planets on a Spitz Projector.”

 

Conference Descriptions: 2000-2009

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
36
Chicago, Illinois
2000
Jeanne Bishop
Bob Bonadurer
Spitz Lecturer: James Manning
Attendance: 138 + 10 vendors
Dates: October 11 - 14, 2000 2000 Group Photo

The first planetarium in the western hemisphere opened in 1930 as a gift to the City of Chicago by Sears and Roebuck executive Max Adler. The entire facility has recently undergone an extensive renovation and expansion and we were fortunate to have our 2000 conference at this historic facility.

The conference started out with the “touch of class” that would be its hallmark throughout. The opening Wednesday evening reception was held in Galileo’s Restaurant which can be nicely converted from a user-friendly cafeteria for the public to an elegant setting for catered banquets and parties. Almost all of the conference meals were held here, the Chicago skyline a constant background feature. Concurrent papers, workshops, shows and another year for vendor Q&A was a hallmark of the conference.

Thursday brought beautiful weather, which was unusually warm for Chicago and the time of year. The first full day of activities on Thursday began with a unique welcome from Adler president Paul Knappenberger, assisted by several of Adler’s staff. His presentation traced the history of the planetarium as an educational tool from Orrery to Star-Rider. The rest of the morning was given over to presentations about what’s new from a number of vendors.

Breaks were held amidst the vendor booths and displays in the History of Astronomy Gallery. This was an optimal place to have the breaks for it allowed easy access to the rest of the astronomy displays for those who wanted to wander and explore. Breaks were always long enough for members to view other exhibits or chat with vendors without feeling rushed for time or concerned that one might miss the next session.

Following an elegant lunch in Galileo’s Restaurant, it was time for the first of the four featured speakers. Dr. Evalyn Gates, Director of the Astronomy Department at Adler and a research cosmologist with the University of Chicago, brought us up to date on the search for all that unseen dark matter that really needs to exist if current theories about the origin and evolution of the universe are correct. The afternoon sessions were given over to papers by delegates and several innovative workshops. We even got a chance to critique a web site being developed by NASA’s Office of Space Science.

There was also a “Name that Star” quiz. The description said, “So you want to be a millionaire? Then this game is not for you. But, if you answer all these questions correctly, you’ll show us you can win a nice prize for the heap of astro-factoids inside of your head! Note there are no lifelines here, and we presume these are your final answers.”

It was fun to ride the special trolleys to Adler on Thursday and Friday mornings. Thursday night was free time, an opportunity to experience Chicago on our own or to participate in prearranged excursions to the Cernan Earth & Space Center at Triton College, the historic Dearborn Observatory on the campus of Northwestern University at nearby Evanston, or to the Doane Observatory adjacent to Adler Planetarium. The Dearborn trip proved to be something of an adventure. Due to a mix up, no one from the University showed up to meet our group. However, the observatory was actually open and we were at least able to see the beautifully restored and famed Clark refractor, used to discover the companion of Sirius.

Friday again broke with clear skies and warm temperatures. Friday would be multiple paper, poster, and workshop sessions. Among the workshops were Hands-on Cosmology and A Computer Animator’s Guide to the Galaxy, as well as a NASA website quiz to challenge the delegates. Throughout the day, there were also opportunities to sit in on Adler shows in both the Sky and Star Rider theaters. We could also compare the 1913 Atwood Sphere to a modern day STARLAB in “A Challenge in Observational Astronomy” The idea was to note the differences in the Atwood sky to a STARLAB sky. “Do the quiz—win a prize at the end of the conference.”

Following the noon luncheon, the annual astronomy update lecture was presented by Dr. Jim Kaler of the University of Illinois. Dr. Kaler always presents a well-informed and comprehensive review of the latest scientific findings from the past year. Everyone seems to enjoy the spectacular slides and images he includes with his lecture, as well as his great sense of humor which always comes out while he speaks. He is not only educational but most delightful to listen to.

Galileo’s Restaurant was a perfect setting for the banquet. The glass ceiling allowed those
of us who work under the stars the chance to come together and celebrate under the stars as well. There is no better view of the Chicago skyline than from the shores of Lake Michigan. When the meal was finished we moved to the Star Rider Theater for traditional banquet events and the Spitz lecture. James Manning was featured as the Armand Spitz Lecturer with “Seeing the Elephant: Planetariums at the Millennium.”

Saturday did not start out with clear skies, but the clouds lifted and turned into another beautiful day. The closing luncheon on Saturday was held at the Congress Plaza and featured a presentation by David Levy. David chose to speak on “From Generation to Generation: Astronomical Mentors I Have Known.”

A post conference trip took some of us to Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin for a tour of that famous facility.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
37
Richmond, Kentucky
(with SEPA)
2001
Jeanne Bishop
Bob Bonadurer
Spitz Lecturer: John Stoke
Attendance: 170
Dates: June 26 - 30, 2001 2001 Group Photo

It was off to Richmond, Kentucky June 26-30 for a joint conference with the Southeastern Planetarium Association (SEPA) hosted by Jack Fletcher. Not only was this conference different for GLPA delegates because of holding it in June, but it was longer, beginning on Tuesday evening and going until midday on Saturday.

I believe many of us found it quit exhilarating to be sharing with so many colleagues and being presented with so many choices of papers, workshops, and presentations. I counted 29 papers, 19 vendor presentations, 14 poster papers, 10 workshops, 1 concert and 2 speakers! Certainly many sessions were concurrent, but there was more than enough to pick from at every session.

The hotel was the very nice Best Western Holiday Plaza. For those interested, a pre-conference event was held at the University of Louisville’s new Rauch Planetarium which had recently opened with a Spitz Electric Sky system. Other “pre-conference people” attended a special “Explorers of Mauna Kea” workshop during the day on Tuesday, presented by the good folks from Hawaii’s Bishop Museum. I loved their shirts! The Tuesday evening opening reception was followed by a live space concert in the planetarium by a group called Spacecraft. What a way to start a conference!

Concurrent paper sessions were the order of the day throughout Wednesday. This was the day we first learned from GLPA Charter Member and former President Don Tuttle about his wonderful astronomy quilts. The quilts have astronomy themes and Don says they’re great at catching students’ attention. Just goes to show you that planetarians never really retire! With our brains stuffed to the point of exploding, it was time to relax and stuff our stomachs. A trip to the nearby Mule Barn for a southern style barbeque was just what we needed to end such a busy day.

It was back to concurrent paper sessions on Thursday. This time we were treated after lunch to GLPA’s own Jim Kaler with his annual Astronomy Update. I’m sure SEPA delegates were as impressed with Jim’s presentation as we always are. After another very intense day we boarded buses for an evening dinner and tour at Shaker Village, another interesting and relaxing end to the day.

After separate morning business meetings for the two organizations, Friday was workshops, STARLAB sessions, poster papers, and vendor presentations, oh my! We ended another busy day with a wonderful banquet dinner and the words of Spitz Lecturer John Stokes as he inspired us with “The Lost Tools of Learning and the Planetarium.”

Relaxation was the order of the day on Saturday during the breakfast buffet as delegates attended state meetings and participated in the GLPA traditional story telling. With door prizes and closing remarks from our host and the GLPA and SEPA presidents, we were on our way home, inspired and ready to tackle our privileged task of teaching the world about the universe once again.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
38
Menasha, Wisconsin
2002
Gary Sampson
Bob Bonadurer
Spitz Lecturer: Dale Smith
Attendance: 110
Dates: October 23 - 26, 2002 2002 Group Photo

For the 38th GLPA conference, we were off to Wisconsin for only the second time in 35 years. The Park Plaza Valley Inn and the Barlow Planetarium were our headquarters.

After the Wednesday night opening reception, delegates retired to the planetarium dome where Karen Klamczynski welcomed everyone. Demonstrations and a couple shows, including the Barlow Planetarium’s Halloween show, kept us entertained until it was time for the hospitality room.

Thursday morning was spent at the hotel with vendor presentations and of course the much looked-forward-to Astronomy Update by none other than Dr. Jim Kaler. After lunch it was off to the planetarium for a show, paper, and poster sessions along with some additional vendor sessions that required a dome. Delegates also got the chance to tour the Weis Earth Science Museum before everyone was set loose for dinner on their own.

As on Thursday, the Friday morning breakfast was among the vendors to allow everyone to see what was new for this year. Everyone spent the morning at the hotel for two paper sessions before we headed back to UW-Fox for lunch. Once again an “Ask the Vendor” panel session was included to allow delegates and vendors some mutual feedback. Another look at poster papers and some more vendor demonstrations in the dome and everyone headed back to the hotel to freshen up for the annual Spitz Banquet. The highlight of the evening was of course our own Dr. Dale Smith as he inspired us all in his Spitz lecture about the sacred space of our domes.

Our final day on Saturday was spent at the hotel with a full breakfast and state meetings to start with. Then Nagin Cox from NASA - JPL told us everything we ever wanted to know about “The Galileo Mission to Jupiter.” The end of a wonderful conference is always marked by door prizes, and this was no different as we had a little fun after lunch before we headed our separate ways. For those interested, there was also a post conference trip, “The Magical Fox Cities Tour” featuring limestone cliffs overlooking Lake Winnebago, Indian burial grounds, Harry Houdini, and more!

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
39
Cleveland, Ohio
2003
Gary Sampson
Bob Bonadurer
Spitz Lecturer: Rob Landis
Attendance: 113 + 22 vendors
Dates: October 22 - 25, 2003 2003 Group Photo

Our Cleveland conference began immediately with a thought-provoking talk by Br. Guy Consolmagno of the Vatican Observatory as he spoke about “God Under the Dome.” His main message was that there is no inherent conflict, and much commonality, between science and religion. He indicated, “How better to get to know the Creator than by studying the things that have been created?” The talk was followed by a dessert reception as delegates renewed their acquaintances after yet another year.

Thursday was on to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the new Shafran Planetarium. We were split into two groups and rotated through paper sessions, vendor demonstrations and eventually lunch. The morning also included a workshop, “Constellations by Touch” by David Hurd. This system continued after lunch with an additional option of a “Portable Planetarium Share-a-Thon” where people could share portable dome techniques. Ending with tours of the museum and observatory, we were all together for dinner and a fascinating talk by Dr. Paul Hodge from the Department of Astronomy at the University of Washington. Dr. Hodge spoke about his book “Higher than Everest, An Adventurer’s Guide to the Solar System.” The next order of business was an optional bus ride to Shaker Heights High School Planetarium with Gene Zajac hosting, to round out the evening.

Spouses and other guests had the option Thursday of a special trip to the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame while conference delegates were at the museum.

We were down to business again on Friday at the hotel. Delegates could take advantage of papers, posters, visiting vendors, and a “Transit of Venus 2004” workshop by Chuck Bueter. A relaxing lunch was followed by Dr. Jim Kaler’s Astronomy Update, an annual favorite. The afternoon included more great papers plus once again an “Ask the Vendors” panel session. One of the neatest parts of the afternoon was the Shaker Space Station Simulation Bus, a converted school bus set up as a working space station by Joe Marencik & Gene Zajac. The idea is to allow students to get a feel for what it might be like to do scientific experiments aboard a space station. The annual Spitz Banquet ended a wonderfully informative day with Rob Landis delivering the Spitz lecture. Rob gave us some historical perspective with “Footsteps to Wings to Spacefaring.”

Saturday found us at the hotel for breakfast and state meetings. After the annual GLPA business meeting we had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Lawrence Krauss from the Department of Physics at Case Western Reserve University. Dark matter was the theme as he spoke about “Einstein’s Biggest Blunder.” Once again our visit to Cleveland was really “CRAP.”

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
40
Detroit, Michigan
2004
Joe Derocher
Mary Schindewolf
Spitz Lecturer: April Whitt
Attendance: 113 + 34 vendors
Dates: October 20 - 23, 2004 2004 Group Photo

A busy conference awaited us for our 40th annual get together in Detroit with a large number of scheduled papers, workshops, and vendor demonstrations.

We were immediately whisked away to the Cranbrook Institute of Science for Wednesday evening’s events. In addition to the hors d’oeuvres reception there were numerous vendor demos in the dome and opportunities to explore the museum and observatory. A great start to the conference!

Busses were the name of the game at this conference as Thursday morning we were transported to the new Detroit Science Center for a morning of touring, vendor demos, and a peek at their new show “Blown Away.” Then it was back to the buses! Not wanting to waste any time, we were provided with “in-flight meals” (box lunches) on our voyage to Ann Arbor. Once there we scattered to see the Exhibit Museum of Natural History with its very busy planetarium, the historic Detroit Observatory, and the Argus Planetarium at Pioneer High School that has the distinction of being the first school planetarium in the United States. By 6 p.m. we once again gathered as a group for dinner at the University of Michigan Palmer Commons. It was time to refuel and hear Dr. Fred Adams, a UM astrophysicist, and his talk, “Into the Dark: The Long Term Fate of our Dying Universe.” Then back to the busses and our “flight” to the hotel. Whew!

We caught our breath Friday morning at the Somerset Inn. A number of great workshops were available as well as papers and posters to see and hear. This also was a good time to visit the vendor area and see what was new. We relaxed during a pizza lunch buffet as we anticipated Dr. Jim Kaler’s Astronomy Update after lunch. Wonderful as usual! The rest of the afternoon was leisurely as we had some vendor time and time for the portable planetarium sessions. Then, to the busses one more time! After additional presentations in the planetarium at the Detroit Science Center it was time for the annual GLPA banquet with our own April Whit as this year’s Spitz Lecturer. “There’s No Place Like Dome” was her inspiration to us.

Saturday at the hotel was set aside for state meetings, the annual GLPA business meeting, story time, door prizes, and farewell for another year. It was time to go home, rest, and digest all the good stuff!

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
41
Grand Rapids, Michigan
2005
Joe Derocher
David Hurd
Spitz Lecturer: Dave DeBruyn
Attendance: 119 + 25 vendors + 4 speakers/guests
Dates: October 19 - 22, 2005 2005 Group Photo

Once again we met at the Chaffee Planetarium in Grand Rapids on a major anniversary of GLPA. This time the 40th anniversary and 41st annual conference. Delegates were fortunate that three founding “fathers” of the organization were in attendance to offer some historical perspective.

As everyone gathered Wednesday night for the traditional opening reception, we were able to immediately take in a couple Chaffee shows, explore the museum, or even hear the Wurlitzer organ. Then it was under the dome for vendor demonstrations to see what’s new this year.

All events for this conference took place at the Public Museum. With the Day’s Inn right next door, it made for a very relaxed several days. On Thursday we continued with vendor showcases throughout the morning and then relaxed with a pizza lunch buffet followed by the conference keynote speaker, Dr. Anne Kinney from NASA. Dr. Kinney fascinated us with “From Blue Planets to Black Holes.”

The afternoon brought a very unique panel discussion with the theme “Building a More Space Aware Society.” The panel was moderated by Von Del Chamberlain (a GLPA founder) and included Dr. Kinney, Dr. Dennis Sunal (a GLPA founder), John Stoke (Space Telescope Science Institute) and planetarian Sheldon Schaffer. The day ended with a variety of options for delegates. Options included dinner on your own followed by either attending a public presentation of Dr. Kinney’s earlier talk, exploring the museum’s galleries, attending a constellation shootout in the dome, carpooling to a nearby IMAX theater to see “Magnificent Desolation,” driving out to visit the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association’s Veen Observatory, or checking out “The Wall” laser show.

Friday morning brought us up-to-date with astronomy once again as Dr. Jim Kaler told us everything we ever wanted to know about what was going on. It was then time to get down to business with concurrent workshops and paper sessions for the rest of the day. The annual evening Spitz banquet was held in the museum’s Galleria, right under the whale skeleton. (I assume they check those wires holding it up once in a while!) Because of the acoustics of the Galleria, we went up to the Meijer Theater after dinner to hear our own Dave Debruyn (a founding member) deliver this year’s Spitz Lecture. Dave reminded us of how we inspire many people with our work, maybe without realizing it all the time.

On Saturday, after breakfast and state meetings, we had one more paper session before the GLPA business meeting. After lunch, and before the door prizes and our farewells, we were treated to a special 40th anniversary retrospective hosted by Gary Tomlinson. We heard from the three founding members in attendance. Von Del Chamberlain talked to us about “The Power of the Planetarium Theater.” Dennis Sunal instructed us on “An Early History of the School Projection Planetarium and the Great Lakes Planetarium Association.” Dave Debruyn joined in at the end as our founders received a warm round of applause.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
42
Merrillville, Indiana
2006
Bob Bonadurer
David Hurd
Spitz Lecturer: Gene Zajac
Attendance: 121 + 19 vendors + 6 speakers/guests
Dates: October 25 - 28, 2006 2006 Group Photo

In 2006 we were back to Merrillville to see what Greg and Barb had been up to. We slept at the Lee’s Inn, but the rest of the time we remained at Pierce Middle School.

Wednesday evening’s dessert reception was followed by being divided into two groups so that we could rotate through several presentations without over filling the planetarium. At the end of the evening we ended up in the “Arena,” a large lecture-type room that could accommodate all the delegates. Dr. Clem Pryke from the University of Chicago Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics started us out with “The History of the Universe and the Return of Einstein’s Biggest Blunder.”

It was right down to business Thursday morning with the first paper session in the Arena followed by our split group rotation again to accommodate the size of the planetarium. After a break for lunch it was back to the rotation with vendor presentations, followed by a paper session and then workshops in various rooms. We were fortunate that this was a school break and we had the use of the building without interfering with regular classes. Thursday night allowed delegates several options. You could pick from a trip to the Challenger Learning Center; a tour of Valparaiso University, including a small planetarium and observatory; see a performance of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra; or stick around and watch several shows in the planetarium.

Friday was dominated by many wonderful papers, with the highlight for many being our own Jim Kaler detailing the latest in his annual Astronomy Update. This year the annual Spitz Banquet was held not at Pierce School, and not at the Lee’s Inn, but at Gamba Ristorante, a new dining establishment in Merrillville. This year Gene Zajac delivered the Spitz Lecture and reminded us how important it is for us to be “Making a Difference.”

After breakfast at the hotel it was time on Saturday to head back for state meetings and the annual GLPA business meeting. One more lunch in the Pierce cafeteria. This time it is Chinese chicken salad, mandarin oranges, a fortune cookie and sherbet. Neat, huh? Now that we were relaxed we could enjoy the last speaker of the conference, Scott G. Lever. Scott is the MER Tactical Uplink Lead Engineer at JPL and he showed us some really great images while telling about the ins and outs of working with the Mars rovers. His talk was titled, “Roaming Mars: A Personal Perspective.”

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
43
Wheeling, West Virginia
(with MAPS and SEPA)
2007
Bob Bonadurer
David Hurd
Spitz Lecturer: Jim Sweitzer
Attendance: 247 + 47 vendors + 4 speakers/guests
Dates: October 9 - 13, 2007 2007 Group Photo

This was the Triple Conjunction Conference where GLPA, SEPA and MAPS were in a rare conjunction in Wheeling, West Virginia. It also meant a lot of delegates!

This was also a longer conference, the opening reception being on a Tuesday. Notable Tuesday evening was Jon Bell’s “Astropardy” contest. Astropardy is based on the popular Jeopardy game show. However, in Astropardy all of the questions are astronomy related. This supposedly was a regional contest, with bragging rights going to the winning region. I haven’t heard anyone brag though. Does anyone know which region won? If you do let me know!

After opening remarks Wednesday morning we went right into concurrent paper sessions. Lunch was in Oglebay’s Glessner Auditorium where after lunch we heard Dr. Charles Wood, Executive Director of the Center for Educational Technologies at Wheeling Jesuit University. Dr. Wood’s talk was “Exploring a New World: Titan as Revealed by Cassini’s Radar.” All delegates were split into groups A and B and the rest of the afternoon was for planetarium vendor sessions, portable dome workshops, or some time on your own. Dinner was also on your own, but you had to get back to Glessner Auditorium for the keynote speaker – David Levy “A Nightwatchman’s Journey: My Life and Hard Times as a Comet Hunter.”

More concurrent paper sessions Thursday morning and then it was off to the busses and the Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Science Center, Buhl Digital Dome and host James Hughes. We were again split into our two groups to take turns exploring the science center and visiting the planetarium. As evening approached it was back to the busses to run over to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to have dinner and explore. There in the Carnegie Lecture Hall after dinner we were once more honored to hear the Astronomy Update presented by Dr. Jim Kaler, GLPA’s beloved resident astronomer.

Friday morning it was back down to business with concurrent workshops and paper sessions. Following lunch in the Glessner Auditorium we were again in our A and B groups for planetarium vendor sessions or on your own to explore the beauty of Oglebay Park. Evening brought the banquet. This year’s Armand N. Spitz Lecture, Margaret Noble Address, and SEPA Banquet Lecture was given by Dr. James Sweitzer from Science Communications Consultants. It was titled “A Journey to the Stars.”

Saturday was set aside for regional business meetings before we all went our separate ways. If you wanted to hang around a little longer you could participate in a couple post conference activities. Jon Bell had a “Constellation Shootout” in the Benedum Planetarium, which was then followed by a couple encore planetarium productions.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
44
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
2008
Cheri Adams
David Hurd
Spitz Lecturer: Dan Francetic
Attendance: 102 + 32 vendors + 3 speakers/guests
Dates: October 29 - November 1, 2008 2008 Group Photo

We’re back to the city of suds! Upon arrival we were immediately whisked by bus to a great opening reception at the Milwaukee Public Museum and the Daniel M. Soref Planetarium. After eating our fill we spent the evening in the planetarium being amazed by vendor demonstrations.

Thursday morning we were at the Country Springs Hotel for the official welcome, vendor presentations, and the first paper session. Then it was off to Wauwatosa West High School and the Gary E. Sampson Planetarium for more vendor presentations. Lunch at the high school was followed by workshop sessions. Then, on to the Retzer Nature Center and the Charles Horwitz Planetarium. After dinner there were additional vendor presentations in the planetarium.

Friday was at the hotel in Waukesha. Morning paper sessions ended with Dr. Jim Kaler’s 20th and his announced last Astronomy Update lecture just prior to lunch. The afternoon continued with paper sessions along with workshops. The evening banquet featured Dan Francetic as the Spitz lecturer. His talk was titled “The Planetarium of My Remembrance—A Personal Account.” Space-related costumes were optional for the banquet and of course some chose to dress in costume. One of the best was the Saturday’s speaker, Michelle Thaller, dressed as a Klingon!

After one last paper session on Saturday we heard Dr. Michelle Thaller, Manager of the Spitzer Space Telescope Education and Public Outreach Program, talk about “Infrared Astronomy: Things That Go Bump in the Night.” Michelle had an infrared camera with her for some fun and demonstrations. It also just so happens that Dr. Thaller graduated from Waukesha South High School, so this was also a sort of homecoming for her. There was an afternoon post-conference session that some attended at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Manfred Olsen Planetarium hosted by Dr. Jean Creighton. Jean did a presentation titled “Greek Myths in Stars.” Her husband, Dr. Jolien Creighton, also from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Physics Department, talked about “Listening for Black Holes.” Delegates also had the opportunity to tour the supercomputer facilities at the UW-M Physics Department.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
45
Bay City, Michigan
2009
Cheri Adams
David Hurd
Spitz Lecturer: Ken Miller
Attendance: 106 + 38 vendors + 5 speakers/guests
Dates: October 21 - 24, 2009 2009 Group Photo

The Bay City conference was certainly one of convenience. The Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center is situated right across the street from the Delta College Planetarium. Everything was either at the hotel or the planetarium, so delegates had a relaxed time this year with access to their rooms always available.

The Wednesday evening reception was in the large, curved lobby of the planetarium. While delegates where eating and socializing, they could walk into the adjacent Space Explorer’s Hall and take in the demonstrations of “Dr. Slime,” one of the resident “mad scientists” at Delta College. It was then into the planetarium for what is becoming the traditional Wednesday night vendor showcase. Something new this year were “quick stretch and break” times. These were short 15 minute breaks to avoid sitting too long during vendor presentations. Delegates were told that Conference Planning Chair Gary Tomlinson said that these short breaks wouldn’t work, that delegates would not get back that fast. So, everyone was asked to prove Gary wrong . . . and it worked!

After the traditional Thursday morning welcome it was back to all the great vendor demos. Everyone was hungry after seeing what’s new all morning and headed off to the hotel for lunch. Lunch was followed by Dr. Axel Mellinger from the Department of Physics at Central Michigan University. Dr. Mellinger talked about “A 648 Mpixel Panorama Image of the Entire Sky.” The afternoon was workshop time and there were many to pick from. Excellent workshops have become a hallmark of GLPA conferences. You can’t help but be impressed by the amount of education stressed in this organization. Nowhere else will you see a workshop dedicated to hands on astronomy demonstrations, something all kids seem to really get and appreciate. Also, the friendliness of every member just really makes everyone feel at home.

After dinner it was back to the planetarium for papers, vendors, and a show or two from the planetarium staff. Unique here was a paper presented by Jacob Larsen, a local high school student. Jacob had been mentored for several years by the Delta College Planetarium staff and had created a scale model solar system with signs, stretching between Bay City and Midland, Michigan, much like what Sheldon Schaffer has done in Peoria. Jacob’s paper was about his latest project, a national scale model solar system stretching from Florida to Bay City. Jacob personally visited each planetarium and science center that were hosting his planet “signs” across the country!

Friday was a full day of excellent paper presentations. The most important part of GLPA is the sharing of ideas and techniques by members. We took a break just before lunch to hear our own Dr. Ronald Kaitchuck from the Ball State University Planetarium, as he presented his first Astronomy Update which he titled, “Astronomy for the Planetarian, 2009.” After all these years, Dr. Jim Kaler would be a hard act to follow, but Ron did it in style! Of course the annual evening Spitz banquet provided an opportunity to relax together and enjoy awards and the Spitz Lecture. This year Ken Miller inspired us with “Lessons Learned in the Dark.”

Still more papers were to be presented Saturday morning. It’s great how many members participate by presenting to their peers. It was impressive how everything was kept on track during this conference—the talks and the planetarium shows weren’t stretched out, as happens so often. When the papers concluded and everyone had a break, delegates heard from Dr. Christian Marois a Research Associate at the NRC Canada Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Canada. Dr. Marois’ talk was “Taking Pictures (and Movies!) of Exoplanets Orbiting Other Stars.” His research team was one of the first to actually photograph exoplanets. Delegates ended the day with the annual business meeting, door prizes, and a little more socializing. Those who were interested could head off to Longway Planetarium in Flint for an optional tour of that near-by facility.

 

Conference Descriptions: 2010-2019

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
46
Notre Dame, Indiana
2010
John Schroer
John French
Spitz Lecturer: Chuck Bueter
Attendance: 133 + 30 vendors 
Dates: October 20 - 23, 2010 2010 Group Photo

After the Wednesday night opening reception in Jordan Hall we went right into the “Digital Visualization Theater” (DVT, otherwise known as the planetarium) for the first vendor showcase of the conference. That was followed by the DVT staff presenting their own showcase of material so we could all see some of the unique things they were up to at Notre Dame. In today’s economy, where planetariums are closing down, it was good to see a brand new facility, especially one crossing disciplines. The fact that Notre Dame’s planetarium (DVT) is being utilized by many different departments besides science should be an eye-opening note for many who are looking for ways to stay open.

On Thursday after breakfast and the usual welcome, it was on to paper session 1. The morning finished up with a second vendor showcase and then a break for lunch. There were quite a number of workshops offered at this conference so the afternoon was filled with two full sessions of workshops. Francine Jackson joined GLPA a number of years ago on the advice of Steve Mitch, who had told her that GLPA was the most education based of the planetarium associations. He was right and the workshop sessions are a good example. There were more hands-on materials available again this year, such as Dayle Brown’s Treasure Island and Karrie Berglund’s lesson plan on how we know what we know.

As we came to together to relax and have dinner, we were awed by hearing about “Dark Energy” presented by Dr. Peter M. Garnavich from the Department of Physics at the University of Notre Dame. And then . . . with new vendors arriving on the scene each year wanting everybody to see what they are offering, we were back in the DVT for dessert . . . uhh, I mean two more sessions of vendor demos before the “relaxation” began in the hospitality suite. Speaking of new vendors, one of the most unique at this conference was one selling 3D astronomy-themed postcards. What a beautiful and inexpensive addition to any museum or planetarium store.

The order of the day on Friday was paper and poster sessions. This is the “meat” of the conference where GLPA members share with each other. We did take a break at lunch to hear our own Dr. Ron Kaitchuck present his second Astronomy Update, so that all of us under the dome can be up-to-date with what’s going on. Friday, of course, ends with the annual Spitz banquet. This year Chuck Bueter had the honor of presenting the Spitz lecture, “Enthusiasm Flowing in the GLPA Watershed.”

On Saturday we continued the learning and sharing with additional paper presentations followed by the GLPA business meeting. We got to relax once more at the end, as we socialized, received door prizes, and said our farewells for yet another year.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
47
Champaign, Illinois
2011
John Schroer
John French
Spitz Lecturer: Lee Ann Hennig
Attendance: 121 + 37 vendors
Dates: October 19 - 22, 2011 2011 Group Photo

This year's experience started Wednesday evening with a wonderful reception in the planetarium's curved lobby. Once again, old friendships were renewed and new ones begun. All too soon it was down to business being wowed by the latest from vendors. Two vendor sessions that evening got everyone warmed up for the next couple of days. One of the other highlights of the evening was the ice cream sundae bar in the planetarium lobby during the break.

After a welcome and introductions Thursday morning at the Staerkel Planetarium, we were immediately treated to the new GLPA-sponsored show, "Cosmic Colors." This was the show's premiere and I think we were all impressed! Then it was time for the return of an old friend. Our own Dr. Jim Kaler was back talking about "Cosmic Mysteries." After his presentation, GLPA's favorite astronomer said farewell to a long standing ovation. This had been a great start to a great conference.

After a break, it was on to Paper Session 1 where "full dome" information figured prominently. We relaxed with a box lunch before our hosts attempted to capture us, still fresh at the beginning of the conference, in our annual group photo taken in the Dodds Athletic Center. More vendor showcases highlighted new technology before we headed back to the hotel for workshop sessions. There was a great variety of workshops this year, from production software to dark energy to the transit of Venus. After a dinner buffet, we saw the last of the vendor's showcases. Now, we were ready to relax in the hospitality suite!

Friday was paper session day at the hotel. After a breakfast buffet, we got right to it. There were many great papers with ideas, techniques, and information important to all of us. We then relaxed at lunch anticipating this year's astronomy update by Dr. Ron Kaitchuck. Once our heads were filled with what's new in astronomy, it was off to more great papers and a couple special interest group sessions.

Everyone had some time to freshen up before the annual banquet and this years's inspiring Spitz Lecturer, Lee Ann Hennig, a true professional planetarian. In addition, Dave DeRemer was the recipient of the GLPA Service Award and new Fellows were Mike Narlock, Mark Webb, and Lois Wolf.

Saturday morning's breakfast and state meetings were followed by one more paper session. This is the "meat" of our conferences and it's wonderful seeing so many people sharing with their colleagues. Most of us remained after a refreshing break for the association's annual business meeting. After an officer election, door prizes, and the transferring of the flag to next year's conference host, all too soon we were saying good-bye for another year. A few of us did hang around for a couple interesting post-conference trips. One trip, sponsored by Seiler Instruments/Zeiss, was off to Peoria to check out the latest Zeiss projection technology, while others went to the University of Illinois to visit the historic UI Observatory and the National Center for Supercomputing.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
48
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2012
Dave Leake
John French
Spitz Lecturer: Dan Goins
Attendance:  99 + 37 vendors
Dates: October 24 - 27, 2012 2012 Group Photo

Our headquarters for this conference was the Pittsburgh Airport Marriott, with trips to the Carnegie Science Center and North Hills High School thrown in.

As usual, the conference started off Wednesday night with a wonderful reception of heavy hors d’oeuvres, this time among the vendors supporting GLPA. But we were on the move right away the next morning as everyone was handed a “grab & go” breakfast as we boarded buses to the Carnegie Science Center. Vendor demos this year were in the Science Center’s Buhl Planetarium where there was more room for vendor equipment than there would be at North Hills High School.

After we experienced everything new and wonderful the vendors had to offer, we were on the move again, this time after a quick box lunch. We set course for the conference’s home planetarium at North Hills High School. When we arrived at the school, we immediately saw a custom designed GLPA flag waving proudly atop the flag pole in front of the school. North Hills High School Planetarium is a 24-foot facility featuring a Spitz A-4 built in 1969 and upgraded in 1999. With automation and a flurry of projectors, it is a wonderfully well equipped teaching planetarium.

First off was the popular astronomy update lecture, again given by Dr. Ron Kaitchuck, followed by the group photo. It was then on to some serious business with papers and workshops. Another highlight of the day was our dinner speaker Dr. Christian Schunn, who directs a number of research projects in science, mathematics and engineering education at the University of Pittsburgh.

All day Friday was at the conference hotel. After a nice breakfast buffet it was workshops, papers and special interest group meetings. With a break for lunch we heard Dr. Stephane Coutu from Pennsylvania State University describe research he is involved with.

More papers and posters followed that afternoon until it was time to get ready for our annual banquet. Dan Goins was this year’s Spitz Lecturer. Stop him sometime and ask him what he used an animal insemination tube for in his planetarium.

Saturday was devoted to GLPA business at the conference hotel. The GLPA business meeting was followed by lunch where we heard from Diane Turnshek from Carnegie Mellon University. Diane is not only an astronomer and a science fiction author, but somewhere in her past she operated the original Zeiss projector at the Carnegie Science Center.

As always, we had a little fun at the end with door prizes and storytelling. Then it was off to the various corners of GLPA land for another year.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY/TREASURER
49
Peoria, Illinois
2013
Dave Leake
John French
Spitz Lecturer: Art Klinger
Attendance: Attendance: 95 + 39 vendors
Dates: October 16 - 19, 2013 2013 Group Photo

This is the conference that almost wasn’t. A couple weeks before the conference was scheduled to begin, the conference hotel was shut down. If not for the hard work of the conference hosts, the GLPA Executive Committee and especially the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, there would not have been a conference. In addition, host Sheldon Schafer’s wife was hospitalized! But . . . it came together, and she’s okay too.

This was also a unique conference in that we shared some activities and events with the Illinois Association of Museums at the Peoria Civic Center. The opening reception, the vendor hall, breakfasts, a lunch, two speakers and workshops brought both groups together.

Wednesday evening at the new Peoria Riverfront Museum was complete with hors d’oeuvres, movies in the Giant Screen Theater, a vendor demo session and karaoke under the stars in the planetarium at the end of the day’s events.

On Thursday after a breakfast buffet at the Civic Center, it was off to the museum and down to business with vendor demos. The morning ended with the group photo and then lunch at the Civic Center. We stayed put for the afternoon taking advantage of the spacious facilities for paper sessions and time with vendors. A regular highlight of every GLPA conference is the Astronomy Update Lecture, and Dr. Ron Kaitchuck didn’t let us down. An invited talk by Michael Wysession concerning the Next Generation Science Standards was also of high importance to many.

This was one conference where we all worked off the food as we walked back and forth between the Civic Center and the Museum. On Thursday night we had dinner on our own in Peoria. Dinner on your own at a GLPA conference isn’t as common as it used to be as the schedule of papers, posters, workshops and vendors take more and more time every year. Many welcomed the chance to explore places to eat downtown. Then, it was a walk back to the museum for some evening vendor demos in the dome before socializing at the hospitality suite.

Friday morning was anticipated by many because after breakfast we were privileged to hear a talk by astronaut Scott Altman. After his inspiring presentation it was on to posters and the first session of workshops before lunch. In the afternoon there was a full schedule of concurrent papers. A fresh air walk to the museum was a welcome break as we headed for the dome later in the afternoon for one more paper session and some vendor demos thrown in for good measure. Then it was time to get ready for the banquet at the Marriott Hotel with a great Spitz Lecture by long time member Art Klinger.

Saturday morning came with another workshop session at the museum. GLPA is well known for its emphasis on education and hands-on workshops. It’s nice to see that tradition continuing. The morning was finished up with the all important business meeting, including officer elections. Business meetings are the one time each year GLPA members can interact with each other and the Executive Committee in person, to participate in charting the future course of the association.

The Marriott Hotel was our last stop on Saturday for lunch, door prizes and the closing ceremony.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY / TREASURER
50
Muncie, Indiana
2014
Garry Beckstrom Dan Tell / Cheri Adams
Spitz Lecturer: Sheldon Schafer
Attendance: To be determined
Dates: October 29 - November 1, 2014 2014 Group Photo

Located on the campus of Ball State University, the brand new Charles W. Brown Planetarium opened the week before the GLPA conference. GLPA delegates were the first official audience to occupy the seats of the brand new facility. As Assistant Director Dayna Thompson said, it even had that “new planetarium smell.”

The Wednesday night opening reception was followed by the now familiar vendor demos in the dome. Something new this year was full length shows in the planetarium during the hospitality suite time each evening. This allowed vendors to play entire shows for those who might want to see them.

Vendor demos continued right away on Thursday morning followed by the first paper session. Thursday was a nice fall day, so the group photo was shot outside the new facility. Then it was off to our other headquarters for the conference, the Student Center Building. This would be the location of our meals, many sessions, and the vendor hall.

Long time member Don Hall (aka Captain Science), retired from Strasenburgh Planetarium in Rochester, New York, donated many of his famous astronomy-themed ties to be auctioned off. Don was nice enough to allow all proceeds from the sale of his ties to be donated to GLPA. The ties were on display in the Student Center throughout the conference.

Our first order of business when we arrived was lunch, followed by a talk by Dr. Caty Pilachowski from Indiana University. Dr. Pilachowski’s talk about the next generation of huge telescopes was absolutely fascinating. The rest of the afternoon was workshop time. For those not attending some of the workshops, there were even tours of the Ball State campus and a couple unique buildings.

After a buffet dinner we heard from Dr. Tim Slater from the University of Wyoming. He told us about research in the cognitive learning science so that those who teach astronomical concepts have a better idea how to approach students to help them to understand these concepts. After the talk it was back to the planetarium for more vendor demos and then full length shows along with the hospitality suite.

Friday morning started with paper and poster sessions followed by Dr. Ron Kaitchuck’s Astronomy Update Lecture before lunch. All of Friday afternoon was dedicated to paper sessions. It’s amazing the amount of participation by GLPA members and their willingness to share with their colleagues.

The Alumni Center was the location for the annual banquet and a Spitz Lecture by last year’s conference host, Sheldon Schafer.

Our location on Saturday remained at the Alumni Center where we got in one last paper session before the annual GLPA business meeting. Before the closing of the conference there was some extended story telling with everyone sharing their common experiences.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY / TREASURER
51
Grand Rapids, Michigan
2015
Garry Beckstrom
Dan Tell / Cheri Adams
Spitz Lecturer: Susan Reynolds Button
Attendance: To be determined
Dates: October 14 - 17, 2015 2015 Group Photo

It’s been 50 years since the official formation of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association and we’re back to Grand Rapids where the organization came into being. This year we were honored to have many of the surviving charter members joining us including the principal founder and first president Von Del Chamberlain.

Wednesday evening marked the opening gala as GLPA members explored the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Purrfessor Science (Gary Tomlinson) made an appearance and baffled everyone! Then it was off to the dome for vendor demos to start things off. As last year, the evening ended with full length shows given by vendors during the same hours as the hospitality suite.

Thursday morning continued with vendor demos as delegates experienced everything new for planetariums. After a buffet lunch everyone was fascinated by Dr. Thomas Strikwerda talking about his involvement with the New Horizons spacecraft to Pluto and the many amazing discoveries it is making.

With a record number of papers to be presented this year, the rest of Thursday afternoon was dedicated to the “meat” of our conferences – paper sessions. With a brief break for a group photo and a walk into downtown for dinner, it was then back for evening paper and vendor sessions. By the end of the evening everyone was ready for relaxing and socializing in the hospitality suite or watching a show or two.

Friday morning saw an especially engaging talk by Dr. Julia Plummer. Dr. Plummer has specifically studied education in the planetarium and how elementary students learn through a combination of planetarium field trips and classroom lessons. The rest of the morning was filled with paper sessions. After lunch was the popular Astronomy Update Lecture by Dr. Ron Kaitchuck followed by an afternoon of workshop sessions. With everyone’s heads filled with new ideas to try out at their facility, we headed for our annual banquet and the Spitz Lecture by Susan Reynolds Button.

By Saturday morning the anticipation of hearing from GLPA founder Von Del Chamberlain was on everyone’s mind. After one last paper session, the all important business meeting and a walk to lunch, it was time. Von Del spoke eloquently about the importance of GLPA and how for 50 years it has benefitted hundreds of planetarians and millions of planetarium visitors.

 

NO.
LOCATION
YEAR
PRESIDENT
SECRETARY / TREASURER
52
Flint, Michigan
2016
Dayle Brown
Dan Tell / Cheri Adams
Spitz Lecturer: Gary Sampson
Attendance: To be determined
Dates: October 19 - 22, 2016 2016 Group Photo

Conference description will be posted in late 2016 or early 2017.

 

 

 

Conference Group Photos

2016 GLPA Group Photo

 

Update: Thanks to Dale Smith's speedy work, the Outline Sketch and Key are now available! Thank you, Dale!

 

group photo

2015 GLPA Group Photo

Small group photo

GLPA members: Here is an improved version of the 2015 GLPA Conference group photo!

The Conference Proceedings DVD incorrectly contained a very small version of the 2015 conference group photo. The link below allows members to download a higher resolution version (3585 x 2400 pixels) of the group photo taken in Grand Rapids, Michigan on October 15, 2015, plus updated versions of Dale Smith's outline diagram and key.

 

 

2014 GLPA Group Photo

 

2011 GLPA Group Photo

group photo

2010 GLPA Group Photo

group photo

1980-1989 GLPA Group Photos

 

Group Photo-Outline-Key

For each GLPA conference year, there should be a 1) Group Photo, 2) Outline, and 3) Key.
A few years provide a delegate list instead of or in addition to the Key.
 
Missing Elements:
1983 (Rochester, NY) - no key
1981 (Columbus) - a few missing IDs in key
1980 (East Lansing) - many missing IDs in key
 
 

1970-1979 GLPA Group Photos

 

Group Photo-Outline-Key

For each GLPA conference year, there should be a 1) Group Photo, 2) Outline, and 3) Key.
A few years provide a delegate list instead of or in addition to the Key.
 
Missing Elements:
1979 (Minneapolis) - no key
1978 (Bloomfield Hills) - many missing IDs in key
1977 (Toledo) - no outline, no key
1976 (Chicago) - no outline, no key
1975 (Cleveland) - no key
1974 (Terre Haute) - many missing IDs in key
1973 (Grand Rapids) - many missing IDs in key
1972 (Youngstown) - no photo, no outline, no key
1970 (East Lansing) - many missing IDs in key
 
 

1965-1969 GLPA Group Photos

 

Group Photo-Outline-Key

For each GLPA conference year, there should be a 1) Group Photo, 2) Outline, and 3) Key.
 
Missing Elements:
1969 (Minneapolis) - a couple of missing IDs in key
1968 (Rochester, NY) - no photo, no outline, no key
1967 (Cleveland) - a couple of missing IDs in key
1965 (Grand Rapids) - a few missing IDs in key
 
 

Conference Photos (Zip Files)

The following links allow the user to download a Zip file containing all of the conference photos from a given year in their original size and resolution. Please note: Because of the large size of these Zip files, downloads could take an extended period of time.
 
 
 
2010s
 
2016 Conference Photos - 2.92 GB Zip file  (VERY large file)  
 
2015 Conference Photos - 469 MB Zip file
 
2014 Conference Photos - 270 MB Zip file
 
2013 Conference Photos - 669 MB Zip file
 
2012 Conference Photos - 487 MB Zip file
 
2011 Conference Photos - 55 MB Zip file
 
2010 Conference Photos - 62 MB Zip file
 
 
2000s
 
2009 Conference Photos - 32 MB Zip file
 
2008 Conference Photos - 274 MB Zip file
 
2007 Conference Photos - 240 MB Zip file
 
2006 Conference Photos - 357 MB Zip file
 
2005 Conference Photos - 280 MB Zip file
 
2004 Conference Photos - 214 MB Zip file
 
2003 Conference Photos - 101 MB Zip file
 
2002 Conference Photos - 6 MB Zip file (from GLPA Newsletter*)
 
2001 Conference Photos - 1.49 GB Zip file  (large file)
 
2000 Conference Photos - 5 MB Zip file (from GLPA Newsletter*)
 
 
1990s
 
1999 Conference Photos - 1 MB Zip file (from GLPA Newsletter*)
 
1998 Conference Photos - 83 MB Zip file
 
1997 Conference Photos - 195 MB Zip file
 
1996 Conference Photos - 133 MB Zip file
 
1995 Conference Photos - 239 MB Zip file
 
1994 Conference Photos - 166 MB Zip file
 
1993 Conference Photos - 138 MB Zip file
 
1992 Conference Photos - 4 MB Zip file (from Mitch Luman and GLPA Newsletter*)
 
1991 Conference Photos - 262 MB Zip file
 
1990 Conference Photos - 2 MB Zip file (from GLPA Newsletter*)
 
 
1980s
 
1989 Conference Photos - 740 MB Zip file
 
1988 Conference Photos - 244 MB Zip file
 
1987 Conference Photos - 60 MB Zip file
 
1986 Conference Photos - 317 MB Zip file
 
 
 
* These conference photographs are low-quality screen grabs from winter issues of the GLPA Newsletter for their respective years. No higher quality images are believed to exist. If better images are found, they will replace or supplement these lower quality versions.
 
 

GLPA Obituaries

This section contains obituaries of planetarians whose efforts exemplify the spirit of GLPA and astronomy education. Please note that this is a work in progress. Members are encouraged to submit obituary notices and corrections to the GLPA Historian, who is currently Garry Beckstrom at garrybeckstrom@delta.edu.

 

Wade E. Allen  (1953 - 2010)

Wade E. Allen, former curator of astronomy at the Boonshoft Museum in Dayton, Ohio passed away on December 9, 2010. He was born January 15, 1953 in Dayton, and was a graduate of the University of Dayton. An electrical engineer, he also was a founding member of the Miami Valley Astronomical Society. He is survived by his life partner, ___?___Gamon, and by Stephen Gamon, who he helped raise.

 

Zenon D. Billeaux

A Charter Member of GLPA. (Need more information)

 

Allen Bishop  (1942 - 2006)

Dr. Allan Bishop passed away on August 7th after a courageous battle with cancer. Allan was the husband of Dr. Jeanne Bishop, now retired from the Westlake Schools Planetarium. Allan had recently retired from an engineering career at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. For the past 19 years, Jeanne and Allan hosted the annual C.R.A.P. Christmas party and potluck at their home in Westlake. Allan will be sorely missed by all who knew him and will be remembered for his loving devotion to his family and for his cheerfulness, wisdom, and quiet resourcefulness to his many friends and colleagues who turned to him for help.

 

Bruce Brandle

Former Director of the Marion High School Planetarium in Indiana. Died from Huntington’s disease. (Need more information)

 

Joseph Chamberlain  (1923 - 2011)

Joseph M. Chamberlain, who helped advance astronomical education and entertainment by leading planetariums in New York and Chicago into a new era of technology, instruction and visitor experience, died on Nov. 28, 2011 in Peoria, Ill., where he lived. He was 88. His death was announced by the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. Dr. Chamberlain’s love was sailing, and he taught celestial navigation courses during his 16 years at the Hayden Planetarium in Manhattan, 12 of which he spent as its leader, and during his 23 years as director and president at the Adler. His larger impact at both places was to build new facilities, buy new projectors to make tiny stars brighter and comets more dashing, hire more professional astronomers, strengthen and increase the number of special exhibitions and greatly expand educational offerings. In an interview with The New York Daily Mirror in 1954, Dr. Chamberlain said a theatrical touch was essential. “Give the audience 40 minutes of astronomy and there would be no audience,” he said. “It has to be a combination of science and showmanship. If there’s a sunrise, we furnish appropriate sunrise music.” Dr. Chamberlain was one of the first scientists to organize cruises to distant destinations for planetariums and other groups so people could witness heavenly events like eclipses and comets.

Joseph Miles Chamberlain was born in Peoria on July 26, 1923, and remained there after graduating from high school to enroll at Bradley University. But he left the college during World War II to become a cadet at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., where he earned a bachelor’s degree. He then served on transport ships in the Atlantic and the Pacific before returning to Bradley to finish a second bachelor’s degree. To finance his education, he taught high school part time and worked in a cigar store. Returning to New York, he taught nautical science at the Merchant Marine Academy and earned master’s and doctorate degrees from Teacher’s College of Columbia University, concentrating on meteorology and astronomy. He gave guest lectures at the Hayden Planetarium, averaging five a week from 1950 to 1952. The Hayden hired him as an assistant curator in 1952. He then rose through the ranks to become Hayden’s chairman in 1956 and an assistant director of the American Museum of Natural History, Hayden’s parent, in 1964.

A high point of Dr. Chamberlain’s tenure came in 1960, when he bought a powerful new projector for the planetarium’s famous star show. It replaced one that was wearing out, and it was equipped to display more arcane celestial phenomena. Dr. Chamberlain was frequently quoted in the New York press on matters like eclipses, the change of seasons and the visibility of particular planets. He would personally answer letters from children, including ones asking him to “please write up the solar system for me.” He told them to do their own homework. As assistant director of the natural history museum in 1965, Dr. Chamberlain was sent to Florida to retrieve the 100-carat DeLong star ruby, which had turned up after being stolen from the museum. He carried it under his shirt. A private investigator who traveled with him carried a black attaché case handcuffed to his wrist as a decoy.

Joe became Director of the Adler in 1968. He was invited to Chicago to help implement the recommendations of Mayor Richard J. Daley's blue-ribbon committee on the Adler's future. At the time the Adler was operated by the Chicago Park District. Joe's tenure as Director, and later as President, was a time of numerous expansions. A new $4 million underground facility, with the Kroc Universe Theater, a dining area, and new exhibition space, was opened to the public in 1973. He also oversaw the upgrading of the original Zeiss planetarium theater, replacing the original 1930 Zeiss with a new Zeiss Mark VI. In 1976, the Adler Board of Trustees assumed full management responsibility from the Park District. In 1977, the Doane Observatory was opened, a facility that houses a 20-inch Cassegrain reflecting telescope able to transmit live images. In 1991, a $6.5 million renovation was completed, adding a new Planetarium café, a sky-show production suite, a research center for the History of Astronomy Department, and a "Stairway to the Stars" special-effects escalator connecting the Universe Theater with the Sky Theater. In addition to physical and administrative improvements, Joe also expanded the Adler's professional staffing and standing in the community. He added astronomers, curators, educators, exhibit specialists, and business professionals to the staff. A longtime supporter of the American Association of Museums, Joe worked to make the Adler an accredited member of AAM, a status the Planetarium maintains to this day. He was also active in the worldwide planetarium community through groups such as the International Planetarium Society and the International Planetarium Directors Congress, as well as in the local community through civic organizations including the Near South Planning Board. After 23 years of leadership, during which he firmly established the Adler Planetarium as one of Chicago's major cultural institutions, Joe retired in 1991 and moved back to Peoria. At that time he was named Adler President Emeritus and became a Life Trustee on the Adler Board.

Dr. Chamberlain arrived in Chicago when oversight of the Adler was shifting from the city to a private board. He replaced fraying technology, charged admission for the first time, installed a telescope through which the public could directly view the heavens, and came up with attractions like the Stairway to the Stars, an escalator lined with thousands of flickering stars that linked two theaters. He got the Adler accredited as a museum. He also occasionally invited people into the planetarium’s main dome to listen to him recite poetry from memory. Dr. Chamberlain, who was chairman of the International Planetarium Directors Conference for 12 years, retired in 1991.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, the former Paula Jane Bruninga; three daughters, Janet Flinchbaugh, Susan Cardwell and Barbara Vetterick; a brother, Thad; a sister, Barbara Abegg; and four grandchildren. By the way, Dr. Chamberlain discovered life on Mars in 1958, according to a report in The New York Times. The breakthrough came as his employees were making a large globe representing Mars from plants for a flower show. He spotted a spider crawling over the planet’s surface. “Good heaven, there is life on Mars!” Dr. Chamberlain exclaimed. He was hard-working, dedicated, and conscientious and also had a great sense of humor and enjoyed celebrating with staff. Adler Planetarium staff past and present who had the opportunity of working with Joe are quick to regale listeners with fond memories and "Joe stories".

 

Richard H. (“Dick”) Emmons  (1919 - 2005)

A Charter Member of GLPA. Richard H. (“Dick”) Emmons, 86, of North Canton, Ohio passed away at his home on Wednesday, June 29th, following several months of illness with cancer. He was born in Canton on May 29, 1919.

Since Dick was well known as “Mr. Astronomy” in the Canton area, it is significant that he was born on the same day as the solar eclipse that tested Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. He was the son of a lawyer, H. H. Emmons, and Pauline Temple Emmons. He graduated from McKinley High School in 1936 and later earned his B.A. at the University of Southern California and his M.A. at Kent State University. He taught at Kent State University, where he became a Professor before his retirement. For many years, he was an engineer with Goodyear Aerospace in Akron, using a mobile observatory at Mount Palomar for satellite tracking.

In years prior to the opening of the Hoover-Planetarium at the McKinley Museum, which he helped to establish, he ran the North Canton Planetarium at his residence. Tens of thousands of area school children attended programs. With his son, Tom (TSA Services) he built 23 small planetariums, now in operation in schools and museums throughout the country. He founded and directed the volunteer Akron-Canton satellite Moonwatch Project during the first International Geophysical Year in 1957, as well as during the early years of the U.S. space program. Dick’s astronomical work has been featured in many Repository articles. He was a full member of the American Astronomical Society for 60 years and, in recent years, was a member of the area Wilderness Center Astronomy Club. In 2000, an asteroid was officially named “Emmons 5391” in honor of his astronomical accomplishments. One contribution resulted from his observations of the satellite Echo I – namely, that the near-space environment possesses fewer hazards than previously expected. This finding helped pave the way for manned space exploration. He observed his asteroid with telescopes at the Wilderness Center in Wilmot.

Dick is survived by a sister, two children (one of which is GLPA’s Jeanne Bishop), three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Memorial contributions may be made to the Aultman Hospice Program, 2821 Woodlawn NW, Canton, OH 44708 or UNICEF Columbus Chapter, 682 North High Street, Columbus, OH 43215.

 

George W. Girard

A Charter Member of GLPA.  (Need more information)

 

Ron Hartman

Ron Hartman, who passed away August ___?____ was a Professor of Astronomy and the Director of the campus planetarium from 1967 to 2005. Even in retirement, Ron continued teaching and was instrumental in the planetarium's refurbishment.

 

Donald Hays

A Charter Member of GLPA. (Need more information)

 

William Hill  (1919 - 2006)

William “Bill” Hill, the founding director of the Waubonsie Valley High School Planetarium died June 6, 2006,in Naperville, Illinois. Bill was a long-time science teacher and science department chair in Naperville schools. In the early 1950s, he started a local science fair that eventually led him to guide the Illinois Junior Academy of Science. Besides his leadership in local schools, he worked as a tour escort at Argonne National Laboratory, and taught at North Central College and College of DuPage.

In 1974, Bill became the chair of the science department of the then-new Waubonsie Valley High School where he supervised the construction and opening of the planetarium. The 30-foot dome had a Viewlex/Minolta Series IIB projector, automation system, and bank of auxiliary special effects projectors. He retired from the planetarium and public school education in 1979 to become a faculty member at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Bill is survived by his wife, Betty, a son, and two daughters. Significantly, the planetarium that he designed and nurtured continues to offer the wonders of the universe to local school children and public visitors.

 

Victor H. Hogg

A Charter Member of GLPA. (Need more information)

 

Maxine Haarstick

A Charter Member of GLPA. (Need more information)

 

Ruth M. Howard

A Charter Member of GLPA. (Need more information)

 

Steven O. Innes  (1955 - 2011)

Died unexpectedly on Oct. 16, 2011. He was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on April 22, 1955, the son of Rachel and Richard Innes. He graduated from high school in Ann Arbor, and graduated from Eastern Michigan University. He married Nancy Murphy in 1980, and lived in Denver, Colo., where Ben and Hilary were born. They moved to Gorham, Maine in 1995.

Steve worked as a technician in both the Southworth Planetarium and the College of Science, Technology and Health. This past spring, Steve was awarded the Nelson and Small Prize by the Department of Engineering faculty for his dedicated service. Steve loved being outdoors and volunteered many hours working on Maine AT club corridor maintenance. Steve and his wife have been active members of the Down East Ski Club and they have enjoyed spending their winter weekends skiing with their friends at Shawnee Peak. Steve and Nancy also enjoyed participating in the Annual Trek Across Maine for the past eight years. Steve had a passion for 'tinkering' with small engines, lawnmowers, his miniature trains, his observatory, and telescopes. He volunteered with Gorham High School robotics team while his son was a member.

Steve is survived by his wife Nancy of Gorham; daughter Hilary of Colorado, son Ben of Gorham; his parents, Rachel and Richard Innes of Gorham; sister Ro and husband Mehmet Altin of St. Peters, Mo., sister Lydia and husband Bill Luitje of Ann Arbor, Mich., and brother David Innes of Minneapolis, Minn.

 

Bill D. Kobel  (1927 - 2011)

84, passed away at his home in North Ridgeville, Ohio on April 15, 2011 after a long illness. He was retired from the science department at Fairview High School in Fairview Park, where he had served as head of the department, planetarium director, and chemistry teacher. He had also worked at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center’s Schuele planetarium. He was one of the early members of CRAP, the Cleveland Regional Association of Planetariums and remained very active in the group until some years ago when his health began to fail, preventing him from attending our meetings with his enthusiastic regularity. All of us who were fortunate to know him will miss not only his warm friendship, but also his strong dedication to good science teaching, and particularly his creative programs for the planetarium as a teaching environment which he so willingly shared with his fellow planetarians.

 

Roland "Bud" Linderman  (? - 2016)
submitted by Jon Marshall

It was in early March that we members of the Cleveland Regional Association of Planetariums received the sad news that our longtime colleague, Bud Linderman, had passed away on February 27, 2016, following a short illness and a fall in his home. He is survived by his wife, Leda, and their son,Todd.

Bud had been retired since 1992, after some 28 years as Director of the planetarium at Midpark High School (now Midpark Middle School) in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, and was one of the earliest members of the Cleveland Regional Association of Planetariums who continued his active interest and attendance at our meetings even after retiring. For many years, Bud maintained the C.R.A.P. mailing list and sent out the notices of our meetings, which were always printed and mailed out (before email, obviously!), a task which he handed over to me quite a while ago.

Those of us who knew Bud will always remember his smooth, deep, commanding voice, as will his many students and audiences in the planetarium, along with his quiet, droll sense of humor. We’ll also remember his creativity in developing not only effective programs and demonstrations for the planetarium (back in “the days” of slides and special-effects projectors, etc.), but also lessons and lab activities for the classroom. One example of his lab lessons was based on two sequences of actual sky photographs taken from a local backyard by one of his friends over several months, which “revealed” two very different retrograde loops of Mars. Bud generously gave me a set of the original photo prints which I used for many years with my own classes.

The memorial service for Bud was attended by a large gathering of family and friends, teacher colleagues, former students, and fellow planetarians. Some former students spoke of Bud with particular warmth as they related memories of their sometimes hilarious adventures over several years, during the excursions when they piled their camping equipment and telescopes into Bud’s station wagon for some long trips to observe solar eclipses and other astronomical events. Their heartfelt reminiscences from years ago clearly conveyed that for them — as well as many others — Bud Linderman truly embodied the spirit and meaning of that famous quotation: “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

Other speakers shared their personal memories and experiences from Bud’s life in very moving and touching ways which will help to keep alive our own recollections of our friend and fellow planetarian, Bud Linderman.

 

Roy Morris

(Need more information)

 

Thomas H. Osgood

A Charter Member of GLPA. (Need more information)

 

Martha Schafer (Need more information)

 

Howard Schriever  (1927 - 2010)

83, of Rochester, Minnesota passed away peacefully February 25, 2010 at Clare Bridge Senior Living in Plymouth, Minnesota, comforted by family members. During the "space race" of the 1960s, Howard was part of the traveling science teacher program that Michigan State University developed to boost interest in science and engineering. Traveling to schools throughout the Midwest with his "Mr. Wizard-style road show of experiments, he taught the wonders of science with a theatrical routine that made scientific principles look more like a magic show than a science class.

Howard was a passionate educator. He presented nearly 10,000 planetarium lessons to 400,000 visitors in his 19 years of service (1966-1985) to the Rochester community. He was the author of many contributions to the PIanetarium Director's Handbook published by Spitz and was an instructor for the company at their summer educational institutes held in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. He was the first planetarium director for Mayo High School, the oldest permanent school based planetarium in the state. Locally and nationally he was recognized for his commitment to excellence in "bringing the heavens down to Earth" for students of all ages. Dave Weinrich, who student taught under Howard, remembers: "What always struck me about Howard was his incredible energy and how much he enjoyed his work. He would be rubbing his hands together prior to some of his elementary shows just bubbling over with enthusiasm. He taught me again and again that science can be fun. He always had a good time with the students."

 

William Schultz

A Charter Member of GLPA. (Need more information)

 

Dan Snow

A Charter Member of GLPA. (Need more information)

 

Duane Douglas Stanley  (1921 - 2009)

87, died May 18, 2009 in Indianapolis. Born October 30, 1921 in Neillsville, WI. He attended grade school in a one-room schoolhouse near Neillsville, received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1946, and his M.S. for Butler University, Indianapolis. He was in the U.S. Air Force 1943-45, serving 32 missions in the Pacific in WWII. After teaching agriculture in Edgerton and Wonewoc, WI, he moved to Indianapolis in 1957, teaching at Pike High School until 1979. Duane became a science teacher and then Planetarium Director. He had a great love of nature and the outdoors. In retirement, he and his wife Grace visited all 50 states, Europe, and Central America.

 

Donald E. Tuttle  (1920 - 2010)

A Charter Member of GLPA. Passed away August 29, 2010. He was born July 22, l920 in Medford, Minnesota, the son of George and Margaret Landon Tuttle. He had been a resident of Elgin, Illinois for 48 years. Don was a veteran of WWII serving in the U.S. Navy. He joined School District U46 in 1960 as Planetarium Director, a position he held for 24 years. He also taught astronomy at Elgin Community College for many years, retiring in 2009. Don is survived by his wife, Carol Heywood Tuttle, whom he married on September 3, 1949, his three children, Susan Koelleg, Richard Tuttle, and Donna Hoppe, six grandchildren, and his sister, Dorolyn Sohner Hafer.