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SALT LAKE CITY — The Clark Planetarium will soon undergo construction for a $2 million update on its public science exhibits.
Planetarium Director Seth Jarvis said the goal is to make the new exhibits highly interactive to stimulate curiosity and make learning about science fun.
“The informal education experiences that people create for themselves and their families are hugely predictive of how well a child does in school,” Jarvis said. “We had our exhibits open in 2003 on a shoestring budget anyway, so it’s really time to get them a makeover.”
The award-winning design company Roto will be renovating the exhibits, which will be completed in the late summer or early fall of 2016. Construction will begin later this year.
“We were very pleased to see that (Roto) submitted an absolutely amazing proposal for the planetarium,” Jarvis said. “We’re looking forward to participating as design partners in these things and getting people in our community a really amazing new way to learn about space exploration.”
This September, 700 square feet will be added to the exhibit space above the planetarium’s store to prepare for the installation of new exhibits.
The informal education experiences that people create for themselves and their families are hugely predictive of how well a child does in school.
–Seth Jarvis, planetarium director
By the end of the year, the design team will add prototypes of the new exhibits so they can ask guests what they think of them and what they are learning about, Jarvis said.
“Based on that evaluation process, we’ll go back and refine the design before we create the finished, fabricated piece,” Jarvis said.
The entire interior is going to look completely different, Jarvis said.
“You will not recognize the planetarium building,” Jarvis said. “If you like the looks of the planetarium building now, get a good look at it, because starting this September, we’re going to be changing the interior architecture to prepare for this.”
The emphasis of the renovation will be on the hands-on, interactive and sharable experiences, Jarvis said.
“We know science exhibits are best when they’re social events that you’re sharing with people,” Jarvis said.