The University of Wyoming Art Museum and Harry C. Vaughan Planetarium are both re-opening after being closed to the public since last spring.
The planetarium is open by appointment for private shows, although audience members only have to pay the per-person public show admission price no matter how many people are in the party. Tickets are $3 for UW students and $5 for non-students. All campus visitors must wear a face covering while indoors.
Planetarium coordinator Max Gilbraith said private shows can be scheduled any day of the week, including weekends. A variety of space-themed movies are available to watch, or audience members can request a live presentation and view constellations and space features.
Gilbraith said he’d like to start offering public shows soon, but uncertainty surrounding campus closures has complicated scheduling and payment procedures. Private shows are simpler to schedule and reschedule.
“If you reserve a private show, you don’t pay until we run the show, and we can always reschedule in case a pause happens,” he said.
He anticipates returning to public shows at the latest by Nov. 23, when the UW semester enters Phase 4 and students are no longer taking on-campus classes.
“With students off campus, they aren’t necessarily having the same concerns about outbreaks,” he said.
Meanwhile, the planetarium’s hardware was upgraded during the closure, with new graphics cards and new software ready for implementation.
“It’ll have a lot of fun, new features when we eventually get there,” Gilbraith said.
The graphics cards were updated in anticipation of installing a higher-resolution production system in the next year or two.
As part of the new software, planetarium operators will have virtual access to footage collected by the Curiosity Rover, a robotic explorer conducting experiments on Mars that was launched by NASA in 2011.
“It’s like a flight simulator,” Gilbraith said. “We can control virtual probes and rovers on another planet’s surface. It’s a really fun tool.”
If you like to do your stargazing outside, the planetarium is celebrating International Observe the Moon Night from 6-9 p.m. Saturday on the Fraternity Mall. Telescopes will be set up for observers to take a closer look at the moon.
To reserve a private show, call 766-6506 and leave a message. Go to www.uwyo.edu/physics/planetarium for more information. The planetarium is located in the basement of the Physical Sciences Building, with access through the southwestern entrance.
The UW Art Museum is set to re-open to the public Tuesday. The museum will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-noon are reserved for high-risk visitors. Admission is free.
Director Nicole Crawford said the museum is excited to be open again.
“It has been hard on the staff who walk by the closed doors to our galleries every day,” she said. “A lot of hard work goes into each and every exhibition. We are happy we are able to extend the dates for some that opened just before the closure, and we just completed installation of some new exhibitions.”
Exhibits now on view include “Women in Wyoming: Portraits and Interviews of Women Who Shape the West;” “Moving Walls: Heart Mountain Barracks in the Bighorn Basin;” Material Tradition: Textiles from the UW Art Museum Collection;” William Kentridge: Second-hand Reading;” “Creatures Great and Small: Animals from the UW Art Museum Collection;” “The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Wyoming;” and “Sharon Louden: Windows.”
The multimedia “Women in Wyoming” exhibit features large-scale portraits, audio components and interactive storytelling to present inspiring women, created by artist Lindsay Linton Buk. Linton Buk has been traveling the state since 2016 to collect photos and interviews that tell the stories of 22 contemporary, influential women. It will be at UW until July 17, 2021.
“We are proud to work with Lindsay, who has amazing vision to tell this story through her photographs,” Crawford said. “She cares deeply about her subjects, which is evident in the exhibition.”
Go to www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum or call 766-6622 for more information. The museum is located in the Centennial Complex at 2111 Willett Dr.