Great news, the Planetarium lives!
Four decades after it opened on the heels of the Apollo 11 voyage to the moon, the David M. Brown Planetarium in Arlington County didn’t look like it would survive 2010.
If the planetarium didn’t raise $240,000 for renovations by the end of 2010 and $400,000 by June, county schools Superintendent Patrick K. Murphy said he would have to shut it down…
…Preston Caruthers, an Arlington businessman and philanthropist, told her that he would write a check for $100,000, enough to keep the facility open. Caruthers is a former member of the state Board of Education and a former chairman of the Arlington School Board.
“I always thought it was an asset to our children, and I’m very partial to our children,” Caruthers said. “The planetarium is an inspiration. It’s there to encourage young people to study and learn about our universe – an area where American children badly need inspiration.”
Thanks to Preston Caruthers, and also to the volunteers who worked to save this superb facility. Of course, it never should have come to this. Why, in a rich county like Arlington, would there even be a question about whether or not to keep a unique, important educational facility like this – in a country where scientific literacy is declining, and in a world where scientific literacy is ever more important – open? I mean, if we’re able to give a $110,000 “severance payment” to a county manager who only lasted a few months…priorities, priorities, I guess!
P.S. Oh, and while we’re on this subject – there’s never any excuse for shutting down a nature center or cutting park rangers in a county with almost no nature remaining. Cut something else.