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Hayden Planetarium

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Redesigned home of one of the United States earliest planetaria

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Upper West Side
Institution, Education

Place Matters Profile

Constructed in 1935, the original Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History was the fourth planetarium erected in the United States. Designed by the firm Trowbridge and Livingston, and funded by a $650,000 loan from the New Deal-generated Reconstruction Finance Corporation, the two-story brick edifice was topped with a concrete copper-covered dome executed in the Art Deco mode -- a style that optimistically represented faith in the eras mechanical and scientific breakthroughs.

In 1935, both the planetarium and the instruments it contained were state-of-the-art. Hayden is named for banking mogul Charles Hayden, who contributed $150,000 for the purchase of the gold-standard of planetarium projectors, the Zeiss II. The giant dumbbell-shaped device had two bulbous ends, each with 16 stereopticons. One globe contained images of the sky in the northern hemisphere, and the other held images of the heavens in the southern hemisphere.The interior shell of the structure’s self-supporting...

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Nellie Perera

The Hayden Planetarium inspires curiosity as it dazzles the young and old alike with its immersive display of our solar system! (December, 2011)

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