Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 356
National Air and Space Museum. Albert Einstein Planetarium
Development and Operation Records, circa 1957-1989
In 1974 the Presentation and Education Division at the National Air and Space Museum was organized to develop and implement educational programs and operate the theater and planetarium planned for the new museum, then being built. A thirty-foot domed planetarium, called the Experimentarium, went into operation in the Arts and Industries Building to serve as a trial ground for the seventy-foot structure being planned. In 1975 the Federal Republic of Germany gave the United States, as a Bicentennial gift, a Zeiss planetarium projector for the planetarium. The planetarium was dedicated as the Albert Einstein Spacearium and opened in July 1976.
Von Del Chamberlain served as Chief of the Presentation and Education Division, 1974-1978, and Charles G. Barbely was Planetarium Officer, 1976-1978. In 1978, Presentation and Education was divided, with the Planetarium remaining with Presentation under Von Del Chamberlain until 1980. In that year the Planetarium became independent and the position of chief was vacant. In 1981 the Planetarium was placed under the Exhibits and Presentation Division, with Richard D. Crawford as Chief and Thomas H. Callen, II, as Chief of the Planetarium Unit. James H. Sharp served as Chief of the unit, 1983- . Since 1983, the Planetarium has been moved around the administrative hierarchy a number of times, from Space Science and Exploration, to Museum Operations, to Exhibits and Production Operations, and finally to Interpretive Programs, 1989- .
This record unit consists of administrative records, such as reports, correspondence, and attendance records, in addition to records concerning each show, such as scripts, correspondence, and proposals. The actual audio and video tapes are in Record Unit 520. Material from the 1950s and 1960s concerns a proposed Washington Planetarium.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Barbely, Charles G.
- Callen, Thomas H., II
- Crawford, Richard
- Chamberlain, Von Del
- Sharp, James H.
- National Air and Space Museum (U.S.). Albert Einstein Spacearium
- National Air and Space Museum (U.S.). Presentation and Education Division
- Arts and Industries Building (Washington, D.C.)
- National Air and Space Museum (U.S.). Assistant Director for Interpretive Programs
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 356, National Air and Space Museum. Albert Einstein Planetarium, Development and Operation Records