ARTifacts: A Trip to the Moon and Beyond

From 1953 to 1956, the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts had something few other art museums did . . . a planetarium.

Planetarium equipment, circa 1953 [The Jerry Bywaters Collection, Southern Methodist University]

Planetarium equipment, circa 1953 [The Jerry Bywaters Collection, Southern Methodist University]

The planetarium’s first show, “A Trip to the Moon,” was held during the 1953 State Fair. The Model A-1 Spitz planetarium, with 24-foot dome, would go on to enthrall thousands of visitors—over 10,000 in the first six months—with shows such as “Star of Bethlehem,” “Skies over Dallas,” “Reasons for the Seasons,” “The Sun and Its Family,” “Seven Wonders of the Universe,” and “The Greatest Show Off Earth.”

Shows were scheduled for the public on weekends and for groups during the week, for the low price of 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for children and students. The State Fair was the most popular time for the planetarium, entertaining 4,000 people over 69 shows in 1954 and 5,665 people over 80 shows in 1955.

In early 1956, the planetarium was transferred to the Health Museum, which was later called the Science Place and is now closed.

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

 

1 Response to “ARTifacts: A Trip to the Moon and Beyond”


  1. 1 cathy famous August 12, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Very interesting, I really like it when those hidden nuggets are revealed!!!
    Thanks Hillary


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