Evansville Museum Continues Major Facility Renovation and Expansion Project
Phase 4 of the Museum’s renovations were substantially completed in December, 2012, with the opening of an interactive, hands-on science center named the Welborn Baptist Foundation FamilyPlace; a gallery for temporary history and science exhibition; and a new classroom. This is the fourth of five phases in an ambitious facility renovation and expansion project.
According to Museum officials, the $14.2 million capital project entitled Reaching for the Stars “not only addresses key existing infrastructure needs but also will introduce a dynamic Immersive Theater, the newest in planetarium technology. Through this project we shall, in our exhibitions and programming, be able to enlighten and inspire our visitors in the areas of Arts, History and Science in a way never before possible.”
Chairman for the Campaign, Rita Eykamp, leads a fundraising Cabinet of other distinguished civic leaders including John D. Engelbrecht, Niel C. Ellerbrook, Virginia G. Schroeder, and Susan Hardwick.
Architects for the project are Evansville’s VPS Architecture and Ratio Architects, Inc. in Indianapolis.
As the campaign nears its goal, the Museum anticipates the completion in late 2013.
Highlights of the Expansion Project
Plans call for the creation of an expansive gathering place for visitors coming from the nearby historic neighborhood or from their cars in a parking lot conveniently adjacent to The Plaza. The paved, tree-lined and pedestrian-friendly space will more closely link the Museum with EMTRAC, bringing the campus into a cohesive alignment adjacent to the riverfront Greenway.
Museum visitors will enter the “new Museum” facility through a spectacular two-and-a half story Pavilion, to be constructed on the Museum’s south side.
The Immersive Theatre
The cornerstone of the addition to the Evansville Museum will be an immersive theater. This new, larger space will provide a greater range of program opportunities for schools and businesses in the Tri-State, as it will also accommodate film screenings, lectures, group meetings, teleconferencing and remote astronomical observations.
The new immersive theater will offer full-dome projection, producing imagery that plunges audiences into vistas unlike anything they might experience in a conventional planetarium. Two separate digital video projectors are used to project vibrant, moving images onto the entire surface of the dome. The immersive theater projects a seamless 360 degree view of amazingly bright, full color imagery. When darkness falls in the immersive theater, visitors will no longer be in Evansville. Instead, they might be standing on the surface of another planet or flying in a spacecraft between the moons of Jupiter.
The new 40 foot diameter, handicap accessible dome will seat 68 visitors per show.