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Feb 11, 2019

 

 

In case you didn't catch the paper over the weekend here is a link to an article I wrote for the Guest Opinion section. Evening shows are coming up in two weeks. Reserve your spots today! Thanks, everyone for following the planetarium page.

 

ISD 181 Viewpoint: Forestview Planetarium: A Hidden Gem

By Brian Wallace, planetarium director on Feb 10, 2019 at 7:30 a.m.

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Please allow me this opportunity to tell you about a hidden gem in the Brainerd Pulbic School system that is becoming less hidden each year. It is the Forestview Planetarium on the second floor of Forestview Middle School. The 2018-19 school year marks year two where I get the opportunity to share the amazing world of astronomy to thousands of people from preschoolers to adults. My name is Brian Wallace and I have been a teacher in the Brainerd Schools for 32 years. When Forestview Middle School was constructed 15 years ago a permanent planetarium dome was included in the design that myself and other colleagues had a hand in creating. After many years of limited use I now find myself as a full-time director of the planetarium that benefits all Brainerd students and reaches out to public schools in our five county region of central Minnesota so their students can attend. It is truly my dream job!

Two years ago a colleague and I applied for and received a generous amount of funding through a program called Innovation Funding; a program created and managed by Sourcewell of Staples, formally known as NJPA. This funding was approved for year two and an application for year three will be completed soon. The funding covers all cost for a full time person to staff the planetarium along with equipment changes and upgrades along the way. More importantly, the planetarium funding covers all transportation costs for kids from 22 school districts in Region 5 to experience the planetarium. Because of this funding, thousands of school age children have the opportunity to learn about astronomy in the immersive environment of a planetarium, many for the first time. Most schools have two to three grades attend. Students at Brainerd schools attend multiple times from kindergarten through eighth grade and all students receive lessons designed to cover our Minnesota science standards. The impact on student learning has been incredible!

Another important role of the planetarium is community outreach. I have presented shows during the fall, in December and currently I am preparing for "A Night Under the Stars" in late February. For information on shows and showtimes visit the planetarium website at fmsplanetairum.com and follow the planetarium on Facebook. The best thing of all is that when public shows are presented they are free to attend. All I ask is that you register for tickets using the planetarium website.

I hope you can soon check out this not so hidden gem in our schools! Thank you to all who have helped bring the planetarium to reality, from former superintendent Mr. Walseth for believing in this idea to our current superintendent Mrs. Larson for connecting me with Sourcewell two years ago. Thanks also to my colleague Tim Peabody for his help in the application process and all the employees of Sourcewell that continue to fund incredible programs throughout the five county region, including my favorite hidden gem, the Forestview Planetarium.

September 19th, 2018

Hello again Forestview Planetarium followers! The planetarium is back in business for the 2018-19 school year and is once again fully funded by funding from Sourcewell (formally NJPA). This is huge news and we are so thankful that Sourcewell has provided the means to reach so many students in our area along with community members! The year is off to a great start with classrooms from all over Region 5 counties (Crow Wing, Cass, Todd, Wadena, Morrison) booking visits. Transportation costs from all of these districts are totally covered under Sourcewell funding!

In addition, this year will see the installation of a brand new projection system for the planetairum. It truly will be a state of the art system! Images on the dome including the starfield will be thrilling to see after the installation completes in early December. Just in time for the Christmas shows. Speaking of which, stay tuned for information on showtimes and dates. (Due to the new installation schedule there will be no fall show)

Thank you for following the planetarium and hope to see you in December!

November 6th, 2017

Christmas shows at the Forestview Planetarium are here soon! Shows are free, open to the public and are appropriate for all ages. The show this year will begin with a live night sky “tour” including mythical stories of characters seen now in the winter sky. You will even learn how to use a star map that you can take with you! Following that you will see “The Star of Bethlehem”.  This show takes you back to the little town of Bethlehem of long ago, in the endeavor to investigate what was the “Star” that guided the Wise Men. Each session will last approximately 55 minutes. Book your free reservation at fmsplanetarium.com. Please only book the number of seats you know you will use. Dates and times can be found under the "Free Shows" tab at fmsplanetarium.com. See you soon!

September 25, 2017

 

Once again hello out there! Being that the Oct. 24th public shows at the planetarium filled very quickly, I am going to do a second night of shows the evening before on the 23rd. This is SO exciting in a very geeky way! Follow this link to the planetarium website and click on "Free Public Shows" to choose a time. (6:00, 7:00 or 8:00)fmsplanetarium.com Please share with others if you wish and remember there are only 50 seats per show to reserve. Thank you all very much for having an interest in the planetarium experience!!

September 20, 2017

 

Hello, Facebook friends of the FMS Planetarium! I have a HUGE announcement. As of this fall, I am a full-time director of the planetarium!! Last spring a colleague of mine and I applied for and received funding through NJPA in Staples for the 2017-18 school year. Goodge NJPA to find out more but for now please spread the word that the planetarium is once again open!

Check out the almost fully constructed website: fmsplanetarium.com to see some additional information.

If you would like to be part of the first public show set for October 24th you can register on the site for free as long as there are still seats available. You have first shot at them! The topic is going to be focused on eclipses. I would like to follow up on the Great American Eclipse of 2017 and then present a full dome show called "Totality".

Will you please join me and encourage others to do so. It is free and open to all. Look for the link "Free Public Shows" and I'll see you in October!

Thank you! Brian Wallace

November 6th, 2018

Hello to all FMS Planetarium followers! It's time to announce to schedule for the 2019 holiday shows. All shows are family-friendly, open to the public and free! Please only book the number of seats you will fill.  

The topic for December will be a live night sky tour, followed by a quick tour of the lunar landings to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, and finally a full dome show titled "Mystery of the Christmas Star". All shows will be approx 60 minutes. 

Click on the "Holiday Shows" tab at fmsplanetarium.com to book your seats in advance. In all, there will be 20 showings during the evening hours.  Hope to see you in December!