Last year, Cincinnati Observatory Center
(COC) Executive Director Craig Niemi and Amateur Telescope Society (ATS) member Trudy E. Bell were chatting on the phone. As with previous conversations, the topic of preserving America's historic observatories came up. Before, the two had discussed developing a workshop to tackle these issues. This time, Niemi offered to host a symposium at the Cincinnati Observatory. At last, a meeting was born from their phone conversations.
Through the efforts of Niemi, his wife Valerie, Bell, COC historian John Ventre, and the ATS, the Cincinnati Observatory will host the workshop "The vintage observatory: thriving in the 21st century," May 2–4, 2008. At this meeting, members of the ATS and observatory directors throughout the United States will present papers concerning the plight of historic observatories.
The main difference between this workshop and typical ATS gatherings is the modern-day emphasis. Typically, ATS workshop papers deliver historic perspectives on the subject. For this meeting, attendees will address "how to" today. Common topics will cover "where to begin with scope restoration," "declaring an observatory a historic landmark," and "innovative fundraising."
Bell explained what she hopes this symposium will accomplish in addition to preservation. As an active member of the ATS, she hopes to introduce more people to the group. Observatories in disrepair can use this group as a resource.
Also, Bell believes a strong networking system will come out of Cincinnati. Through this, observatory directors can share ideas to sustain vintage observatories. Networking also can help deliver this message to the general public.
"What people don't realize is these observatories represent our scientific and cultural history. And once it's gone, it's gone forever," says Bell.
To learn more about this meeting, click here
If you would like to become involved with observatory preservation, visit the ATS site