It seems written in the stars that Vermont’s planetarium would go solar.
The Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium in St. Johnsbury received a shipment of solar panels from Sun Common for a solar canopy to be erected in the parking lot.
The museum will also get an electric vehicle charging station. For Burlington museum goers, the trip from ECHO Leahy Center in downtown Burlington to the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium is 76.1 miles, roughly an hour and a half drive.
In a social media post, the museum said the effort is “part of our ongoing commitment to lightening the Museum’s environmental footprint.”
Many museums have struggled during the closure due to the pandemic and have only recently begun to allow visitors back into their properties. As a result, some have put major projects on hold, but the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium is an exception.
An outdoor greenhouse learning space is in the works. It is designed to allow adequate air flow ventilation helpful in preventing the spread of airborne viruses like COVID-19. The space is expected to be heated so classes can continue to meet there after the weather turns colder.
The museum is also planning its first major expansion in 125 years of the historic, Victorian property. The museum has raised more than $600,000 and is waiting to hear if it will be awarded a $2 million grant for the project.
The annex would be a 6,000 square feet, 3-story addition housing hands-on meteorology and astronomy exhibits. There would be ground level access, including an elevator allowing access to the balcony, which houses much of the center’s collection. This would allow the center to improve its accessibility.
The museum is open Wednesday through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.Smaller groups can visit without a reservation. Cloth face coverings are required for visitors age three and older and restrooms are available for guests.
A driving trip to St. Johnsbury this time of year could be a good way to get in some leaf peeping and science exploration to spark interest in young scientists who have been learning from home.
More: The story behind the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium’s eerie welcome back video
Contact April Barton at [email protected] or 802-660-1854. Follow her on Twitter @aprildbarton.
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This article originally appeared on Burlington Free Press: Fairbanks Museum gets solar panels, EV charging station, with more improvements coming