1100 North Plum Street Hutchinson Kansas 67501 United States
What is now one of the world’s premier space museums was once the dream of a Hutchinson civic leader, Patricia Brooks Carey. Her vision to create one of the first public planetariums in the central United States had humble beginnings. In 1962, the Hutchinson Planetarium opened inside the Poultry Building on the Kansas State Fairgrounds with a used star projector and rented folding chairs.Four years later, the Hutchinson Planetarium relocated to the campus of Hutchinson Community College, in what today houses Dr. Goddard’s Lab.In 1976, Carey and the Hutchinson Planetarium’s board of directors began planning to significantly expand the facility. They sought the advice of former employee Max Ary, who had worked for the planetarium while going to college. Ary was the director of Ft. Worth’s Noble Planetarium at the time and happened to be serving on a Smithsonian committee that placed tens of thousands of space artifacts in museums after the Apollo program concluded.So the Cosmosphere was in the right place at the right time.Launched as the Kansas Cosmosphere and Discover Center in 1980, the new facility featured permanent exhibit galleries in the Hall of Space Museum, one of the first OMNIMAX theaters in the world and the planetarium that started it all.In 1997, the facility was further renovated and expanded to its present size, 105,000 square feet, nearly tripling the area devoted to the Hall of Space Museum. Today the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center is one of the most comprehensive space museums in the world and one of the leading educational tourist attractions in the United States.