The David M. Brown Planetarium in Arlington, Virginia, faced with closure after 40 years of service due to budget cuts, has been saved after the community rallied to raise $400,000 needed to keep it open.
Kathi Overton contributed her services to produce a video “Saving Arlington’s Planetarium: Our Story” in support of the campaign, now posted on the Save the Arlington Planetarium website. Overton wrote on Facebook, “I’m not particularly wealthy, so I can’t donate a lot of money, but I thought — hey, I can make a video about it! So I cobbled together a short video to raise awareness about the issue and some people who are trying to fix it. Just say yes to science education!”
Then today, February 25, the Arlington Sun-Gazette reported that Superintendent Patrick Murphy has abandoned plans to shutter the David M. Brown Planetarium, and has included funding in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal to aid refurbishment of the 45-year-old facility:
The announcement was a victory for a group of civic activists who rallied to save the planetarium after Murphy last year proposed shutting it down. That group appears on target to raise $400,000 by summer, part of an agreement with the school system to keep the planetarium alive. The group’s Web site says it has raised just under $290,000 to date. “Fund-raising has been extremely successful,” Murphy told School Board members. “We’ll be able to move forward here with a renovation.”