January 2007... Jan 13, 2007 14:23:21 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jan 13, 2007 14:23:21 GMT -6
Adler Planetarium in Chicago Is Inspirational
At the beginning of 1930, there were no planetariums in the Americas. It was only in 1923 that the German firm of Carl Zeiss invented a projector that could duplicate the night sky on a domed ceiling. After this invention, planetariums began being built in Germany and the rest of Western Europe.
In 1928, a Sears Vice President named Max Adler retired and began looking for a worthy cause to dedicate his time, energy, and money to. Mr. Adler's decision to focus on philanthropy must have been partially influenced by his career and life prior to working at Sears.
His first career was as a concert violinist. As a performing artist, he saw the benefit of social institutions in a city. Another strong influence in his desire to enter philanthropy must have come from his boss at Sears, who also happened to be his brother-in-law. Max Adler was able to make the extreme career change from a violinist to a vice president because he married a young woman named Sophie Rosenwald. Sophie was the sister of Julius Rosenwald, president and chairman of the board at Sears, Roebuck, & Company. Julius is the man who laid the groundwork that would lead to Sears becoming the powerhouse retail institution that it became in the mid 1900s.
Julius was also a world-renowned philanthropist. Early in his life, he became concerned with the plight of African-Americans in the south. Originally, he helped fund Booker T. Washington's efforts. He would also sit on the board of directors for the Tuskegee Institute from 1912 until his death in 1932. This would lead, eventually, to the establishment of the Rosenweld Fund in 1917.
Unlike most charitable funds, the Rosenweld Fund was not established to remain self-sufficient. In 1948, it ran out of funds after spending over $70 million supporting a wide variety of causes, many of which involved educating the African-American population in the south.
Julius Rosenweld is also famous for being the principle investor, founder and president of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. So, when Max Adler decided to dive into philanthropy, he had to do something big.
In 1928, while looking for a partner to begin his new career, Max heard about the Zeiss Projector. He decided to investigate this new device himself and took his wife and architect Ernest Grunsfeld to Germany. This was the perfect project for Max. He immediately funded all of the money needed to build a planetarium and had Grunsfeld design a building to house the Western Hemisphere's first planetarium. He also began buying any and all items of astronomical significance to display in his new building from around the world. Work on the planetarium was quick and it was opened on May 12, 1930.
The planetarium was an instant attraction, drawing large crowds right from the day it opened. It continued to grow and expand and it now anchors the eastern point in the famed Museum Campus on Chicago's downtown lakefront.
Adler has continued through the years to update and improve and still draws close to 400,000 people each year. This may be the world's oldest operational planetarium, but its leadership believes that they can work to make it the best.
More here: english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?at_code=385907
It's a nice historical write up...