Cedar Park museum plans to open planetarium

The Texas Museum of Science and Technology plans to open a 50-seat planetarium in September. In June two artists painted a mural outside the temporary museum facility, which is located in a former soccer complex at 1220 Toro Grande Drive.

The Texas Museum of Science and Technology plans to open a 50-seat planetarium in September. In June two artists painted a mural outside the temporary museum facility, which is located in a former soccer complex at 1220 Toro Grande Drive.

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Texas Museum of Science and Technology’s temporary location at 1220 Toro Grande Drive in Cedar Park plans to open a 50-seat planetarium in September.

In July the museum approved a bid for construction of the planetarium dome with eight digital projectors and a sound system, TxMOST Executive Director Torvald Hessel said. Visitors will be able to attend shows that combine video presentations and live tours of simulated skies, he said.

Admission for the planetarium shows will be separate from the admission cost to visit the museum’s current featured exhibit, “Body Worlds,” which debuted with the museum’s March 20 opening. Hessel said the planetarium attraction and museum itself are temporary. Both will help promote museum staffers’ goal of building a future permanent museum that features a larger planetarium, he said.

“Body Worlds,” a traveling exhibit that features plasticized and posed human bodies so visitors can see muscles, tissue and veins, was originally set to leave TxMOST Sept. 20, but the museum announced the exhibit will stay longer until Nov. 8.

The museum also plans to add exhibits through a partnership with a nationally known museum whose name will be announced at a later date. The partnership will bring in about 30 exhibits including interactive features that cover about 5,000 square feet, Hessel said.

The museum drew about 5,900 visitors in April and more than 10,000 visitors in May, he said.

“School groups are still going on, even though school is out,” Hessel said. “People in schools [are] discovering that we exist. … We had days when there were eight school buses up front.”

TxMOST’s growing staff and volunteers relocated the museum’s ticket counter, expanded the museum’s gift shop and added a collection of donated items near the entrance. Johnson City artists Lee and Matt Casbeer painted an exterior mural inspired by the “Body Worlds” exhibit, replacing a portion of the former indoor soccer facility’s previous sports-themed artwork.

“The theme was the connection between art and science,” Lee Casbeer said.

The mural includes images of a guitar player, Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings of anatomy and machines. Casbeer said he hopes the images can help capture residents’ attention.

City of Cedar Park leaders encouraged the museum to build a temporary facility in the city. The museum and city staffers have also discussed whether the future permanent museum will be located at another location in Cedar Park, Hessel said.

“There’s definitely interest [in a Cedar Park location],” he said. “An offer has not been made.”

Other city governments have also reached out to the museum, Hessel said.

“First let’s make sure [this facility] survives,” he said. “Thankfully that’s going very well.”




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