“This is going to be a really fun event celebrating five years of Tellus and our millionth visitor, which by the time of the Block Party would have been there,” Tellus Executive Director Jose Santamaria said. “We expect to have our millionth visitor walk through the door maybe by the end of March. So the purpose of the [event is] it’s a fundraiser, first of all, [and] it’s a celebration.
“This is known as a family museum — a place to bring your kids — but this is an evening for [adults]. This is like a date night. So [we encourage people to] get a sitter and come on over here. This is a 21-and-over celebration but in a Tellus way. So this is not a tux and a black dress [event], this is come dressy casual. It’s going to be a really fun environment. We’re going to have food trucks in the museum. We’re going to have all kinds of games and auctions and things like that, a DJ. So it should be a really fun night.”
Opened in January 2009, Tellus — an expansion of the former Weinman Mineral Museum — became a Smithsonian affiliate during its debut year. Encompassing 120,000 square feet at 100 Tellus Drive in Cartersville, the museum is comprised of four main galleries — The Weinman Mineral Gallery, The Fossil Gallery, Science in Motion and The Collins Family My Big Backyard hands-on science gallery — a 120-seat digital planetarium and an observatory.
“It’s awesome,” said Santamaria about the museum’s benchmarks. “It’s been quite a ride. We’ve gotten so much support from the community from the beginning and it’s just neat to still have that.
“We just completed our Vision for the Future campaign and we’re actually starting to install all these new things that are coming on board. So we’re going to have quite a year. So we’ve done a lot of things [since 2009], where we’re looking back and pleased, but we’re also looking ahead to bring in new things, new exhibits, new interactives,” he said, providing examples such as a Space Shuttle Columbia nose cap exhibit and triceratops skull display.
Tellus recently completed its $1.2-million capital campaign, which officially launched in October 2012. The drive sought to revitalize some of the museum’s offerings to help provide new experiences for repeat visitors. Along with obtaining traveling exhibits and installing permanent hands-on displays in the future, the funds enabled the museum to recently purchase a Mediaglobe-III projector, which is enhancing the quality of the planetarium’s images.
“It’s very, very exciting,” said David Dundee, astronomy program manager for Tellus. “This new jump in technology means that we have images that are more than twice as bright. We have resolution that’s 215 percent better than before. We’ve added another million pixels into our universe. So the stars are brighter. The images are all brighter. It also allows us to do a lot of things we couldn’t do before.
“... At a touch of a finger we can make thunderstorms and snowstorms and clouds. We can bring up aurora, a lot of atmospheric effect. It allows us to get high resolution images of the surface of planets that we can land on. The machine also animates some of the constellation pictures. So that we can, for example, click on Orion and he can be waving his club around or Leo the Lion will roar at you — just cool stuff like that. There are a lot of extra bells and whistles.”
Tickets, which are $75 per person and $125 for two individuals, can be purchased in advance by contacting Jessica Cantrell at 770-606-5712 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Tellus and its upcoming events and programs, call 770-606-5700 or visit www.tellusmuseum.org.