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Author Topic:   NASA Glenn's Visitor Center closing, moving

Posts: 155
From: Olmsted Falls, Ohio U.S.A.
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 05-15-2009 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MB   Click Here to Email MB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Glenn Center manangement has informed the visitor center staff that the visitor center will close for good on September 30, 2009. Management has stated that they are hopeful to make arrangements so that some of the VC exhibits will go other local museums. No word on what will happen with the Skylab 3 command module.

I would highly recommend that if you have a chance, stop by the NASA Glenn visitor center before September 30th. NASA Glenn recently installed 1/16th scale module of the Ares I & V by the VC parking lot. Also, NASA Glenn has recently (and still in the process of) upgrading the exhibit galleries. These upgrades include items from John Glenn's STS-95 mission (i.e. blue flight suit, Mercury flight pennant and shirt), new Ares launch vehicle gallery, upgraded Shuttle/ISS gallery and Solar System gallery. Just a shame that these newly installed exhibits will be removed in several months.


Posts: 55
From: PA
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 05-15-2009 07:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for neke   Click Here to Email neke     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's a shame! Why is it closing? I will definitely make a point of getting there this summer; thanks for the heads up.

Fra Mauro

Posts: 1587
From: Bethpage, N.Y.
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 05-27-2009 07:03 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A fooish decision. NASA needs to keep it's public image out there. I don't think the agency realizes that it needs to be visible.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 42988
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-28-2009 06:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
NASA Glenn visitor center could close or have a new home later this year
The NASA Glenn visitor center, host to three decades of wide-eyed wonder about space and flight, could close or have a new home later this year.

It could also stay right where it is on the center's sprawling Brook Park campus -- if NASA Glenn can find new partners and money to plug a funding gap.

All options -- even a move to the Great Lakes Science Center -- are up for discussion, said Howard Ross, acting director of external programs at NASA Glenn.


Posts: 109
From: Toledo
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 06-01-2009 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jeffbassett   Click Here to Email jeffbassett     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Terribly sad to hear. That is a super facility and having such open to the public is a public relations dream for NASA. You look at how many Ohio astronauts are from around that area and it gives you the perspective of how it has inspired many to work for NASA.

I am in contact with the Toledo Science Center as of today. They are looking for exhibits for the center opening this fall. I would hope they could get as much as possibly available as they need more such displays. As well the Challenger Center here in the Toledo area would be glad I am sure to have anything that could be used for display. Scrambling now to get them involved to take advantage of this situation.


Posts: 109
From: Toledo
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 06-04-2009 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jeffbassett   Click Here to Email jeffbassett     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If anyone could post a contact person or e-mail concerning this, it would be appreciated. The Toledo Science Center is right now looking for displays for the new museum opening at the end of this year. Please e-mail me if possible.


Posts: 481
From: Germantown, WI USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 06-04-2009 05:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
GRC's main page has a phone number, their Visitor Center page has a phone number, and their education page has two people's phone numbers and email addresses.

I'd start with the folks at the education center first; if they can't help you, they could probably put you in touch with someone who can. Or, the Visitor Center number might eventually get you to the VC director or some similar person.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 42988
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-05-2009 08:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Group favors moving museum from NASA center to downtown
NASA Glenn Research Center officials said last week that a move to the Great Lakes Science Center is among options they're considering for its visitors center.

Cuts in the space agency's budget have resulted in NASA Glenn paring up to $500,000 a year from its public affairs programs, including the visitors center, officials said.

...visitor center attendance was about 80,000 last year. By comparison, 300,000 visit the science center annually, said Roman, who heads the region's largest chamber of commerce.

Robert Pearlman

Posts: 42988
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-16-2009 07:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cleveland Plain Dealer
NASA Glenn visitors center offers its exhibits to Great Lakes Science Center
The NASA Glenn visitors center will close and its exhibits have been offered to the Great Lakes Science Center, NASA Glenn's director says.

A tightening budget and the need to lift NASA Glenn's profile are reasons the 6,000-square-foot center must shut its doors, said Woodrow Whitlow, director of the NASA Glenn Research Center in Brook Park.

The visitors center has been a field trip haven for families, schoolchildren and scout troops for more than 30 years.

In late May, NASA Glenn officials acknowledged talks with the Great Lakes Science Center about the visitors center, which features an auditorium, a gift shop and six galleries. But a top official said all options were open.

On Wednesday, Whitlow said the visitors center would close.


Posts: 2476
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 07-16-2009 10:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not sure if this is a question or a point. But does the Command Module from the second Skylab crew belong to the Smithsonian (notice how I got around the numbering issue)?

If so can NASA offer up this CM or is that a Smithsonian call?


Posts: 481
From: Germantown, WI USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 09-17-2009 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by GACspaceguy:
If so can NASA offer up this CM or is that a Smithsonian call?
I recently drove out to visit GRC one last time before it closed. While there I inquired about the CM. I was told that the general plan was for it to go to Great Lakes, but that the Smithsonian had not yet made a decision.

I can't help but think that there'd be a list of other museums which would be interested in acquiring a command module. And in recent years the Smithsonian has moved Apollo 9 and ASTP from Michigan and Florida to California, and Apollo 7 from Canada to Texas (prior to this, only two manned CMs were located west of the Mississippi), so I wouldn't be surprised if things were "shaken up" a bit.


Posts: 4437
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-17-2009 11:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They should send it my way then (we are west of the Mississippi and it can be reunited with one of its main parachutes)

New Member


posted 10-05-2009 01:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AeroSPACE   Click Here to Email AeroSPACE     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The GRC Visitor Center is still open, BUT will be closing it's doors to the public this Sunday October 11th after business hours. There will be a public announcement Friday the 9th to avoid too large of a crowd for the weekend, BUT I would greatly encourage all of those interested to visit this week / weekend.

It is a true shame that the NASA budget gets the zero respect it does. I have been going to Lewis / Glenn since kindergarten and this is robbery of our younger generations. If they don't know what opportunities and what lies beyond our horizons they will never have the vision and they will lose the dream!


Posts: 155
From: Olmsted Falls, Ohio U.S.A.
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 10-05-2009 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MB   Click Here to Email MB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Last week NASA Glenn's Community and Media Relations office (CMRO) had a Visitor Center (VC) closure get together for the volunteers and contractor staff to thank them for their service and to attempt to explain the reason for the closure.

I would first like to note how gracious the volunteers are. Most of them have been volunteers for over five years, and quite a few have been there for over ten years. Our most experienced volunteer "retired" last year after being a volunteer since 1985!

Also, the volunteers currently range from high school seniors to senior citizens; all of which know the true value of giving of themselves. If you happen to stop by the Visitor Center between now and October 11, please take the time to thank the volunteers for their service. Many of older members of the staff think that it is ironic that this is the first time in their lives that they have been "fired" from a position!

In an attempt to explain the closure of the VC, the acting External Affairs officer got up to explain that in this year's budget for NASA Glenn, the VC was "zeroed" out and that he was unable to acquire funds from the other divisions to keep it open, given the current budget.

As a result, NASA Glenn approached the Great Lakes Science Center about "hosting" the NASA Glenn Visitor Center. While this is still in final negotiations, the deal is basically a ten-year partnership.

The Great Lakes Science Center has been offered whatever VC exhibits that they would like to incorporate into an expanded area at their facility.

NASA Glenn is attempting to make arrangements for the new VC to still be "free" to at least disadvantaged school groups.

He then went on to say that the volunteers are more than welcome to approach to Great Lakes Science Center about volunteering at the new VC. He and the head of CMRO took pride in announcing that all of the contractor personnel currently working at the VC have been offered other contractor positions in the CMRO and Education Office.

Finally, it was announced that while the NASA Glenn VC would be moving to the Great Lakes Science Center, NASA Glenn will still maintain a "welcome center" in a portion of the existing VC (apparently this will be the lobby and auditorium portions of the existing VC). This new "welcome center" will be used to welcome guests during group tours of the Center and other special events unique to the Center.

CMRO will continue to support the existing traveling exhibits department and NASA Glenn's Speakers Bureau.

When asked why the VC needed to be moved downtown to the Great Lakes Science Center, the head of External Affairs and CMRO stated that attendance numbers are greater there than at the existing VC. They stated that they didn't think that they could ever attain the same attendance numbers by having the VC stay at NASA Glenn.

They also stated that with greater exposure at the Great Lakes Science Center, more people in Northeast Ohio would know about NASA Glenn and hopefully would stop making the comment "I didn't know that there is a NASA center in Cleveland!"

Many of us disagreed with this assessment that the VC at NASA Glenn could not have achieved greater numbers or have a more positive impact on the public's knowledge of our Center. Our proof has been the example of the Kansas Cosmosphere. Here you have a world class museum located away from a major city and they attract visitors from around the world.

I hope the people at the Cosmosphere do not take offense, this is actually meant as a compliment to your overall dedication, the fine manner in which you have upgraded and expanded your exhibits, the great programs you offer and the great way that you advertised your museum to the greater public. If CMRO had shown a similar effort in upgrading/expanding the VC exhibits and allow the VC to advertise like the other museums in Cleveland can, the VC staff is sure that we could have achieved greater success in attracting more visitors.

It is really sad that it wasn't until the last 10 months of its existence that the existing VC received over $150,000 to upgrade their exhibits, just in time to have them torn down and moved the the Science Center.

Finally, with regards to the "zeroing" of the existing VC budget, this could have been easily rectified by allowing the existing contract to charge a small admission fee. In addition, I find it ironic that NASA Glenn was unable to afford to operate its existing VC while NASA Goddard is planning a very large expansion of its Visitor Center.

That said, I do wish the new NASA Glenn Visitor Center at the Great Lakes Science Center the best and that they are able to inform more of the public of the work and accomplishments of NASA and of NASA Glenn in particular. The research done at NASA Glenn is extraordinary and I encourage all of you to learn more about the amazing work that the center and the Agency does. Ad Astra!


Posts: 90
From: Troy Michigan USA
Registered: May 2009

posted 10-28-2009 10:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MichaelD   Click Here to Email MichaelD     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Took a trip to the Glenn Research Center, very nice people working there but the visitor's center is now closed forever.

They (GRC) are working on a memorandum of understanding with the Cleveland Museum of Science and transfer all of their museum items there (to include the Skylab II capsule). They hope to have it signed in a week or two and movement completed by 4 to 5 months.

What do I mean by good people working there? Well, I saw a gentleman leaving and asked him how to get to the visitor's center as the road was closed. He felt bad we had drove so far and it was closed. He ran (literally) back to his office, found a poster and a signed STS-123 crew photo, brought it to us outside and gave it to my son so that he had something from the center.

I felt bad when I saw him hop into his car next to where we parked. Here he was trying to get somewhere in the middle of the day, but he was still kind enough to help out my kid.


Posts: 155
From: Olmsted Falls, Ohio U.S.A.
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 01-28-2010 08:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MB   Click Here to Email MB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The NASA Glenn Media Relations Office published the following release about the official closure of the Visitor Center and details on its transfer to the Great Lakes Science Center:
NASA Glenn Visitor Center Moves to Great Lakes Science Center

NASA's Glenn Research Center and Great Lakes Science Center have signed an agreement that names the Science Center as the official Visitor Center site for Glenn.

"This agreement with Great Lakes Science Center allows us to continue showcasing NASA's mission and accomplishments to the public," said GRC director Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr. "We are confident that giving our exhibits a new home will provide an opportunity for even more students and families to experience the excitement of aeronautics, scientific discovery and space exploration."

Skylab 3 at the NASA Glenn Visitor Center. Credit: NASA/GRC

"We are proud and excited to make a significant investment in a new NASA Glenn Visitor Center for Northeast Ohio and beyond," said Dr. Linda Abraham-Silver, President and CEO of the Science Center. "This is a wonderful opportunity for Great Lakes Science Center to introduce this remarkable Visitor Center to 300,000 annual visitors. We're looking forward to further enhancing the visitor experience by bringing our hallmark, public engagement and hands-on learning, to the new Visitor Center.

Under the terms of the 10-year Space Act Agreement, the Science Center will serve as Glenn's Visitor Center promoting and educating a regional and national audience about the importance of aeronautics, science and space exploration through NASA exhibits, educational tours, special events and outreach activities.

Aeronautics gallery at the NASA Glenn Visitor Center. Credit: NASA/GRC

Great Lakes Science Center will provide free admission to the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, along with free admission to the GLSC exhibits, to all youth (visitors 18 and under or any student up through 12th grade) accompanied by an adult on Tuesdays.

In addition, all Ohio Title I schools and schools that came to the Glenn Visitor Center in the past three years will be admitted free to the newly located Visitor Center any day of the week for school field trips. Special programming days are being planned each month by Great Lakes Science Center to deliver a particularly rich experience for these schools and their students. The programming will include staff-led activities and demonstrations to complement the NASA Glenn Visitor Center and Great Lakes Science Center's Return to the Moon gallery.

Free admission for students will begin once exhibits from NASA Glenn have been transferred to Great Lakes Science Center.

NASA Glenn Visitor Center. Credit: NASA/GRC

Great Lakes Science Center has plans to build an updated, interactive NASA Glenn Visitor Center, leveraging meaningful artifacts from Glenn's on-site Visitor Center -- such as the Apollo command module used on Skylab 3, which housed three astronauts and equipment needed for re-entry and splashdown -- to create new highly interactive exhibits. A major exhibition redevelopment, estimated at $3 million, is expected to open in 2011.

The NASA Glenn Visitor Center at the Science Center will be housed in 7,300 square feet of interior exhibit space and will utilize additional space including the OMNIMAX Theater and auditorium for special programs and events. An anticipated second phase of the new NASA Glenn Visitor Center will feature 4,000 square feet of outdoor exhibits and a towering rocket garden overlooking Lake Erie.

Approximately 20 exhibits from Glenn's on-site Visitor Center will be transported to and installed within the Great Lakes Science Center beginning in March 2010. The collection of exhibits to be moved in this first phase will include rocket models, a flight simulator and a solar array segment that was tested in a Glenn vacuum chamber. Additional exhibits will be transferred in phases as the Science Center expands the NASA Glenn galleries.

Some of the space used for Glenn's on-site Visitor Center will transition to a Glenn briefing center so that its award-winning outreach activities can continue to reach people through its Speakers Bureau Program, traveling exhibits, public tours, public inquiry services and publications.

The Great Lakes Science Center is one of the nation's leading science and technology centers, featuring hundreds of hands-on exhibits, themed traveling exhibits, daily demonstrations, the awe-inspiring OMNIMAX Theater and the Steamship William G. Mather. The Science Center is also home to Cleveland Metropolitan School district's MC²STEM High School freshmen class. The Science Center is open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with discounted parking available for guests in the attached 500-car garage.

NASA's John H. Glenn Research Center is one of NASA's 10 field centers, developing cutting-edge technologies and advancing scientific research that strive to further expand our knowledge of Earth and the universe. Founded in 1941 as part of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), today the center addresses national priorities in aeropropulsion, aerospace power, communications and human systems to create the next generation of safer, quieter, more efficient aircraft, and space vehicles. Working in partnership with government, industry and academia, Glenn helps to maintain the U.S. economy's global leadership while benefitting the lives of people everywhere.


Posts: 655
From: Norfolk, VA
Registered: May 2007

posted 01-29-2010 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Growing up in Cleveland, I've been to GRC several times, and as sad as I am seening the visitor's center close, it was a bit out of the way. The Great Lakes Scince Center is a much better location.


Posts: 89
From: Merritt Island, FL
Registered: Feb 2008

posted 01-29-2010 05:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AFGAS   Click Here to Email AFGAS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We've known this was coming, but sad all the same. Understandable in this age of heightened security that visitors on center should be restricted, and Great Lakes gets visitors on its own, so many more folks may be exposed to these exhibits. But having the ability to actually visit a NASA center is what some folks need to understand the importance of a vibrant space agency. This opportunity will be missed.

NASA Glenn

Posts: 79
From: Cleveland OH
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 02-03-2010 10:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NASA Glenn   Click Here to Email NASA Glenn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My children and I will truly miss the Glenn Visitor Center.

It is staffed by the most dedicated, helpful and friendly volunteers any organization could hope. Once a month, they patiently guided gleeful children in craft projects such as model moons, lunar landers, paper shuttles while applying the ever popular NASA meatball tattoos by the hundreds.

In sharp contrast to the current school of pre-digested "interactive exhibits" a visit to the former NASA Lewis and now NASA Glenn is a lot like rooting around in NASA's (and NACA's) attic.

The adventure began with a car search by security guards at the parking lot just off of the main gate. Unlike the unpleasant intrusions inflicted on all of us by the TSA, this is usually a pleasant wait, enlivened by watching loading of UPS air freight and takeoffs and landings on the adjacent runway of Cleveland Hopkins airport.

Once on base, the experience is much like a time machine. The campus of 1940's and 50's modern style yellow brick buildings, and massive hangar are threaded together by the enormous wind tunnel structures. Politely instructed to "FOLLOW THE BLUE LINE" (more like the yellow brick road to the Emerald City for me) you find the visitors' lot flanked with early Centaur and Agena rockets on display trailers.

The main lobby is encircled with hundreds of 1:72 scale aircraft and rocket models, all painted white forever flying tight formation and chronological order.

To the left is the auditorium, stage lined with vintage, handmade wooden rocket display models from NASA's earliest days, and space suited mannequins, one even in water-cooled longjohns. Real NASA Stuff, just standing there, not in glass cases or behind ropes, close enough to touch. That lack of separation is what I will really miss the most.

The highlight of the Visitor Center is the Apollo Command Module. It rotates slowly, and it isn't unusual to see people standing through several rotations to get peeks through the open hatch into the interior.

My kids could play for hours with the zero gravity drop demonstrator exhibit which lets them endlessly raise and drop a scale from a great height, culminating in a satisfying THUD.

Sometimes we would cajole a volunteer docent to let escort us up the long closed mezzanine exhibits, which included a Mars landscape built for a Sojourner exhibit and a massive 1:5 scale model of a lunar module.

No visit was complete without a a visit to the gift shop, and a little pouch of astronaut ice cream.

I plan to take my kids for one more visit, to a place we consider an old friend.

Glenn Murray
Cleveland OH

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