Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's been a long journey, but it's here

Moon rock, other items on display at library

May 21, 2007

ELGIN -- A rock that's traveled from the Moon to the Earth on an Apollo rocket had problems Sunday making it to its next, local destination.

Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library public relations director, and her husband were given the task of driving a 24-foot rental moving truck filled with space capsule models and other replicas from Cleveland's NASA Glenn Research Center back to Elgin. The Raleighs were warned by the rental company that the truck's gas gauge was a little wonky. But they weren't prepared for a grinding halt in the middle of Interstate 90 somewhere in Indiana when the truck's gas tank ran out.

Not only did the couple have replicas from NASA's Gemini and Mercury missions, they also were carrying a nearly-priceless moon rock.

These items, direct from the NASA research center, will join an exhibit that arrived at the library Sunday. "Space: Dare to Dream," officially will open at the Elgin-area library on June 2. Although workers from Evergreen Exhibitions, the exhibit's creators, will erecting the display over the next few weeks, the actual display won't be "turned on" until June, said Karen Make, assistant director.

Although the bulk of the four-month exhibit comes from Evergreen, the library had secured additional pieces from NASA. The library also is working with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Adler Planetarium and other area scientific organizations to provide even more offerings during the exhibit's stay.

Lady, you don't understand
When Raleigh was waiting for the NASA pieces to be loaded onto the rental truck, she asked if the moon rock could go on first, she said on a cell phone call from the interstate. The person in charge of the loading laughed.

"He said 'Lady, you don't understand. it has to stay with you at all times.'"

Since then, Raleigh said, it has been.

"I took it to lunch with me, and it was under my bed last night," Raleigh said. while on display at Gail Borden, the rock will go into a safe each night.

So, the rock, along with the Raleighs, spent two hours waiting for the rental company to come along to repair the truck -- but all it needed was a tank of gas, she laughed. "someone said never to trust those things on those trucks," she said of the wonky gas gauge.

Also in the truck, and now in Elgin, were an inflatable 35-foot space shuttle replica, a 1/3 scale model of a Mercury space capsule, a Gemini space capsule model, and ion engine model, and a Feel the Lift wing exhibit.

In that exhibit, Raleigh said, a person can put on "wings" and have air blown at them. Arms, she said, begin to lift from the forced air.

"I have two huge crates -- a full load," Raleigh said.

The crates Raleigh delivered will join three semi-trailers full of exhibit pieces delivered to the library on Sunday. In addition to the Evergreen Exhibits personnel, the St. Edward High School football team was on hand to help carry crates into the library.

Some of the crates were huge and had to be lifted off the truck and into the library by hand.

"The bigger it is, the more bodies we put on it, 12 or 15 guys," said football coach Mike Rolando.

Dave Thompson of Evergreen Exhibits has put up and torn down this exhibit five or six times since 2002, when first shown in Seattle. Since then, it also has shown in Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Detroit and Raleigh, N.C. Elgin, however, has just half the 12,000 square-foot display -- the other half is in Indianapolis.

One of the highlights of the space-themed exhibit will be a 20-foot replica of a Saturn 5 rocket, used to launch the Apollo space missions to the moon.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Final frontier coming soon to Gail Borden

May 18, 2007

ELGIN -- Gail Borden Public Library's marketing director today will go where no local library marketing director has gone before.

Denise Raleigh will be greeted at the Cleveland airport at 10 a.m. by NASA employees. She'll be escorted to a U-Haul rental office, where a 24-foot-long truck will be waiting. She'll go to NASA's Glenn Research Center and load into this truck "rocketry of all kinds," Raleigh said.

"When you're going to NASA, might as well get all you can," she said.

Among the precious cargo will be a 35-foot-tall inflatable rocket and, most valuable of all, a rock taken from the surface of the moon.

Raleigh and her husband -- because they had passed NASA background and security checks -- will drive these goods nearly 400 miles back home. More NASA inventory is coming from California, and three semitrailers full of stuff will be unpacked by volunteers this weekend at the library.

The pieces will be on display June 2 to Sept. 23 as part of the "Space: Dare to Dream" exhibit.

This kind of program is indicative of what libraries today can and should provide to their communities, said Executive Director Carole Medal.

"A library is not just about books." Recreational and entertainment programs and exhibits foster learning and literacy in library patrons, she said.

"They want to learn more about (space), they turn around and here are books and materials for them to go to," Medal said.

"This is not just a place to house the traditional library materials. We feel like we're charged with utilizing the facility to the nth degree."

Lunar sample 60015.85 is not a traditional library item.

The 129-gram rock was cut from a larger sample picked up in the Descartes Highlands area of the moon during an Apollo 16 mission, said NASA exhibits specialist Dwayne Hunt.

"First of all, it's irreplaceable, until we can actually go back to the moon," Hunt said of the rock's worth. If forced to do the math, he said, one could assume lunar samples are worth more than $8 million an ounce.

Also worth quite a bit is a firsthand account from an astronaut. Medal is working on procuring a guest speaker. She can't divulge names but said she may get a working astronaut to visit Gail Borden.

"We have all of our fingers and toes crossed."

The library foundation will host a preview of the exhibit from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 1. Tickets are $30 for individuals, $50 for couples and $100 for families. Proceeds benefit the new branch being planned for the city's west side.

For more information, call the library's information desk at (847) 429-4680.

Get ready to blast off at Elgin library’s newest exhibit

Sue Moylan

As you’re reading this, the Space: Dare to Dream exhibit is being unloaded at the Gail Borden Public Library. Service clubs and volunteers from St. Edward Catholic High School’s football team are getting the panels and pieces of the exhibit off the truck.

In the 10 days all will be assembled. If you are a carpenter or just very handy and can spare some time, call Miriam Lytle at (847) 608-5027 to find out when and where you can help this coming week.

On June l the library foundation will put on Launch the Branch, a sneak preview of the exhibit.

From 7 to 9 p.m., you will be able to see the Saturn Five Rocket Rumble and the Mission to the Moon. Bring your cameras for a photo-op of yourself in a spacesuit! There is a Rocket Ride for children.

A dessert bar has been prepared by Rebecca Albert and beverages will be available. All proceeds will be used to purchase CDs, books and DVDs for the branch library. Reservations are requested and can be made by calling (847) 742-2411.

The next day at the grand opening, Joan Berna, outgoing president of the library board, Toya Randall, a representative of the Grand Victoria Foundation, and Marlene Shales, president of the foundation, will cut the ribbon for the public exhibit. I understand that the book cart drill team will have a new routine to honor the occasion!

Space exhibit lands in Elgin

Summer reading program will be tied in with show

By Lenore T. Adkins
Posted Monday, May 21, 2007

A space shuttle has finally landed in Elgin — at the Gail Borden Public Library.

Sunday was move-in day for the “Space: Dare to Dream” exhibition, previously viewed in Seattle, St. Louis, Detroit and Tampa, Fla.

In conjunction with NASA and beginning in June, the library will present four months of displays and events, including a simulator of the Saturn V rocket and “Forest of Dreams,” a multimedia presentation of a night sky.

There will be a priceless moon rock that Denise Raleigh, the library’s director of communications, guarded with her life while she drove it and other materials to Elgin from the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

“I’ve got the moon rock at my feet!” Raleigh said via cell phone.

Astronaut Janice Voss also is expected to talk about her experiences. And Paul Tombaugh, whose cousin Clyde discovered Pluto, is expected to bring handmade telescopes and letters that belonged to his famous cousin. As a recently retired teacher from Elgin Area School District U-46, Paul Tombaugh brings a local angle to the exhibit, officials said.

Moreover, the space theme will carry over into the library’s summer reading program, “Mission: Read,” and a fundraiser called “Launch the Branch,” said Miriam Lytle, the library’s assistant director of communications and program coordinator.

From now through the end of the month, workers from Evergreen Exhibitions, the Texas-based company that owns the exhibit, will put it together for its Elgin debut.

The out-of-this-world exhibit is a follow-up to the library’s wildly successful dinosaur exhibit, which attracted numerous volunteers, international guests and many awards.

The hit dinosaur exhibit, which closed in 2005, drew 320,000 visitors to the library, cementing it as a local destination, officials said.

Karen Maki, the library’s assistant director, said the exhibit brought renewed interest in the library. Last year, 750,000 people entered the sprawling facility to see what else it had to offer, she said.

Officials hope the space exhibit, larger in scale than the one on dinosaurs, takes off with the same vigor and enthusiasm.

Meanwhile, as with any move-in day, there was one minor snafu.

One portion of the exhibit, “Ancient Cosmology,” that features six 10-foot walls of a replica interpretation of the stars ala Stonehenge, couldn’t go upstairs as planned because the ceilings were an inch too low, said Dave Thompson, lead technician for Evergreen Exhibitions.

He said the walls will likely be displayed in the lobby.

“We’re hoping they can stay right there, but we’ll see,” he said.

Gail Borden plans massive space exhibit this summer

By Rob Phillips
Daily Herald Staff Writer
Posted Wednesday, April 25, 2007

When Gail Borden Public Library staff questioned a second-grade class in 2005 about how they liked its popular and highly successful dinosaur exhibit, they also asked for suggestions on future demonstrations.

“One boy stood up and said, ‘you have to do something on space!” said Joan Berna, president of the library’s board.

Boy, did they ever listen.

In conjunction with NASA, Gail Borden will present four months of displays, simulators and interactive events in their 2007 exhibit, “Space: Dare to Dream.”

The space theme will carry over into the library’s summer reading program “Mission: Read,” and a fundraiser for the district’s first branch “Launch the Branch.”

“This all helps literacy,” said Carole Medal, the library’s executive director. “It is going to lead them to be more inspired to read. When people learn more about something they want to read more about it.”

The exhibit will include a simulator of the Saturn V rocket and “Forest of Dreams,” a multimedia presentation of a night sky. Patrons can pose in astronaut uniforms and ask questions of volunteers, some of whom will be dressed in authentic replicas of Galileo’s attire.

Parts of the exhibit have been traveling the country since it was created in 2003. Other cities where it has been displayed are Detroit, Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati.

“Just look at all these major cities,” Medal said. “And now we can add Elgin to that list.”

The Grand Victoria Foundation is paying for $150,000 of the exhibit, officials said. Other costs — which will be covered by the library’s fundraising body — will include shipping some of the exhibits to Elgin and possibly paying for an astronaut to speak at the library.

“Elgin has been a community that has redefined itself for years,” said Nancy Fishman, executive director of the Grand Victoria Foundation. “I don’t know if there is any library that has redefined itself from the traditional libraries as much as this one has.”

Gail Borden to launch new space exhibit

Courier News
April 25, 2007
BY Charity Bonner Staff Writer

ELGIN -- Sometimes big ideas come from tiny people. A second-grader who came to the "GIANTS: African Dinosaurs" exhibit inspired organizers at Gail Borden Public Library when he told organizers they should do an exhibit on space.

This experience birthed the idea for "SPACE: Dare to Dream," which will open at the library on June 2. The exhibit will highlight space exploration from ancient civilizations to the time of Galileo to modern times.

SPACE will feature a multimedia presentation stretching through the rotundas on the first floor, and lacing through the youth, adult and reference sections upstairs. The exhibit escorts visitors through history from the Ancient Cosmology section, which shows how early civilizations viewed space, through the modern space age. Galileo's Studio will combine scientific displays with historic characters, when a costumed Galileo guides people through the exhibit, giving them a look through a replica of Galileo's telescope.

Presentations will be educational as well as interactive. "Mission: Read" summer reading program will open simultaneously with the exhibit to encourage literacy, and the Saturn V space shuttle will offer a pulsating rumble in a pre-launch rocket meant to simulate the view from hundreds of feet above ground.

Primary funding for the exhibit came from a $150,000 grant from the Grand Victoria Foundation, but NASA and local organizations contributed as well. NASA's contributions include large models of a lunar lander, an early computer game where the goal was to correctly land a lunar module on the surface of the moon, a Gemini rocket and a moon rock. NASA also is donating the transportation costs associated with the exhibit. Additional partnership is coming from Sci-Tech, Adler Planetarium, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Planetary Foundation, Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, and Orbit Elgin cultural institutions.

Evergreen Exhibits, one of the world's premier providers of traveling museum exhibits, created the exhibit. "SPACE" debuted at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle in 2003 and has been shown in places such as the Cincinnati Museum Center. This will be the seventh time the exhibit has been shown.

Community impact
Gail Borden organizers of the exhibit hope it will spur growth and more visitation to Elgin's downtown area as the "GIANTS" exhibit did in 2005 with the Elgin Area Dig It, a program where Gail Borden partnered with area businesses to encourage visitors to GIANTS to eat and shop in downtown. The exhibit attracted more than 300,000 visitors. Orbit Elgin is the new equivalent to Dig It. Visitors to the exhibit who patronize other area organizations or museums will be able to enter a raffle and win a prize. The prize for the Dig It raffle was an iPod donated by Steve and Ruth Munson.

"We intend for this exhibit to have the same spirit as 'GIANTS.' We want it to economically impact the businesses in downtown Elgin. We want everyone to share in the limelight ... This is a really nice gift, and we view it as a gift to the community, not just the library," said Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden's public information officer.

Toya Randall, the Grand Victoria Foundation's director of Elgin programs, sees the partnership as beneficial to Elgin's downtown.

"This can be the entry point which enables people to find out what else is happening in Elgin," Randall said.

Gail Borden Public Library Press Release (pdf)