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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Herrett Planetarium – a Walk Down Memory Lane

Author: Mark Dixon
Sunday, July 9, 2006
9:00 pm

We are just concluding a Dixon family vacation road trip from Arizona to Idaho and Utah to visit extended family and friends. One of my favorite vacation stops was at the Herrett Center for the Arts and Science on the campus of the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, Idaho.

We all enjoyed a star show in the modern planetarium and entertained the grandkids in the small, but enjoyable science museum that was also housed in the new Herrett Center.

But my favorite moments were spent reminiscing about the old Herrett Center I first visited as a 13-year-old eighth grader at Richfield, Idaho, elementary school. The whole eighth grade class (all 14 of us) got on a bus and travelled 40 miles to the big city of Twin Falls (about 20,000 population at the time) to visit the Herrett Arts and Science Center located adjacent to Herrett Jewelry Store. Mr. Norman Herrett, an amateur astronomer and scientist, built his own telescopes, a small planetarium and star projector, and invited school classes and other amateur star gazers to learn about science at his little facility. For me, it was a grand adventure that helped reinforce my interest in the sciences. I would return several times over the next few years, always grateful for the opportunity to visit such a fascinating place.

Now, so many years later, we revisited this pivotal point in my history. I don’t think Herrett’s Jewelry Store exists any more, but the fruits of Norman’s generosity continue to blossom. My twelve year old daughter Holly is standing beside the original star projector made by Mr. Herrett. It is fitting that this machine is housed just outside the entrance to the modern planterium that exists because of his vision and financial support. This might just look like a pile of old electronics stuff to the uninformed, but I’ll always treasure my memories of the old Herrett plantarium and museum.

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