January 8, 2024
Concord, NH – In an exciting new partnership to make new discoveries in astronomy and space science accessible to New Hampshire families and visitors to the Granite State, Freedom Energy Logistics of Auburn, NH has adopted the planetarium at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. One of only four planetariums in North America with a 10K projection system, made possible by NASA funding secured by Senator Jeanne Shaheen in addition to funds from Freedom Energy Logistics and others, the Freedom Energy Logistics Planetarium also has all new seating and carpeting thanks to a corporate membership drive spearheaded by Freedom Energy Logistics CEO Bart Fromuth.
“After 32 years and two million visitors, our original planetarium seating and carpeting were more than ready to be retired – but we did not have the means to do so,” said Jeanne Gerulskis, executive director of the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. “With Freedom Energy Logistics’ generous gifts and dedicated efforts to involve friends and colleagues in supporting a complete renovation of our planetarium theater, our visitors can sit in comfort and be transported to distant planets, moons and stars, doing what Christa McAuliffe urged her students to do: Learn all we can about the universe in which we live.”
“We are delighted to play a part in encouraging those of all ages to engage in leading edge science in the museum dedicated to New Hampshire space pioneers Christa McAuliffe and Alan Shepard,” notes Bart Fromuth. “I will never forget my first visit to the planetarium as a student on a school field trip. The experience was transformative. As a father, I want that experience for my children. As a business leader, I want to encourage students of all ages to engage in science, technology, engineering, and math at the Discovery Center’s Freedom Energy Logistics Planetarium and be inspired to pursue careers in these fields.”
The Freedom Energy Logistics Planetarium originally opened in 1990 in a facility named the “Christa McAuliffe Planetarium”. In 2009, the original organization quadrupled in size, expanded its mission to include both Christa McAuliffe and her hero, Admiral Alan B. Shepard, Jr., and reopened as a 45,000-square-foot, two-story science museum. Its name was legally changed in April 2009 from the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium to the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. From 2009-2011, five key areas and several exhibits in the new museum were adopted by community-oriented corporations. The new three-year partnership between Freedom Energy Logistics and the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center has reopened the possibility of adopting and naming additional key spaces and activities in the center, ranging from a board room to a major function room to a science playground. Interested companies and individuals are invited to contact Executive Director Gerulskis at the Discovery Center for more information.
Pictured (L to R): Dan Cwalinski, Ashlynn Callery, Janice Johnston, CarolAnn Hibbard, August Fromuth, Jeanne Gerulskis, Bart Fromuth, Howard Plante, Kurt Chapman, Carol Anne Watts, Katherine Marinoff-Silk, Kelly Thompson