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Sydney Observatory’s New East Dome Makes the Stars Accessible to Everyone

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22 February 2015

A momentous event for accessibility took place recently and despite the significance of this event, it was very hardly picked up in the media. Hopefully this helps draw more attention to the fact that Sydney Observatory has made accessibility integral to its new East Dome, hence maximising the opportunity for people with a disability to enjoy, learn and expland on their understanding of astrology and the universe.

A momentous event for accessibility took place recently and despite the significance of this event, it was very hardly picked up in the media.  We thought it was too big to miss and as such have provided a copy of the media release below.  Hopefully this helps draw more attention to the fact that Sydney Observatory has made accessibility integral to its new East Dome, hence maximising the opportunity for people with a disability to enjoy, learn and expland on their understanding of astrology and the universe.  Being a heritage building of such significance, this is a huge step forward in making our buildings accessible to all.

MEDIA RELEASE

20 February, 2015

Sydney Observatory’s new East Dome makes the stars accessible to everyone

The most significant change to Sydney Observatory in 50 years has been unveiled. The new East Dome, a purpose built telescope dome and the third dome at Sydney Observatory, has been specifically designed to accommodate people with limited mobility, making the enjoyment of viewing the planets and stars accessible to everyone.

Minister for Disability Services, the Hon. John Ajaka MLC, officially opened the new steel and glass building located on the eastern side of the Observatory. The East Dome houses the original, fully restored, metal dome (removed from the site in 1986) and the spectacular astrographic telescope (star camera) used for decades to map the Southern sky.

East Dome also offers a new, state of the art telescope with a specially designed articulated relay eyepiece that is easily adjustable to different heights for full accessibility when viewing the sky. This telescope is one of several in the world and the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. People with mobility restrictions, who were previously unable to climb the stairs to the existing telescopes will be able to use a lift for easy access inside the East Dome.

On display inside the building will be an interpretive exhibition, ‘Accessing the Sky’, showcasing the site’s substantial heritage.

“The opening of this new dome means older people and people with disability can now really reach for the stars,” Mr Ajaka said. “Inclusive communities make life more manageable and enjoyable, and enable all people to lead active lives and access their community, easily and safely.”

“The East Dome provides an unparalleled experience to view the night sky. It provides a new destination for the people of NSW and a significant drawcard for tourists,” said Rose Hiscock, Director, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.

The East Dome construction is a joint project between the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Ageing, Disability and Home Care.

Media contact:

Emma Heath M: 0413 768 588 E: emma.heath@bigpond.com

Editor’s Note:  Sydney Observatory, alongside the Powerhouse Museum and Discovery Centre, is part of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), Australia’s contemporary museum for excellence and innovation in applied arts and sciences. Built in 1858, Sydney Observatory is one of the most significant sites in the nation’s scientific history. It is recognised as an item of ‘state significance’ by the New South Wales Government and is heritage listed.

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