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Legacy of Education & Entertainment

The Shiras Planetarium has been educating and entertaining thousands of visitors per year since 1965. Grants and partnerships with strong community supporters have kept the planetarium thriving for over fifty eight years!

Scott Stobbelaar posing for picture

Current Equipment Status

The full dome digital projector ceased functioning seven years ago, leaving the planetarium reliant on the 1992 Minolta MS-8 star projector for ground-based celestial displays. In 2018, a laser system was introduced to sustain operations, with laser shows serving as the primary revenue source to cover operating expenses.

Shiras Logo with lasers

The Future is Bright!

Your support ensures a bright future for Shiras Planetarium, enhancing education and expanding high-quality programs. As the Upper Peninsula’s sole operational planetarium, we seek to upgrade our projection system and establish an endowment for future technology advancements, ensuring sustainability and growth.

Students under the planetarium lasers

Save the Shiras Planetarium!

The Friends of Shiras Planetarium is a group of community members dedicated to the long-term thriving of the facility. We are launching a capital campaign to raise $800,000 for a new digital projection system, with ongoing fundraising to establish an endowment for future tech needs. We’ve already secured $500,000, including $250,000 from the Shiras Institute and $250,000 from the State of Michigan. The funds from the state are set to expire in 2024.

To reach our $800,000 goal for the new projection system by the end of 2024, we’re seeking an additional $300,000. Any surplus funds will kickstart an essential endowment fund, ensuring long-term support for the planetarium.

Over eight years ago, the planetarium lost its digital projection equipment and resorted to technology purchased in the 1990s. The replacement of digital projection will considerably improve the facility’s educational programs, teaching capability, and entertainment capabilities. Every year, the planetarium serves over 60 classrooms and over 4000 public show guests! This update would enable them to broaden their reach!

Make a Donation

Checks may be written to “MAPS Education Foundation” with “Friends of Shiras Planetarium” listed as the memo line. Completed checks may be mailed to: P.O. Box 714, Marquette, MI 49855. Alternatively, you may make an electronic donation on the MAPS Education Foundation website below.

The Education Foundation for Marquette Public Schools is nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that supports the students and staff at Marquette Area Public Schools (MAPS). The Foundation provides this support by funding scholarships, grants and innovative projects- encouraging the development of projects that enhance learning experiences.

All contributions are tax deductible under the laws governing 501©3 organizations.

Thermometer Graphic for Fundraising
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Project Timeline

Project Timeline

Contact the Friends of Shiras Planetarium

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    Friends of Shiras Planetarium
    Board Members

    • President – Stephanie Jones
    • Vice President – Laura Reilly
    • Secretary – Ward Rantala
    • Treasurer – Yvonne Bonsall
    • Members At Large
    • Crystal Noble
    • Scott Stobbelaar
    • Eric Smith
    • Bill Digneit
    • Ex Officio Members
    • Becky LaBrecque
    • Brandon Wheeler