On Thursday January 22nd 2009, the Ghana Planetarium was officially opened by the British High Commissioner, His Excellency, Dr Nicholas Westcott. In attendance were the French Ambassador, the Chief of Nungua and his entourage, The British Council Director, and Dave Weinrich from Minnesota who made this project possible.
Follow this link for an Interview with Jacob Ashong about the Ghana Science Project: http://www.scalingtheuniverse.com/video.php#GHANA
2009 was the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) and the Ghana Science Project was the national node for Ghana.
Planetarium Director Dave Weinrich of Minnesota State University and Joanne Young of Audio Visual Imagineering Inc. helped Dr Ashong make the Ghana Science Project a reality.
Planetarium Coordinator Dave Weinrich, a member of the governing council of the International Planetarium Society and currently the President, has had a special interest in developing countries since his service in the Peace Corps in Liberia and Ghana some years ago. On a personal trip to West Africa in 2006 he met Jacob for the first time after communicating from time to time via an email group for Astronomy enthusiasts. Jacob had written to Dave about his dream of building Ghanas first science centre and his vision included a planetarium.
The following excerpt is from the December 2007 issue of the IPS journal, the Planetarian. President Susan Reynolds Button writes about the project that Dave and others were undertaking to help Dr. Ashong accomplish his dream."
"As part of the Outreach Committees efforts to assist planetariums in developing countries, David Weinrich reports, We have been talking about ways of helping astronomy educators in developing countries for the past two years. Now we are ready for a pilot project that we hope will lead to future astronomical outreach to many developing countries.
"As part of this pilot project a refurbished Mediaglobe digital projector will be donated by Joanne Young at Audio Visual Imagineering, Inc. (AVI) to the Ghana Science Center in Africa. The science center will provide funding for shipping it from Orlando, Florida to Ghana. They will also provide a dome for the projector, identify local science teachers or astronomy enthusiasts who can be trained to operate the system and give shows and provide funding for the training."
"Dave explains, We felt that it is especially important that there be active involvement of personnel and resources from Ghana. They have to be involved in the planning, the implementation and the future operation of the planetarium.
We believe that it is especially important that local personnel be trained to run the planetarium and that there is adequate documentation of the project for media presentations and for reports to the International Planetarium Society.
"Congratulations to David and Joanne for getting this project off the ground. Thank you Joanne for your generosity too, this could not happen without you. Congratulations also to the Ghana Science Center as the recipient of this gift and for Jacob Ashongs efforts to make this happen. I eagerly look forward to progress reports about this pilot project and hope that this will be the first of many such initiatives."
"Contact Information:David Weinrich (email@example.com) Project Coordinator."
"Jacob Ashong (firstname.lastname@example.org) Ghana Science Center."