An Analysis Of Planetarium Program Content And The Classification Of Demonstrators' Questions
At the present time the great majority of prospective planetarium demonstrators will have to look to some form of self-instruction for their training. In a survey reported in 1960 the following question was asked: “ Have any of your demonstrators had previous
experience in planetariums, and if so, where, and for how long?”
In the museum area twenty-five of twenty-nine replies indicated that the demonstrators had no previous experience, but of the other four they ranged from brief experience of one or two seasons to several years’ experience. Of seventeen college-level replies, fourteen had no previous experience, but one demonstrator reported twenty-seven years’ experience in planetariums. Service schools (Army, Navy, etc.) reported no previous experience in seven of eight replies.
Two out of three board of education demonstrators and four out of five high school demonstrators reported no previous experience.*
The most practical training would seem to involve the visitation of operating planetariums. It has been suggested that there are dangers if the opportunities for such visits are few. Most prominent is the danger of ‘‘inbreeding.” The use of a limited number of models could result in stereotyped planetarium presentations for an entire geographic area.
Since a demonstrator is limited in the number of planetarium visits he may make, the plan of collecting tape recordings of planetarium programs was conceived. It has been established that the demonstrator’s need for content variety lies in the area of school
group programs. A collection of recordings of school group planetarium lectures should prove valuable to the prospective planetarium demonstrator. The benefits to a listener of a collection of such tapes would be obvious and immediate. These benefits can be given an even wider reception if the astronomy content of the tapes can be analyzed in a meaningful way and prepared for printed distribution. The main purpose of the present study is to analyze the astronomy content of school group planetarium programs.