Scale model of Hubble coming to Hillsboro


County museum will host exhibit for first time on west coast

Crates containing the makings of an exhibit featuring a scale model of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope arrived at the Washington County Museum yesterday (Oct. 9). The telescope, responsible for capturing images from the far reaches of the cosmos for the past 12 years, will make its debut appearance in the Pacific Northwest at the Washington County Museum in November.

The 2,500-square-foot exhibit promises to immerse visitors in the mysterious photos taken by the tool that can peer 13.2 billion years into the past, while explaining how the telescope operates and its contributions to the exploration of space.

The exhibit will also feature the James Webb Space Telescope, the Hubble's successor expected to launch in 2014. Video games, videos and displays provide visitors with the opportunity to learn about telescope's inner-workings and the new technology that scientists expect to be even more effective than before.

“To have such a fascinating exhibit on display for the Hillsboro community, the Portland metropolitan area and the entire state of Oregon is especially significant,” said Sam Shogren, executive director of the Washington County Museum.

The museum staff has been working hard to receive the American Alliance of Museum's accreditation, which would allow the museum to host more high profile exhibits in the future.

"We are very excited; they don't just give this to anyone. We've been wanting to be on the Smithsonian Institute's Traveling Exhibit Service for years," said Washington County Marketing Specialist Krissy Rowan. "The Smithsonian has offered to give us more shows in the future."

As part of the exhibit, NASA engineers who worked on the Hubble will come to the museum to speak, and aerospace engineer Russell Werneth is scheduled to appear at Forest Grove's Neil Armstrong Middle School.

The Washington County Museum's new space recently donated by the city of Hillsboro will host the exhibit, although the space's grand opening isn't expected until 2014 and it is still "raw" according to Rowan.

“Technology and innovation are the backbone of Washington County’s Silicon Forest,” said Shogren. “We saw a natural fit with the Hubble Space Telescope, a masterpiece of engineering, and the historically deep tech roots right here in Washington County.”

"Hubble Space Telescope: New Views of the Universe" at the Hillsboro Civic Center will open Saturday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. The museum will be open Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The presentation of this exhibit is made possible by Pamplin Media Group, Mentor Graphics Corporation, FEI Company, C.F. Plastics Inc. and Henningsen Cold Storage.