Welcome to the Hayden Panettierium, by Kathryn Doyle

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Thank you for visiting the Hayden Panettierium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History. I, planetarium director Hayden Panettiere, am delighted to welcome you to our Department of Astrophysics.

Former director Neil deGrasse Tyson has taken a full-time position trolling nerds online, and as his successor I vow to bring the breadth of my experience as an actress, model, singer, and activist to the role.

Unlike Neil, I have not been awarded a Medal of Excellence from Columbia University, or a NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. But in 2011, I played Kirby Reed in the film Scream 4, which took place largely at night. Night, as we know, is where space lives. At age 10, I appeared in the Disney feature film Remember the Titans. And of course, my name is similar to the name of the facility, so it was a natural fit. You will find a list of my additional qualifications in the “About Us” tab.

On a personal note, this opportunity is truly a thrill for me. You may be wondering how I, a notably short person, could be so attuned to the sky, being even slightly further away from it than most people are. In fact, this is the source of my fascination! For as long as I can remember, I have been gazing upward, whether it was at a shelf of medium height or at the cosmos itself. What is going on up there? What are those curious points of light? Recent data suggest these heavenly bodies may even be moving about independently! How can this be possible, given that the best available evidence supports our conception of the firmament as an upside-down spaghetti strainer?

As planetarium director I am excited to answer these questions and so many more.

More than a space theater or a building, New York City’s Hayden Panetttierium enjoys a proud legacy that has blended scientific scholarship with innovative public outreach since 1935. In addition to our beloved permanent exhibits like the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Hall of the Universe and the Harriet and Robert Heilbrunn Cosmic Pathway, we will introduce rotating special exhibits, including “If The Earth Isn’t Flat How Do We Stand On It?” and “The Exoplanets That Look Most Like Nashville.”

We want to hear from you! If you have questions or comments about any of our exhibits, tweet at @haydenpanettier and one of our research scientists will DM you in three to six business days.

Please don’t forget to visit the very large screen in the Space Theater on your way out! I’ve been appearing on screens since my first TV commercial at the age of 11 months, and I can tell you the screen we have here is one of the largest I’ve ever seen, in terms of size.

Yours in space,

Hayden Panettiere

Kathryn Doyle is a comedy writer in L.A. whose work has appeared in The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and on the show Adam Ruins Everything. Her twitter is @doyleschmoyle.

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