In 1952, teenager Jon Buhler and his friends formed the Memphis Astronomical Society (M.A.S.). The following year, MAS asked the city of Memphis to install a planetarium at the Pink Palace Museum.
In 1954, MAS arranged for Spitz (a world-leading manufacturer of planetariums and equipment) to set up a portable planetarium in the basement of the Museum for 35 civic leaders. Inspired by the success of event, the Memphis Parks Commission voted to buy the planetarium equipment. The planetarium opened December 12th of that year with bench seating for 60 people. The original Spitz model A-1 projector is now on display in the Pink Palace Mansion at the Museum.
In 1978, a new planetarium opened in its current location. In September of 1996, the planetarium was renamed the Lida Gammill Sharpe planetarium. In 1998, the planetarium was renovated and upgraded with new sound and automation systems.
Today, our 145-seat theater-in-the-round immerses you in a totally new level of sight, sound, and comfort. The dome is 50 feet in diameter and reaches 32.5 feet off-of-floor. The screen area is 3, 925 square feet, making it the largest projection screen in Memphis!
The Pink Palace Museum is proud to partner with AutoZone in the AutoZone Dome at the Sharpe Planetarium!