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Robert Ferguson Observatory joins Museums for All

The Robert Ferguson Observatory has joined Museums for All, a signature access program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Association of Children’s Museums, to encourage people of all backgrounds to visit museums regularly and build lifelong museum-going habits.

With the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, visitors may attend a public star party for free for up to four people. Similar free and reduced admission is available to eligible members of the public at hundreds of museums across the country. Museums for All is part of Robert Ferguson Observatory’s broad commitment to seek, include, and welcome all audiences.

“The past two years of financial difficulty from canceled programs and events due to COVID have forced us to nominally increase costs for our visitors,” explains Stephanie Derammelaere, executive director of the observatory. “However, at the same time we want to ensure that nobody in our community is prevented from benefiting from our astronomy-based education and experiences. Joining Museums for All allows us to further our mission of offering outreach-based astronomy and science programs to all members of the public.”

The Robert Ferguson Observatory is located in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Kenwood. Because of its relationship with Team Sugarloaf, the five partners that manage the state park, RFO is able to extend the Museums for All benefit to parking. EBT cardholders will also receive free parking in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park for the duration of the public star party. The next public star party is set for Saturday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m.

Museums for All helps expand access to museums and also raise public awareness about how museums in the U.S. are reaching their entire communities. More than 800 institutions participate in the initiative, including art museums, children’s museums, science centers, botanical gardens, zoos, history museums and more. Participating museums are located nationwide, representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Robert Ferguson Observatory is run by the Valley of the Moon Observatory Association, a nonprofit, and has offered outreach-based astronomy and science programs to the public for almost 25 years. RFO is almost all-volunteer run and typically serves about 9,000 visitors annually. The observatory houses a 40-inch reflector telescope, the largest telescope in Northern California that is accessible to the public, along with a slew of other stargazing equipment.

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