2021 SUCCESSES + 2022 PROJECTS

We built:
-A new roof with 83 solar panels to generate power to the Observatory and EV charging stations
-New parking lot where rainwater runoff passes through water-filtering retention ponds filled with native plants
-Dark-skies compliant lighting in the parking lot
-Bluebird habitat houses placed across our fifty acres
-A Frederick Law Olmsted room in celebration of his 200th birthday and our fifty acres of landscape design
We restored:
-A large portion of the Observatory's facade and parapet (Marion Restoration)
-The Carrara marble on the walls in the entryways, rotunda, and main corridors (Conrad Schmitt Conservation Studio)
-The three original clocks in the rotunda and eastern corridor (Patrick Myers)
-The pendant lights in the rotunda and library (Jeremy Popelka)
We planted: 
-A six-acre pollinator prairie (Midwest Prairies and Jensen Ecology)
-Dozens of new specimen trees after removing dozens of dead or diseased trees
-Thousands of deer-resistant daffodil bulbs
-A welcome garden set to bloom in spring along Geneva Street
We work every day on:
-ADA-compliant family and individual restrooms (Abacus Architects)
-Restoring spaces for a welcome center, lecture and meeting room, and family room for weddings
-Restoring the terrazzo floors
-Restoring skylights which were covered over forty years ago
-Renovating the 1896 Morgan House for visiting scientists, authors, artists, and composers to reside while creating, researching, studying, and teaching
-Transforming the dilapidated garage into working studios for visiting artists and writers
-Building a new website and comprehensive social media campaign
-Readying for tours, weddings, concerts, speakers, exhibits, conferences, performances, and astronomy research and education

Restoration in Progress!

  • Volunteers gathered for a summer workday on the Olmsted Landscape at Yerkes

    Volunteers gathered for a summer workday on the Olmsted Landscape at Yerkes

  • New display lighting in the Observatory Library

    New display lighting in the Observatory Library

  • A conservatory from Conrad Schmitt studio in Milwaukee working to clean interior marble walls.

    A conservator from Conrad Schmitt studio in Milwaukee working to clean interior marble walls.

  • A poultice test being applied to the marble that lines the hallways at the Observatory; the poultice will draw out the iron staining you can see covering much of the Carrara marble.

    A poultice test being applied to the marble that lines the hallways at the Observatory; the poultice will draw out the iron staining you can see covering much of the Carrara marble.

  • Damaged terracotta and stone elements from the building facade awaiting transport to the Chicago restoration studio, where they'll be cleaned, repaired, and readied for reinstallation at the Observatory.

    Damaged terracotta and stone elements from the building facade awaiting transport to the Chicago restoration studio, where they'll be cleaned, repaired, and readied for reinstallation at the Observatory.

  • Testing floor stains and finishes. Decades worth of vinyl tile, carpet, and other floor finishes have been removed throughout the building.

    Testing floor stains and finishes. Decades worth of vinyl tile, carpet, and other floor finishes have been removed throughout the building.

  • Wisconsin Rep. Amy Loudenbeck on a recent tour of the Observatory with Director Dennis Kois.

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May 2021 - Restoration Update

Major work is underway as spring weather arrives and the focus of the building restoration shifts from inside to outside.

Parapets are being disassembled for preservation and reconstruction, we're creating a new 55 space parking lot with charging stations for visitors (both L2 and Tesla), new walkways are being poured, the landscape is being restored and new plantings going in (some of which you will soon be able to see from the front of our property on Geneva Street), and decades of water that soaked the brick facades continues to dry out.

Soon we'll begin putting a new roof on the Observatory building, and inside the building hardwood floors are being stained and light fixtures are going in.

And for the first time this year we opened the great dome to let some fresh air and sunshine in on the still-wrapped "Great Refractor" telescope.

Thanks to everyone who has supported the Yerkes Future Foundation in these efforts so far.

*all photos (except telescope) courtesy of Ideal Impressions/Ryan Bensheimer

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Yerkes Added to list of Wisconsin Nonprofits to be Powered by Renewable Energy through Solar

Click here for more info.
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It Takes a Team!

Check out some photos from our great team!
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Masonry Work

Yerkes is currently undergoing some masonry work on the exterior of the building
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Comet Neowise!

Here are some recently taken pictures from Yerkes Observatory by Karol Kimura and Vivian Hoette from Illinois

Yerkes Observatory in the News

Check out the following links to hear about Yerkes Observatory in the news! CBS: https://www.cbs58.com/news/science-history-locals-band-together-to-save-yerkes-observatory WISN: https://www.wisn.com/article/yerkes-s-new-owners-have-new-plan/33174459#