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Lincoln Highway museum plans 'Starry, Starry Night'

| Wednesday, March 11, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

Inspired by Vincent van Gogh's famous painting “The Starry Night,” the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor cordially invites the public to partake in a unique star-themed experience.

Slated for 7 p.m. March 25, the evening will include a self-guided tour of the museum, a planetarium visit and the opportunity for attendees to create their own version of “Starry Night.”

“The 19th-century Dutch artist once said, ‘I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day,' and it is with that notion in mind that we created an event to appreciate a starry night,” museum assistant Kelsey Harris said.

Tickets are $10 per person and preregistration is required on or before March 20.

“We wanted to offer guests a unique, night time Lincoln Highway experience under the stars,” Harris said.

The event will begin with a star-gazing experience at Saint Vincent College's Angelo J. Taiani Planetarium, where attendees will be treated to a digital simulation of both the daytime and nighttime sky.

The planetarium is one of the college's newest scientific outreach facilities, according to Dr. John Smetanka, academic dean and vice president for academic affairs.

“The planetarium allows us to present a wide-variety of astronomy and astrophysics-themed shows to stimulate interest in science and an appreciation of the natural world that surrounds us,” Smetanka said.

Shows at the planetarium provide basic instruction to begin to explore the night time sky as well as conveying the most recent scientific discoveries that deepens the understanding of the universe.

“The planetarium show for the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor is very exciting for us,” Smetanka said. “Saint Vincent's long history in the region as a cultural, religious, and educational institution combined with our location along the Lincoln Highway makes it a natural destination.”

LHHC executive director Olga Herbert said she and her family recently enjoyed Smetanka's memorable presentation and she is excited to share the experience with others.

Upon arrival at LHHC, participants will view a PowerPoint on the life of Vincent van Gogh and discuss the importance of his painting “The Starry Night.”

Following the viewing, participants are invited to use preprinted paper, pastel chalk and a dark paper silhouette to create their own starry night souvenirs, according to Patricia Majcher, an artist from the Greensburg Art Center.

“This is a non-threatening way for the community to interact with the arts and walk away with a little art knowledge and art appreciation,” said Majcher, who add that she is pleased to be involved with an event in which one nonprofit supports another.

Reservations can be made by contacting the Lincoln Highway Experience at 724-879-4241.

Attendees are encouraged to enjoy refreshments and a starry evening and may even decide to try their own night-time star searching.

“We are blessed to have a number of locations in the area along the Lincoln Highway with dark skies, that constellations, planets, the Milky Way and other astronomical objects can be seen with the unaided eye,” Smetanka said. “A small telescope or binoculars can reveal even more wonders.”

Cami DiBattista is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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