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Planetarium curator ends 40-year career at science museum

Posted at 9:52 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 23:39:00-04

For 40 years, Dave Hostetter has worked in the planetarium at the Lafayette Science Museum.

Thursday, he opted to retire, but not because he wanted to. He says he still has more projects he would love to get done.

To many, it's just a room inside the museum. But to Dave, it's his passion.

Dave is just one of many LCG employees who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was given the option to retire or accept the layoff and re-apply at the museum when it opens up.

"I've always been interested in the night sky," explained Hostetter. "I decided I wanted to be an astronomer when I was 12 years old, got the degree, and have been working in a planetarium since 1975."

Hostetter started his career in Reno, Nevada.

"And then I came here, and have been here for the last 40 years. I did not expect that," smiled Hostetter.

As a curator, Hostetter is in charge of the planetarium, from piecing together the programs to presenting. He said in his 40 years of working in Lafayette, he has taught at least 300,000 people.

"I was always looking for that one person who would maybe go home and go to the library, get a book about it, or go on the internet to learn more about it," he said. "Especially the kids, they would get this look on their face, like 'I want to learn more about it.' And I always felt like i did my job with that kid."

At one time, the dome in the planetarium was made of foam. New technology has made programming easier, but Hostetter said he has always been proud of what he does.

"The stuff we put in there was amazing. We did some really cool things I'm proud of. We had a fan blowing the air in, people sitting on the floors, but the programming we did was really good," Hostetter added.

Hostetter said he originally thought 2020 would be a good year to retire, but as it came closer to time he didn't want to. He said he plans on going back to the museum to volunteer.

Hostetter is one of 99 employees losing their jobs because of the pandemic.

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